As life expectancies get longer and assisted living costs increase, it’s becoming more and more important for people to plan ahead for a time when they need ongoing care. Long term care insurance can help Massachusetts residents prepare for a time when they need continual, and potentially expensive, care.
Long term care insurance (LTC insurance) is a form of health coverage that helps policyholders pay for covered ongoing care. A policy may cover costs for nursing home care, an assisted living facility, at-home care, rehabilitation services, and occupational therapy.
It’s generally a good idea to have both health insurance and LTC insurance, as the two types of insurance provide different coverages. Health policies generally pay for medical care, such as doctor appointments, hospital visits, and prescribed medications. LTC policies are designed to help pay for services that health policies typically don’t cover but people often need later in life. Few health policies cover nursing home, assisted living, or similar expenses.
Seniors account for many LTC claims, as they’re the people most likely to need nursing home, assisted living, or at-home care, or similar services. LTC claims aren’t limited to only those over 65 years of age, though. Approximately 35 percent of people who receive long term care are under 65, which shows that many people enter into long term care situations before they hit their senior years.
Additionally, some LTC policies provide coverage for long term care that’s needed after an operation or injury. Long term care, after all, isn’t forever care. While many people who need long term care receive it for the rest of their life, some people need long term care for a season while they recover from a medical procedure or serious injury.
There’s not one specific age at which people ought to purchase LTC coverage, but it’s usually a good idea to have a policy in place before one’s senior years. As people age, the risk of developing health issues that would prevent a person from obtaining coverage increase. Approximately 25 percent of applicants in their 60s are turned down for coverage, and around 14 percent of applicants in their 50s aren’t able to get a policy. If a policy is in place before a person develops any serious health issues, however, they usually continue to have coverage.
Purchasing a policy early can also help keep premiums low, as there’s less individual risk of needing long term care.
In order to maximize their coverage options and minimize premiums, many people begin shopping for LTC insurance during their 40s or 50s. Some people begin looking for coverage before they turn 40, though, and adults 60 or older can also still apply for coverage.
While many Massachusetts residents can benefit from LTC coverage, there are some people who may not need a policy. Individuals who don’t have many savings and qualify for Medicaid may be able to get some coverage for long term care through the government’s program (although how much long term care Medicaid will pay for can be limited). Conversely, individuals who have lots of savings, usually in the millions, may be able to self-insure.
People who fall between the two financial extremes usually stand to benefit the most from getting LTC coverage.
Residents who want to learn more about how long term care insurance might help them should get in touch with an independent insurance agent who serves Massachusetts. An agent can help understand how LTC coverage could cover care they may need in the future, and an independent agent can also help compare different insurers’ LTC policies. There are independent agents located throughout the state who can be of assistance.