In-home or nursing home care due to an injury or declining health, particularly over a period of many months or years, can be very expensive, running from $4,000.00 to $6,000.00 per month or more. Long term care insurance can preserve a person’s income and resources from being depleted by the high cost of such care. Policies come in many varieties. They can provide a fixed daily or monthly amount or reimbursement for actual expenses incurred. Premiums vary based upon many factors, including: the age of the applicant when the policy is issued (the premium is lower for younger applicants), health of the applicant, the length of the “elimination period” (the number of days the applicant must pay for care before the policy will pay benefits), the number of months or years the policy will pay benefits (the longer benefits may be paid, the higher the premium), and whether the applicant elects to include inflation riders or options to purchase increased coverage in future years. As with traditional health insurance, a person can tailor a long term care policy to his or her individual situation and budget. Besides the benefit of protection against the risk of a major expense, long term care insurance also can help preserve options on where care will be given and by whom, rather than being limited to low cost or options available under government assistance programs. Long term care insurance may not be beneficial or available if a person has assets valued at less than the cost of one year’s nursing home care, if a person is disabled or has serious health problems, or has limited ability to pay premiums without affecting his or her ability to pay on-going basic expenses. Long term care insurance policies can be purchased from many insurance companies. A list of companies approved by the Indiana Department of Insurance to sell such policies, along with the telephone numbers of each company, can be found at the Department’s web site: http://www.in.gov/idoi/2511.htm
In a future post, I will discuss Indiana long term care insurance “partnership” policies that coordinate with Medicaid benefits so as to allow eligibility for Medicaid benefits even though the insured has resources that would otherwise render the insured ineligible.