Aging is a fact of life. Another reality is there is no health guarantee in the latter years of life. Some seniors remain relatively healthy until their last days. Others, however, are not so fortunate. When a senior becomes unwell or has mobility difficulties, tough decisions have to be made. The two most common choices available in these situations is home care or residential care.
Long Term Care Health Insurance
Long term care health insurance provides numerous benefits:
- Sickness and accident coverage
- Medical supplies coverage
- Home care
- Residential Care Facilities
- Supplemental coverage for expenses in excess of Medicare and Medigap coverage. Medicare coverage is quite limited, so the supplemental coverage afforded by long term health care insurance is especially valuable.
Costs and policy provisions vary greatly. The applicant’s age determines the cost of the policy. A recent survey revealed the majority of long term health care insurance policies were purchased by people between ages 45 and 54.
Discounts may be available. For instance, if two people in the same household purchase the insurance at the same time, a discount might be offered. Policies often have restrictions on which health conditions the policy will cover.
If you decide to purchase long term health care insurance, obtain quotes from several insurance companies and compare policy provisions. As well, check the insurer’s ratings. You may not use the policy for many years and you need reasonable assurance the insurance company will still be operating far into the future.
The cost of long term health care insurance may be tax deductible.
If a senior’s health deteriorates to an extent that home care is no longer feasible, residential care with 24 hour nursing services becomes the sole option for the senior. Making the decision to enter a residential care facility can be devastating for the senior and his or her family.
While horror stories of nursing homes abound, it is unfair to assume all residential care facilities are substandard. There are residential care facilities that truly care about their patients and provide compassionate and superior medical care.
The best defense is to investigate thoroughly various facilities. Write a checklist of all your questions, both significant and minor, and do not be afraid to ask facility staff. If staff is reluctant to answer your questions or demonstrate the facility’s capabilities and amenities, then that facility should be erased from your list.
Visit www.nursinghomeaction.org for residential care facility resources in your area.
An estate planning attorney may be of assistance in your search for a residential care facility, as well as with admissions applications and ensuring proper estate legal documents are in place. Please contact our office and one of our experienced estate planning attorneys will be pleased to assist you.