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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Long Term Care?
Long term care is health or personal care which is needed over an extended period of time and is not provided in a hospital, and it can mean many different things.
It can be nursing care provided part-time or around the clock by registered nurses or other highly qualified medical professionals such as therapists, either at home or in a nursing home.
It can also be custodial care or personal care for people with chronic health conditions or disabilities such as arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, or Parkinson's Disease. This can include help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, or dressing, and may be provided at home, in an assisted living facility, or a nursing home .
It can be maintenance services for people who are receiving other long-term care services, and who also need help with meal preparation, laundry, or grocery shopping. It can even include balancing checkbooks or even running errands.

Who Needs Long Term Care?
While it is often thought that long term care is only needed for the aging process, 40% of those who need long term care are working age adults who need care because of stroke, heart disease, cancer, disabling injuries, or mental impairments.* 57% of people over age 65 will need some type of long term care.*

What Is The Cost of Long Term Care?
Long term care is an expense that many people either do not anticipate or severely underestimate. Across the United States the cost of nursing home care varies greatly by geographic location, but as a national average, just one year in a nursing home costs about $60,000, and the cost in many metropolitan areas is much higher.

Who Pays For Long Term Care?
Most health care plans, including Medicare, cover the cost of treatment for specific medical conditions. They do not cover nursing or custodial services provided primarily for the purpose of meeting personal needs. For the care they do cover, these plans pay only for short-term skilled care, not for long-term skilled care or any custodial care, assisted living, or maintenance services. Only 27% of nursing home and home health care costs are covered by Medicare or private health insurance.* The remaining costs are paid by the patients or Medicaid.

Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is a part of the welfare system and is the largest source of payment for long term care. Medicaid only pays for services provided to people who fall within the government's standard of poverty, often after exhausting their own financial resources.

How Can I Protect Myself From This Problem?
Paying your own bills gives you the freedom of choice you want regarding the type of care you need and the setting in which you receive it. Many people find that long term care insurance can give them the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will be able to pay for long term care if they should need it, without depending on family members, without depleting their assets, and without giving up their freedom of choice.

*U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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