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Private Long Term Health Care Insurance: What are the pros and cons?

The Basics of Private Long Term Care Insurance

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There are many types of insurance that people can buy for themselves. They can buy insurance to protect their cars, their homes, their possessions, their health and their lives. Long term health care insurance offers a different kind of coverage; it insures and protects your quality of life as you age and become unable to complete the regular activities associated with everyday life.

If you have been looking for long term health care insurance information online, then you have probably read about many of the pros and cons of private long term health care insurance and may be wondering if it is right for you. Since Medicare and Medicaid both have extreme limitations in long-term care benefits (including 100 day caps and only offering nursing home care) chances are a private long-term care policy will give you the quality of life you want when you can no longer care for yourself.

What is Private Long Term Care Insurance?

Long term care policies are structured to pay for care and assistance you need in your daily life as you get older. This care can involve such basic activities of daily living (ADL) as eating, dressing, and bathing or can include more sophisticated levels of care like physical and speech therapies. You become eligible to utilize your long-term care policy once you need assistance with a certain number of ADLs.
The most attractive benefit of a private long term care policy is the home health care option. When faced with a choice between receiving care and assistance with their ADLs at home or moving to a hospice facility or nursing home, most people will opt to stay home. Medicare and Medicaid do not provide that option and while you may have a loved one at home who is willing to give up their career and personal time to care for you should it become necessary, a private long-term care policy removes that need and frees your loved ones from that responsibility.

Saving Money on Long Term Care Coverage Options

Whether you look into association rates for long term care insurance (like AARP’s recommended coverage offered through Genworth) or independent policies, you will find rates and conditions that vary wildly from plan to plan. No matter which company you decide to get your policy from, the tips below will help you design an inexpensive policy with all the care options you want.

  1. The Elimination Period: This is the period of time that you first receive long-term care but are not covered by your policy. It’s important to note that you can choose a policy without an elimination period, which means your coverage will start immediately upon qualification. If you want to save money on your premium however, you may opt for an elimination period of up to 180 days. It is important to remember that although you'll save money in premiums, your initial long term care expenses will be out-of-pocket during the elimination period and could be costly.

  2. The Duration of Dollar Limit: You can create a long term care policy that caps or limits the duration that the benefits are usable or that gives a cap in the dollar amount the policy will pay.

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