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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘LTC’

Why Long Term Care Insurance? (Part 3)

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

         When my generation was young, I believed the only insurance that people cared about was life insurance. Men (mostly) wanted to make sure their families could manage financially upon their death and so they took out life insurance. It was a time when being a homemaker was not seen in a dollar value and as most women had not yet entered the work force, the need to insure “the little woman” wasn’t a priority.


 


         Since then, the world has changed. Replacing the tasks of a stay at home mom by hired help is exorbitant, and so those wives and mothers that work either in the home or outside, often take out the life insurance offered through their work place or privately, right along with their husbands. Living longer and having more complicated life styles has given way to the need for many and varied types of insurance that we look to for protection in the event of crisis, such as Disability insurance, Critical Care Insurance and Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance. As this series of articles deal specifically with LTC Insurance, I’d like to go into some factors about why it is important.

 

         No one plans to get ill, or have an accident that makes us dependent on others for our daily life needs. Yet one in 13 people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Half of those live in institutions. The risk of stroke doubles every 10 years after age 55, and almost one third of the elderly fall each year. Falls account for 40 percent of admissions to nursing homes.* And it is not just seniors who are at risk of needing help. The average age for a person to be diagnoses with Multiple Sclerosis is 30. Almost all spinal cord injuries (97 percent) occur prior to age 50.** All of these, along with so many other diseases we hear about, as almost common place today, may make getting out of bed, getting washed and getting dressed independently virtually impossible.

 

         When people become ill, their financial expenses rise. There is the need for equipment, whether rented or bought, medication, help with personal care, travel for treatment, the need to hire someone to do the tasks that you used to do like snow removal, grass cutting, home repairs, child care etc. This can very quickly eat up any savings, investments or assets you have worked so hard to provide your family with. It is terrible to watch what you have managed to put away for your old age, or for your grandchildren’s education or your children’s inheritance, disappear in a matter of months because of the care you suddenly need.

 

         Providing care today could easily cost $500 a week, depending on your needs. Most of this is probably not covered by any other insurance you have. If you do not have the financial means to hire people to assist you, the job falls on your children. The emotional burden to both of you is vast. No adult I know wants to become dependent on their children for their basic needs. And for the children to find the time to provide the care you need may involve hiring childcare or lessening their own work hours, both adding to already existing financial and emotional burdens.

 

         Today, insurance policies do not come in a “one size fits all” form. You can tailor make a policy, and the cost will be as varied as the coverage you desire. A LTC Policy can be made to cover facility care and or home care. It can begin immediately upon need or entail a waiting period. It can give you the money for your care or pay upon receiving receipts. It can last from a bit over a year to an unlimited period of time. It all depends on your needs and what you can afford.

 

         It is difficult to determine your needs when you are healthy. That is why the more information on insurance you get the better off you are. Many well spouse groups have had speakers in on the topic of Long Term Care. It seems to be of particular concern to care givers who know first hand just how difficult it is to have to be the caregiver of someone who is ill. As a group, well spouses seem to want to make sure their children do not have to do for them what they have had to do for their spouses. But LTC Insurance is not for everyone and even if it is right for you, not everyone can afford it. It is a very individual decision. It needs to be discussed with your financial advisor or a competent, honest insurance broker.

 

         Next week I’ll discuss some things to look for when choosing a LTC policy.

 

         My thanks again 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 reach me at  annnovick@hotmail.com

 

           *Alzheimer’s Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Health Canada News Release July 25, 2001.

 

         **MS Society, Canadian Paraplegic Association.

What Is Long TermCare Insurance? (Part 2)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007


        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.

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

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