Friday, December 25, 2015

Understanding the 3 Types of Long Term Care Options

Around ten million Americans today are receiving long term care services. This number is expected to increase as our population continues to age. In less than two decades, there will be 70 million people in America aged 65 and older and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70% of them will develop a debilitating condition that would require long term care. This makes it important for us to plan. To start planning, we must have thorough understanding of our long term care options.

Types of Long Term Care

1. Skilled Care is for people who are suffering from a serious injury or illness. Services provided are focused on diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. In facilities that provide skilled care services, a licensed physician issues a care plan for a patient which, in turn, will be implemented by nurses and therapists. The physician and his staff will then monitor the health progress of the patient until such time he is discharged.

2. Intermediate Care is for people who have mild, non-fatal injuries. Like skilled care facilities, institutions that provide intermediate care also focus on rehabilitation and treatment. However, services are less intensive and a 24/7 monitoring may not be required.

3. Custodial Care refers to non-skilled care that helps people perform activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, continence and transferring. At least 70% of long term care recipients need custodial care. This type of care is not covered by typical health insurance plan including Medicare, the social insurance program for people aged 65 and older. People who want to have coverage for this need must have long term care insurance.

If you are interested in buying long term care insurance, you can get a free, no-obligation quote at www.altcp.org. The website also has wide range of information for people who wants to plan for long term care and want to know more about their available long term care options.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Long Term Care Solutions: How to Get the Best Value for Your Money


Most of us are aware how crucial owning a long term care insurance policy is to have a secured life during retirement. However, we are often discouraged from buying one when we realize how
complicated shopping for a policy can become. The expensive premiums, coupled by the number of additional riders offered by insurance companies, make it all the more difficult to make a decision.

The following are some long term care solutions and tips that ensure you get the best value for your money when you buy a policy:

1. Ask for long term care quotes from several insurance companies. A quote can help you easily compare which among the insurance companies offer the most benefits for a more affordable rate.

2. Consult an independent long term care insurance specialist. Being experts in the industry, they can help you make an informed choice as to which benefits to buy, among others.

3. If you’re healthy, limit your choices to insurance companies that have strict underwriting. These companies have lower risks, therefore, there’s lesser probability that they will impose a rate hike in the future.

4. Choose a policy that offers comprehensive benefits – home care, community care and facility care. You probably prefer to receive care at home but there’s a great chance that you will have to be cared in a facility. You might as well prepare how to pay for it.

5. Choose a policy with fewer restrictions when it comes to how you use your benefits. If you can afford it, go for indemnity policies because these policies pay for the exact benefit amount no matter how much the actual costs of your care are.

6. Choose a policy with fewer exclusions and limitations on coverage.

7. Assess your situation and determine which among the insurance riders provide long term care solutions to your needs and which are just unnecessary additions.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Long Term Care Options for People with Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive organic brain disorder that leads to the irreversible loss of
cognitive abilities such as reasoning and memory retention. In year 2000, around 4.5 million Americans suffered from this disease and this number is expected to triple by year 2050 as the number of Americans aged 65 and older increase. People with this disease will eventually lose the ability to perform basic activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring. When this happens, they will need long term care.


Home and Community Care

1.     Family Caregivers are the primary providers of long term care in America. However, most of them do not have proper training on how to provide care for AD patients.  When the symptoms of the disease worsen, the patient may have to be transferred in a facility where the level of care he needs can be provided.

2.     Respite Care Services are commonly provided by community organizations that advocates for the welfare of seniors and family caregivers. For a minimal fee, they give family caregivers a chance to have break from their caregiving responsibilities.

3.     Adult Day Care Centers provide long term care and at the same time, give AD patients an opportunity to participate in activities that promotes social interaction. Most centers are open during normal work hours. This gives family caregivers an opportunity to work while their loved ones are in the center.


Facility Care

1.     Care Facilities for Dementia Patients provide specialized long term care for people with cognitive disorders. Due to the level of care required by people with such kind of disorders, these facilities commonly have more staff and more secured exits.

2.     Assisted Living Facilities are for AD patients who need personal care but do not require intensive medical care. These facilities are appropriate for people who have moderate functional impairment but can still move around safely on their own.

3.     Nursing Homes are the best option for AD patients who need intensive medical care. It provides 24/7 nursing care. AD patients who have the most severe manifestations of the disease such as those who can no longer walk, have difficulties swallowing food and have lost the ability to talk are recommended to receive care in these facilities. 

Resources:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Long Term Care Basics: How to Pay for Services?

A lot of us carefully plan for our retirement – invest in mutual funds, contribute to 401k and pay mortgages – but even the most well thought of plan can be threatened if it does not include preparations for long term care.

Long term care involves a wide variety of services for people who need assistance in performing basic activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, bathing, toileting and ambulating. This kind of care will become necessary to at least 70% of people aged 65 and older according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Planning how to pay for it is one of the long term care basics that you must include in your retirement planning.

The following are some of the financing options for this kind of care.

1.     Introduced in the mid-1970s, long term care insurance is seen as the most cost effective source of financing for long term care. By paying pre-determined premiums, you can protect your family from the financial burden of having to pay for your care. To encourage people buy LTC coverage, the government provides tax-incentives to owners of qualified policies.

2.     If you meet the poverty criteria of your state, Medicaid can help pay for your care but in the event of your death, it will try to recover its expenses by forcing a sale on whatever is left on your estate.

3.     Your life insurance can help pay for your care if you have the accelerated death benefits rider. This rider allows you to make a cash advance on your death
benefits. Whatever amount you get will be deducted on the amount your heir will receive when you die.


You can also sell your life insurance through life settlements. In life settlements, an investor pays a lump sum amount in exchange for the right to claim your death benefits.


4.     If you’re at least 62 years of age, you can take a reverse mortgage in your home. This type of loan does not require monthly re-payments as long as the home you loaned remains as your primary place of residence.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Long Term Care Basics: Insurance Riders

Long term care insurance might be one of the most important insurance products in the market today
but it is also one of the most complicated. Most of its added features and riders can add extra value for your money, but it can also make the entire process of shopping for a policy more confusing. This article will provide you with long term care basics that can help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages of these riders.

Inflation Protection Rider

To keep up with the rising costs of care, the inflation protection rider increases the benefit amount annually. However, this rider can also double insurance premiums. Everyone is encouraged to include this rider on their policy but age must be considered in deciding the appropriate level of protection to buy. Older policy owners can settle for whatever protection they can afford but younger policy owners are encouraged to buy as much as 5% compound inflation because chances are, they will only need cared 15 or twenty years from now and by then, the costs of care might be too expensive than today.

Return of Premium

The return of premium rider returns some or all of the premiums to your beneficiary in case you die without using your policy. This rider is insurance companies’ response to queries such as “what if I’ll never need long term care?”

Shared Benefit Rider

The shared benefit rider allows couple to use each other’s benefits in case one of them ends up needing more coverage than the other. This rider is beneficial but it is also a bit risky since couples are playing with the odds that only one of them will need long term care for an extended period.

Non-forfeiture Rider

The non-forfeiture rider protects the premiums you have paid in case you become incapable of continuing payments. With this rider, the insurance company will return all or some of the premiums you have paid even if you drop your policy.

Spouse Survivorship Rider

The spouse survivorship rider frees the surviving spouse from having to pay premiums in case his partner dies or need long term care after 10 years of continuous payment.


These riders can definitely add value to your policy but depending on your situation, they can also be unnecessary expenses. Carefully evaluate your needs to determine if a particular rider is right for you or not. 

Visit these online resources for more information about the basics of long term care:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Long Term Care Options: Community Services

If you are still able to do basic activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, transferring, toileting, continence and bathing but are having difficulties performing instrumental activities like cooking, cleaning and driving, you don’t have to move into an assisted living facility or hire in-home service providers right away. There are simple long term care options for you. Below are some of them.

1. Meals on Wheels

The Meals on Wheels program is a community based service that deliver meals to individuals who need help in preparing food. Most of the program’s recipients are, and most of its volunteers are also seniors who are still able to drive a car, among others.

The Meals on Wheels Association in America (MOWAA), a not for profit organization that advocates for the social, physical, economic and nutritional betterment of seniors, recognizes that hunger is a serious threat that millions of American seniors face. To alleviate their condition, MOWAA organize volunteers who want to provide meals services to the needy, commonly the seniors. They can be reached at phone number 1-888-998-6325 or visit their website http://www.mowaa.org for more information.  

2. Transportation Services

For a minimal fee, seniors who have difficulties driving can take advantage of transportation services offered by community groups. Some organizations also provide this service for free. Seniors Services Transportation, a small group of volunteers in Seattle, Washington, is one of the many community groups that offer transportation services to the elderly.  The service they provide helps seniors become as mobile as possible. In general, the recipients of transportation services are people who bear the following characteristics:


·       Aged 60 and older
·       Residents of the community
·       People who, because of their condition, do not have other means of transportation


3. Telephone Reassurance

A large percentage of the country’s elderly population lives alone with no family member to check their safety. Telephone reassurance programs provides daily phone call to ensure their safety and check their overall condition. These calls give seniors a certain degree of security in their choice to continue living independently.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Long Term Care Update: How to Handle Long Term Care Insurance Rate Hike for Women

The biggest long term care insurance providers in the country announced that beginning the second quarter of 2013, they will impose LTC insurance rate increase for policies sold to women. The hike, according to them, is necessary in order to properly reflect the risks involved in covering women’s LTC needs.

At present, women comprise 70% of nursing home patients and 75.7% of assisted living facilities residents. Furthermore, 65% of all new LTC insurance claims were filed by women. These statistics affirm that insuring women entails greater risks than insuring men. But should women be discouraged from buying a policy because of this looming premium hike?

Long term care advocates strongly say no. Since women are likely to need long term care more than men, they should all the more have LTC insurance.

What can women do to keep premiums within their budget?

1.     Start now. There is no better time to buy LTC insurance than today when the rate increase is not yet fully implemented. Remember that of all the states in America, only the states of Montana and Colorado require unisex pricing so chances are, everyone in the country except for the residents of two states will be affected.

2.     Get long term care insurance quotes. Quotes make you see the prevailing prices of benefits at a glance. It will allow you to see which among the insurance companies offer the best policy at the lowest cost.

3.     Take advantage of spousal discounts. You can get as much as 20% discount if you buy as a couple. According to LIMRA as cited by reuters.com, the average premium for policies sold to couples in 2011 is $2,131 while single buyers’ plans averaged $2,720.

4.     Buy according to financial means. The benefit amount, benefit period, inflation protection and elimination period of a policy can be adjusted depending on a person’s preference and budget. Choose your benefits well. According to the report made by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, a policy with 3-5 years benefit period is already a good option because the average length of LTC insurance claims is just 2.8 years.




Friday, December 4, 2015

How to Get Comparative Long Term Care Insurance Quotes?

Years ago, buying long term care insurance is a tedious process. If you want to compare prices, you have to call long term care insurance companies one by one. Today, however, because of websites that provide consumers with comprehensive information about long term care, it is now easy to get long term care quotes from major insurance companies.

Getting detailed and comparative quotes only requires 3 simple steps:

1.     Search for a reliable website that offers free LTC quotes. The website http://www.altcp.org/ provides LTC quotes at no obligation to you. It also has wide range of information for people who wants to plan for long term care and save on premiums.

2.     Fill up a short form. The website will ask you some basic details such as your age and that of your spouse. These details are necessary because the initial computation of your premiums will be based from those details. Leave at least one contact information so a long term care specialist can reach you.

3.     A long term care specialist will call you and discuss your policy options. If you prefer, the specialist can help you narrow your choices by helping you understand your care preferences and needs. Based on your chosen benefits, he will then provide you with comparative long term care insurance quotes from different company. Once you have your comparative quotes, compare the premiums charged by insurance companies. Choose a reliable and trustworthy company that gives the most benefits at the lowest cost.


Long Term Care Quotes Sample
Specifications
Company A
Company B
Company C
Company D
Partnership Plan
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Daily Benefit
$250
$200
$250
$250
Benefit Period
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
Elimination Period
90 days
90 days
90 days
90 days
Inflation Protection
5%
3%
3%
5%
Home Care Benefit
50%
100%
100%
100%
Shared Spousal Benefit
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Annual Premium
$1,600
$1,500
$1,500
$1,600




Before buying, you must first check the background of the insurance company you want to do business with. Make sure that they have good financial standing. The last thing you want is to sign up with a company that’s on the verge of bankruptcy. Furthermore, no matter how low their premiums are, do not sign up with a company that has a long list of complaints and lawsuits. Remember that how a company treats its current customers reflect how they will treat you in the future once you become its customer too.