With so many people living longer and the risk of needing some type of Long Term Health Care being high, many think this means care in a nursing home. The fact is most Long Term Health Care is not in a nursing home setting.
"People have never wanted to go to skilled nursing homes and the fact is that over half of all newly opened Long Term Care Insurance claims pay for home care," explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) which is a national trade and consumer advocacy group dedicated to Long Term Care Planning.
Slome says owning a Long Term Care insurance policy (LTCi) can be your nursing home avoidance protection. Most policies will pay benefits for care in your own home as well as adult daycare, assisted living, memory care as well as the nursing home.
"The number of Americans in their 70’s, 80’s and even older who live in their own home keeps increasing while the number of people living in institutional settings keeps decreasing," Slome notes.
"Home care is what consumers want but say the word Long Term Care Insurance and people associate it with nursing homes. That really needs to change," Slome explained.
The issue of Long Term Health Care has become a world-wide issue. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if a person reaches the age of 65 they have a 70% chance of requiring some type of Long Term Health Care service before they pass.
With life expectancy increasing in the United State and the rest of the world so does the number of years people live with ill health. These extra years of life mean more years people have health or age related issues.
A new report from the International Labor Organization, an United Nation’s agency,
showed that some 300 million people over the age of 65 cannot easily access Long Term Health Care when needed.
A UN study shows that the world would need 13.6 million more care workers to cover the needs of the elderly.
The current shortfall is largely made up for by unpaid female family members, who often are forced to reduce the time they spend at a paying job to care for elderly relatives, putting the entire family at risk of sliding into poverty, the report said.
In the United States, Canada and a number of other countries, private Long Term Care Insurance is affordable and available. Many take advantage of obtaining LTCi coverage as part of their retirement planning. Still, others avoid purchasing thinking it is either too expensive, doesn’t cover care at home or they just feel they will never need care in the first place.
The Heritage Foundation says there are several reasons that account for why families that would be wise to buy LTCi but do not buy it. Some are psychological, such as denial about the possible need for future nursing home care. Others involve a lack of knowledge of potential LTC needs or the erroneous assumption that their other insurance or Medicare provides coverage.
Most states have federal/state partnership programs available which provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. The Heritage Foundation says, “At its core, the incentive for the individual to purchase a partnership LTCi policy is, similar to any LTCi, to protect assets and increase personal control over care.”
The Long-Term Care Partnership Program is a collaboration between state government and insurance companies. Under this partnership, applicants who purchase qualifying LTCi policies can access Medicaid coverage while retaining assets they would normally be required to spend on their Long Term Care. This is referred to as dollar for dollar asset protection or ‘asset disregard’.
The AALTCI offers information on Long Term Care on their website: www.aaltci.org