Options for Long Term Care

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment


 When a family member needs some type of long term care due to old age,   disability, or illness, the search for a decent, effective, and yet affordable way of providing that care can get really confusing. It is very common that individual family members would act as informal caregivers at home, but sometimes this set up becomes extremely demanding on the schedules and energy of the home caregivers. There will also be situations where the patient may need proper skilled medical care or close attention from nurses, which are best acquired from a specialized health care facility.




·         Home Care

·         Community-Based Services

·         Supportive housing programs

·         Assisted Living

·         Continuing care retirement communities

·         Nursing Homes



Home Care


Most people would want to grow old and pass away in the comforts of their own home. The elderly, for example, feel more secured when cared for by family members in a familiar environment such as their home. This type of care is called home care, and is given not only by immediate family members, but also by friends, volunteers, and paid professional caregivers.

Community-Based Services

Patients can also seek care assistance from their local communities. Most communities provide support services and facilities for families who may need help in taking care of their elderly or disabled member. These facilities/services include:

·         Adult day care

·         Senior centers

·         Meal programs

·         Transportation

Community-based services for long term care are also very helpful in giving that much needed “break” to family home caregivers.

Supportive Housing Programs

This program offers low-cost housing to the elderly who fall into the low to moderate-income range (less than $46,000 if single or $53,000 if married). The Federal Government together with most states handles these types of housing programs, which may also offer extra help like:

·         Housekeeping

·         Meal preparation

·         Grocery/shopping

·         Laundry

Residents can live in their own apartments and rents are usually a percentage of the occupant’s income.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities provide a more home-like setting as compared to, say, a nursing home. Patients who also require close attention or aid can also opt for assisted living since they also have 24-hour supervision and assistance in the area. Other services include:

·         Help with eating

·         Bathing

·         Dressing

·         Toileting

·         Transportation

·         Laundry

·         Housekeeping

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

CCRCs offer different levels of care depending on what the patient needs. There are usually three levels of care provided, namely:

·         Independent living

·         Assisted living, and

·         Skilled nursing

Residents of these communities usually move from one level to the other based on how they progress with their individual health care requirements. Regardless of their level, residents stay within the community.

Nursing Homes

A stay at a nursing home is most often the best choice for people with chronic ailments and disability who need advanced and immediate care management. Nursing homes basically give care to people who cannot be cared for at home or communities. Care services offered include:


·         Skilled nursing care

·         Rehabilitation services

·         Meal preparation and feeding

·         Physical and social activities like exercises and games

·         Help with daily living

A lot of nursing homes may also provide temporary or periodic care after an injury or hospital stay.

Making Your Decision


Finding and choosing the most appropriate type of long term care for a senior patient, a family member with disability, or a loved one who has a chronic illness can be a long process. Family members will have to weigh the costs and benefits of the services offered at each facility or community against the needs of the patient and their own financial capacity.

Making this decision is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Families can also seek the advice and assistance of long term care experts who have years of experience and know-how about the best options for custodial care.

Health care advisors from reputable firms such as in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh0bmOcjSdg can also help families put together a good long term care plan that will make things easier for them in the future. As a summary, the table below shows a comparison among the different services offered by each long term care type and their cost range.

Different Types of Long Term Care: Services and Cost Range


Home Care

Community Services

Supportive housing programs

Assisted Living



Nursing homes

Help with activities

of daily living

Help with additional


Help with care needs



Range of costs

Low to high

Low to medium

Low to high

Medium to high




This post was contributed by a guest blogger, Indira Pina.  She’s a financial manager, life planner, and LTC expert.  Ms. Pina writes informative articles focusing on planning for senior health and elder care.

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Defining Long Term Care Insurance Daily Benefits?

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

The public is scared of the high and expensive monthly premiums that they have to pay for once they have finally availed an LTC insurance plan of their own. But unknown to them, there are in fact some ways wherein they can still get affordable LTC premiums without stressing their wallets, and one of these ways is by lowering the amount of their long term care insurance daily benefits through long term care retirement planning.


This is one of the options that an individual can adjust or modify depending on the LTC services that he needs, and also according to his financial allocation. These options are given to the public so that they can still buy an LTC insurance without sacrificing the quantity and quality of the services and facilities that they would get.


Also, some private insurance companies are now more considerate when it comes to the pricing of the policies that they sell to the consumers. The policies that they offer are now more flexible so that they can also encourage and convince some of the uninsured individuals that LTC plans are not as expensive as they thought. This is just one way of the government and insurance carriers to boost the number of LTC-insured persons in the country so that they can live more comfortable lives in the coming years.


Also, they are trying to avoid exhausting the funds of Medicaid in the future because of the fast growing number of its beneficiaries. If those who would need LTC services 10 years from are still uninsured by that time, and with the ever-increasing rates of LTC costs, the fund of Medicaid might not be enough to give all its beneficiaries decent amount of incentives.


But when one decided to avail an LC insurance with a lower long term care insurance daily benefits, then there is a big possibility that his LTC requirements and health needs will be prioritized and well taken cared of. He can live a worry-free life without thinking about the payment for all the LTC services and facilities that he will incur.


The daily benefit amount or daily benefits of a policy determines the amount that the individual is allowed to receive when it comes to his needed LTC services and facilities. Some LTC policy types pay the actual or exact amount that the person has used while some gives the whole amount of their daily benefits regardless if they were able to use all of it or not. But no matter what the policy type, insurance companies sure do not give any payment to any amount that would exceed the given benefit amount of an individual.


But although this is a good option for those who want to get cheaper LTC policies, they still have to consider and prioritize their health and LTC requirements and needs first before they decide on this matter. Remember that an LTC insurance is supposed to give them less during their golden years and not to stress them any further just because their benefit amount is not enough to pay for LTC needs.


Know more about how you can maximize the long term care insurance daily benefits option. Contact your trusted insurance agent now and discuss with them the possibilities of owning cheaper and more budget-friendly LTC insurance. 

Life Insurance for Long Term Care Planning

June 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Life insurance companies have become more competitive in recent years for policies issued on people over age 70. Good health is still a major consideration for low premiums, but policies have been redesigned to provide more death benefit and less cash value. Some term policies and certain universal life permanent policies are designed to provide a guaranteed death benefit up to age 95 with a guaranteed premium and no cash value at all. This design generally results in more death benefit for each premium dollar. Also, policies designed for couples — second-to-die policies — can provide a significant amount of insurance for a one-time single premium even if one of the partners is in very poor health.

An important concept to consider is that single premium life policies with no cash value and purchased for estate planning purposes, many years in advance of applying for Medicaid, can be a valuable planning tool if the need for Medicaid arises. Medicaid does not apply the death benefit of a life insurance policy to the asset spend down rule. But the cash value of any policy that has more than $1,500 in cash will count towards the asset test and could disqualify a Medicaid applicant. As an example, a person could have $1 million of life insurance with cash value less than $1,500 and it would not prevent that person from receiving Medicaid. However, cash value of more than $1,500 in this example will apply toward the asset test. It is important to know, for long term care planning purposes, that people who apply for Medicaid and then transfer assets to a life insurance policy, while they are going through spend down, could be in violation of their state’s Medicaid transfer rules and such an act may disqualify the applicant.

Life insurance can be used as an alternative for funding the cost of long term care. If someone planning for the eventuality of long term care is concerned about losing assets that would normally be passed on to the children or be needed by a surviving spouse, that person can invest a portion of those assets in life insurance and leverage a death benefit payout — sometimes for up to $3.00 in death benefit for every $1.00 in single premium. The death benefit is also income tax-free. A person creating such an estate can then use remaining assets for long term care needs in the future but still be assured that the children or a surviving spouse will receive an inheritance at death through the life insurance. And, as discussed above, if the money runs out and Medicaid has to start picking up the costs, a single premium life insurance policy with less than $1,500 cash value will not disqualify the applicant owning the policy

Another use for life insurance for the elderly is in paying the cost of final expenses such as funeral and burial. A number of companies will issue policies without any health questions for people who may not have very long to live. Most of these policies will provide little or no death benefit in the first two years after issue and so there is some risk, but most companies will also return the premiums paid if death occurs in the first two years.

Long Term Care Insurance: Don’t Wait Too Long

June 23, 2012 1 comment

Source: longtermcareinsurancetree.com

When it comes to long term care planning, all can agree that it would be best to have some kind of plan for your parents’ or your own care than to have to scramble at the last minute and spend your entire savings.

A 2005 study led by Peter Kemper projected that people turning age 65 at that time would need long-term care for three years on average, and that more than 1 in 20 would spend $100,000 or more of their own money on long-term care.

More families are turning to long-term care insurance policies to cover the gaps.

You should keep a few things in mind when shopping for long-term care insurance:

Don’t buy too much. The benefit on a long-term care insurance policy is generally structured as a fixed daily amount over a certain period up to a cap. You can typically start the clock on the benefit and begin to access the dollars when you have a “long-term care event,” such as breaking a hip or having a stroke, in which doctors expect you to need help with the tasks of daily living for at least 90 days.

You can get a much more affordable policy by structuring a benefit package that also includes time with a home health aide, at $21 an hour nationally by the same survey, or adult day care. In some cases, just 10 to 15 hours of respite care a week can be enough to allow people to remain in their homes.

Don’t wait too long. You’ll save significantly — not just now but likely over the life of the policy — if you buy a policy when you’re under 60 and healthy.

Consider the “restoration of benefits” rider and the other fine print. A good policy should cover several types of care, from adult day care to nursing home care. You should understand exactly what standards you have to meet to trigger the benefits, and it shouldn’t exclude any pre-existing conditions you have. One additional rider is called “restoration of benefits.” Let’s say you fall down the stairs at 72. You can start spending the benefits today for a home health aide. But once you recover, the “restoration of benefits” rider allows you to stop that clock. If you stay well for six months, the pool of dollars is restored as if nothing ever happened.

Alternative to Long Term Care Insurance: Creative Insurance Planning

June 16, 2012 1 comment

Top financial professionals use this technique to reposition “safe money” to take care of a risk that is expected to happen to 70% of Americans – getting sick enough to need some help at some point in our lives.

Don’t wait to “Protect Your Wealth from Poor Health”. Take 2 minutes to watch this quick video on long term care planning.

Planning for Long-Term Care in Pennsylvania

About nine million people over the age of 65 will need long-term care this year, according to Medicare.gov, and that number is expected to rise to 12 million by the year 2020. Fortunately, thanks in part to the increasing demand as the baby boomer generation moves toward retirement, people with long-term care needs have more options today than in years past.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of medical and non-medical services for elderly individuals, as well as for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses. In most cases, long-term care helps people meet day-to-day health and personal needs like dressing, eating and bathing.

Long-term care comes in many different forms, including:
-In-home care: People who receive in-home care can continue living at home while getting the help they need from care providers who come and go on a regular basis according to the individual’s needs. Depending on the situation, in-home care may be limited to everyday tasks like bathing and eating, or may include more specialized health care services.
-Assisted living facilities: An assisted living facility is a group housing arrangement that provides on-site services for elderly and disabled individuals. Residents often have their own apartments and live relatively independently with easy access to the care they need.
-Nursing home care: Nursing homes are similar to assisted living facilities in that they provide on-site care to residents, but the level of care provided by nursing homes tends to be far more intensive. Typically, nursing home residents are older individuals who require constant care.

Costs of Long-Term Care

With increased options comes a greater need for careful long term care planning — but, unfortunately, most people are unprepared. According to a survey conducted by Lincoln Financial Group, only 44 percent of Americans have taken steps to plan for their long-term care.

In Pennsylvania, the median cost of in-home care is $19 per hour for homemaker services and $20 per hour for home health aide services, both of which are slightly above the national average. Meanwhile, the median cost of assisted living in Pennsylvania is close to average at $39,015 per year, and the median cost of nursing home care is well above average at $99,280, according to MarketWatch.com.

Legal Help

Although the task of planning and preparing for long-term care may seem overwhelming, there are a wide range of resources and options available to help create a plan that works for your circumstances. To discuss the type of care you want and create a plan for financing it, contact a certified elder lawyer experienced in helping clients plan for their long-term care.

How to Calculate Long-Term Care Insurance

Calculating long term care insurance can be accomplished by taking a look at a variety of factors. Calculate long term care insurance with help from the owner of a brokerage insurance company in this free video clip.

Expert: Tom Katsis
Contact: tomkatsisinsurance.com
Bio: Tom Katsis has his own brokerage insurance company, which specializes in individual and group health insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance and Medicare supplement plans.
Filmmaker: Daniel Brea

Series Description: Buying insurance, especially long-term care insurance, is not something that you should attempt without a certain degree of preparation. Learn about long-term care insurance and get answers to your important questions with help from the owner of a brokerage insurance company in this free video series.