When You Lose your Independence: 5 W’s of Long-Term Care Insurance

When You Lose your Independence: 5 W’s of Long-Term Care Insurance

By Joe Delaney What is LTC? (And what is it not?) When many of us who are generally healthy think of health insurance, we imagine car accidents or an unexpected, severe illness that requires a hefty hospital bill or expensive medications to treat. We imagine a heart attack, for example, and consider how thankful we will be for insurance if we need open-heart surgery. But even something as traumatic as a heart attack is still classified as an instance in which acute care is needed, because the condition is temporary. Long-term care (LTC), by contrast, is provided for chronic disabilities that last not weeks or months, but often years. An entirely different type of insurance is necessary to cover them. Who needs LTC insurance? Individuals who chronically lack the ability to perform two or more activities of daily living (ADLs) for 90 days or longer or need substantial supervision due to cognitive impairment (i.e. Alzheimer’s or Dementia) need coverage for long-term care. The six basic ADLs are: Bathing Continence Dressing Eating Toileting Transferring As age 65 approaches, your likelihood of needing long-term care, whether at home, in an assisted living facility or nursing home, rises significantly. Almost 70% of people turning 65 will need long-term care at some point in their remaining years. Where can you find LTC coverage? Medicare is the first stop for most Americans who are both over the age of 65 and above the poverty line, but it falls far short of full coverage. Nursing home stays, for example, are covered for a maximum of 100 days but often far less (average is 22 days)....