Who Qualifies to Buy Insurance that Pays for Nursing Home Care?
Paying for long-term care is very expensive and it can quickly bankrupt people on a fixed income. However, there are many ways to prepare and have your future long-term care expenses (4 Ways to Pay for Skilled Nursing Facilities) taken care of when you can no longer live in your home. Long-term care insurance is a good solution for people wanting to prepare for their future needs.
What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care insurance policies are designed to help cover expenses when you need long-term care in a facility or at home. Policyholders are paid a pre-selected daily or monthly amount of money to pay for their care. Personal services like bathing, dressing and meal preparation are covered by these policies, as well as the expenses for nursing homes, palliative care or independent living needs.
Who Can Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older can purchase long-term care insurance. However, most people 40 and younger tend to put off this purchase thinking they won't need it or that they have plenty of time to buy it later. Approximately 1 in 5 policies are sold to people who are between the ages of 45 to 54, but a little more than half of all policies are sold to those 55 to 60 years old.
While age isn't a qualifier for buying this insurance, people interested in long-term care policies can be turned down for a disqualifying health condition. The costs of LTC policies can increase with age, but premiums can also go up when you have certain medical issues. It is far better to purchase LTC insurance when you are younger.
Types of LTC Insurance
When you are in the market for LTC insurance, there are two types of policies that you can buy:
- Standalone policies - Standalone LTC insurance policies cover the expenses of being in a nursing home, skilled nursing facilities or for home health care. These policies can be a safety net for someone who could not otherwise afford paying for long-term care (Using a Reverse Mortgage for Home Care Needs). However, some financial experts caution against buying standalone policies because:
- They can be cost prohibitive.
- They don't increase in value.
- Premiums can increase.
- Life insurance with LTC riders - People who want to make sure their long-term care needs are covered can also purchase a life insurance policy and have an LTC rider added to it. By combining policies, they can be more affordable than having a separate life insurance policy and a separate long-term care policy. One of the main drawbacks to this type of coverage is that they don't account for inflation. That means even if their LTC costs increase, policyholders will not receive any more money to cover those costs.
Insurance policies that help with long-term care costs can be bought from many insurance companies. Federal employees and postal workers can also purchase long-term care insurance from the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. Insurance agents can help you choose the best policy for your needs.
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