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Long Term Care Basics


Understanding long term care basics will help you decide if long term care insurance is right for you.

Long term care is care provided by others when you can no longer take care of yourself.  It is custodial care and therefore is not covered by your health insurance or Medicare (except for certain limited circumstances). 

In 2012, more than 12 million older Americans are expected to need long term care assistance.  And it is not just older people, about one-third of people receiving long term care are under the age of 65.  They may need care due to chronic health conditions or an accident or injury. 

Long term care generally covers what are referred to as the activities of daily living.  If you cannot meet 2 or more of these activities on your own, then you are considered a candidate for long term care services. Common activities of daily living are:

  • Bathing: Includes grooming activities such as shaving, brushing your teeth and hair.
  • Dressing: Choosing the right type of clothing; being able to dress and undress yourself, handling buttons and zippers.
  • Feeding: Being able to feed yourself.
  • Transferring: Being able to move yourself from one place to another easily – frequently the ability to move from a bed to a wheelchair and back.
  • Continence: Being able to control your bladder and bowels; or manage incontinence independently.
  • Toileting: Being able to use the toilet.

Long term care may also be necessary when there are signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.  So an inability to independently handle such things as taking medications, maintaining the home, managing your finances and shopping could be indicators that long term care support is needed.

The most important thing for people to know about long term care is that it is not paid for by Medicare.  So if you have retirement savings and are not eligible for Medicaid, your long term care costs will be paid by you or your family.  You can read more about long term care and Medicaid at http://www.medicare.gov/longtermcare/static/home.asp.

Long term care insurance covers the costs associated with long term care support services at home, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home.  It is wise to purchase long term care insurance when you are younger and healthier (many people buy long term care insurance in their 50s).  That is because long term care insurance premiums will be higher if you apply at an older age.

If you want to find out more about long term care insurance and see if it is right for you, contact iQuote and speak with a long term care specialist.  Request an iQuote or call 1-800-352-9742 for long term care insurance quotes and information about long term care insurance from leading insurance companies.


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