Start learning about long-term care before the need for medical or personal care is imminent.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, in the year 2000, almost 10 million people needed some form of long-term care in the United States. Seventy percent of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of during their lives. A number of factors can affect the possibility that you will need care, such as age, gender, disability, health status and living arrangements.
Long-term care includes a range of health and support services that you may need as you age or if you have a disability. Most of these services are personal care services, such as bathing and dressing. Family members may be able to provide some or all of these services at no charge. But if your care and support needs increase, you may need paid care in addition to the services that your family members provide, or to give them respite. In addition, if your needs increase to the point where you need services in a facility, like a nursing home or assisted living, you may need to plan how to pay for these services.
The cost (opens new window) of long-term care depends on the type and amount of care you need, the provider you use, and where you live. Long-term care is expensive, but there are several ways to pay for the care you may need.
Medicare and Medicaid
A number of public programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, may help pay for some long-term care services under certain circumstances. However, each program has specific rules about what services are covered, how long you can receive benefits, whether or not you qualify for benefits, and how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket costs. To accurately plan for your long-term care needs, it is very important to know the facts about what may or may not be covered, and to stay current on program changes.
Many long-term care insurance policies have limits on how long or how much they will pay. Some policies will pay the costs of your long-term care for two to five years, while other insurance companies offer policies that will pay your long-term care costs for as long as you live—no matter how much it costs. But there are very few that have no such limits.