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What Is Long TermCare Insurance? (Part 2)


        Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance provides you with the money for hiring assistance when you can no longer perform some or all of the tasks of daily living like bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, transferring, continence or when continual supervision is needed due to deteriorating mental ability. It either reimburses a person for costs incurred, up to a maximum, or pays a monthly lump sum when the person becomes eligible. This may be determined by the insurance company, a board, their doctor or your family doctor, depending on the policy you have.

 

         It is not health insurance and will not pay hospital, surgical or medication expenses. It is insurance that can be used while you remain at home to enable you to pay for support you need and, depending on your policy, may assist with payment for Assisted Living Facilities, Adult Day Care, Nursing Homes and Retirement Communities.

 

         According to a 2005 study done by the Council of Ageing of Ottawa, 43 percent of Canadian adults over 65 will spend some of their remaining years in a nursing home or long term care facility with the average stay being three to four years. One in five will stay more than five years. Long Term Care Insurance would enable a person to stay in their home instead of a facility for longer periods of time, allowing them to hire people to come to them for the services they need. It may also mean the difference between affording a four-person room or a semi-private or private room in a facility. This could mean a huge difference in the quality of life a person will have.

 

         For many people, LTC Insurance may help protect their assets, help them avoid the need to go on Medicaid, preserve their standard of living, avoid financial and physical dependence on family and may allow them to choose what care they want, how often they want it and how it should to be delivered. In very basic terms, it may mean the difference with being allowed a bath once a week to bathing more often; or the ability to receive assistance should you be at your child’s home for Shabbat instead of needing your child to assist with your basic needs when visiting.

 

         Government Home Care has a certain standard of care that varies in different Provinces and States. LTC Insurance will enable a person to expand on that care and suit the care to their individual needs. For example, Government Home Care may specify the amount of bathing time per week (as mentioned above) along with how and when transfers are done, bandages changed, and how much say you have in who will attend to you. As I understand it, in both the U.S. and Canada any government home care that is provided for you is done so according to standards of care guidelines determined by the government and or home care agency. Any changes to suit the individual is often very difficult to make.

 

         LTC Insurance can become expensive if you take out a policy later in life. Like most policies, the younger, you are the cheaper it will be. On average, at age 50 a policy that pays $100 a day may cost between $50 and $100 a month (according to an article in the Montreal Gazette on February 19, 2007). The same policy at age 60 increases to almost double, and at 70 can be over $230 a month. Many feel that an optimum time for taking out LTC is 55. Others would suggest it for you in your 20s when premiums are at their lowest and the policy can be paid off during your early working years. Many policies have a maximum payment time and are paid in full after 20 or 25 years, though they remain in effect for the person’s lifetime.

 

         Premiums never increase because of usage. Some policies waive premium payments while you are collecting benefits, whether from a broken leg or a devastating illness. Some offer a beneficiary payment, should the person have been fortunate enough to never have needed the benefits of their LTC Insurance.

 

         LTC Insurance may be more costly for women than for men as women tend to claim earlier and more often and for longer periods of time than do men. Generally, 37 percent of benefits paid out are a result of accidents and 26 percent are a result of illness (according to Sun Life Financial).

 

         It is not recommended to buy LTC Insurance if you cannot afford the premiums, have minimal assets, qualify for Medicaid or your source of income is a Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

 

         Disability Insurance and Health Insurance will not cover the specific needs looked after by LTC. Disability Insurance is designed to replace some of the lost income when you are unable to work. Health plans may cover some of the skilled medical services you need when you can’t care for yourself after an illness or injury, but the coverage is usually for a limited period and only as long as you are showing improvement. Many deal only with your specific medical needs and not your personal care.

 

         Next week I’ll discuss further benefits of choosing a LTC policy.

 

         My thanks to Terri Allister and Hettie Pfeiffer (hetti.pfeiffer@investorsgroup.com)     for giving me their time and expertise on the subject of Long Term Care insurance.

 

         You can contact me at  annnovick@hotmail.com.

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When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/what-is-long-termcare-insurance-part-2/2007/10/17/

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