Long Term Care Insurance covers expenses associated with an extended illness or disability. These situations could include problems with cognitive function such as memory loss, confusion or disorientation, as is often seen with illnesses like Alzheimers disease. Examples of this type of care include help with daily activities such as getting dressed, eating, bathing or walking and are designed to help maximize independence. An in-home nurse, home health aide, or family member may be the one to provide this care.

Currently 9 million Americans over age 65 are using some type of long-term care services, and this number is expected to increase to over 12 million in the next 10 years. Individuals ages 65 and over are not the only group who need long-term care service. People ages 18-64 currently make up 40 percent of those who are using long-term care services.

Long-term care services are not necessarily nursing home services, although 40 percent of those who live to the age of 65 will require care at a nursing home. Seventy percent of long-term care services are provided in the home by family members, but these services are also provided in assisted living facilities and in the community.

The amount of coverage you may need can be difficult to predict, but the average person age 65 or older will need three years of long-term care services. Women tend to need care for longer (3.7 years vs. 2.2 years for men). The average cost of care in a nursing home is between $ 75-80,000 yearly. That makes the average 3 year stay cost over $175,000.

Reasons to consider Long-Term Care Coverage:

  • Relieve the potential burden on your loved ones, financially and emotionally.
  • Make sure you receive quality care and have the option to choose who cares for you
  • Help maintain your independence
  • Protect the assets that you have worked so hard to build

Sources:
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What is Long Term? 2009. http://www.medicare.gov/LongTermCare/static/home.asp
* The Metlife Market Survey of Adult Day Services & Home Care Costs, September 2008. http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/-2008-nhal-costs.pdf