What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is a range of services and support for your personal care needs, such as bathing, dressing and eating. These tasks are also referred to as “activities of daily living.”
Many people are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover long-term care. It also does not provide coverage for people who need to go into nursing homes because they are disabled or unable to take care of themselves.
What Types of Care Does Medicare Cover?
Although it does not cover custodial care, Medicare does pay for the following types of care:
- Skilled nursing care. Medicare helps pay for skilled nursing care after staying in a hospital for three days. Medicare will cover the cost for the first 20 days, and then you’ll start paying co-insurance after that.
- Home health care. If you can’t leave the home due to an illness or injury, and your doctors approve short-term skilled care, Medicare will pay for these services. This is not round-the-clock care, however.
- Hospice. Medicare also pays for end-of-life care. Hospice keeps you comfortable and improves quality of life. You’re eligible for hospice if you have a terminal illness and are not expected to live beyond six months.
If Medicare Doesn’t Cover Long-Term Care, What Should You Do?
Long-term care can be very expensive, but it’s also possible that you’ll need this type of care at some point. According to this article, someone turning 65 today has a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services. Twenty percent of today’s 65-year-olds will need it for longer than five years. It’s also more common for women to need long-term care over men.
With that in mind, it’s smart to have some type of plan to accommodate your health and well-being in later life. Here are some options:
- Rely on your own savings, such as a loan or reverse mortgage.
- Determine if you qualify for Medicaid, which will cover most long-term care costs. To be eligible, your income and assets must be low enough.
- Buy long-term care insurance that is sold by many insurance companies. It covers things Medicare won’t, such as extended home care, assisted living and nursing home care.
Learn More About Long-Term Care Insurance
If you see yourself residing in an upscale assisted living facility one day or requiring some type of long-term care, it’s worth it to have long-term care insurance. It will cover your care in a variety of settings and give you more options in terms of where you can live. To discuss long-term care insurance and if it’s right for you, schedule an appointment with Leonard Financial Solutions.