Long-Term Care Insurance: Eldercare Solution

I was suddenly forced to take over full-time care of my parents who were suffering from dementia and had health issues. I hadn’t heard of Long Term Care Insurance. After spending their entire life savings and starting to save my own, I was advised by the government to apply for financial assistance through the Medicaid program, which is a program for people below the poverty line. My parents were finally approved after a lengthy process that involved many investigations and countless paperwork.

I was so relieved that financial help was finally on its way. But then I realized that it would only pay for my parents to be in a nursing facility, not in Assisted Living, and very little to keep them at home.

Because their care needs were different (my mother needed the majority of things done for herself), there wasn’t any facility that would allow them both to be together. They would be in separate wings of the house, just a few blocks apart. My parents wanted to be together after fifty-five years of marriage. They wanted their own home and their own bed where they could still cuddle and kiss as often as they did. My father was so difficult with his bad temper and long history of manipulative disruptive behavior, my parents didn’t want to have to deal with him.

Although it was difficult, I made a commitment to my parents that they would remain in their home and attend Adult Day Health Care five times a week. After four more years of love and support from two wonderful caregivers, they passed away just a few short months apart. Although caring for my parents in their final years was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, I am proud to say that I gave them the best possible end-of-life.

If I had known to insist on purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance before they became sick, I would have saved them years of in-home care and could have saved my family a lot of heartache. Learn from my mistakes and consider LTC insurance for your loved ones, as well as for yourself. You won’t need it, like fire insurance.

You can also call your local Area Agency on Aging or Department of Aging to inquire if any grants, waivers, or financial programs are available in your area.


* Between 4.5 and 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Gallup polls found that 1 in 10 Americans had Alzheimer’s disease in their family, while 1 in 3 knew someone who did.

* The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age. Nearly half of those over 85 and one in 10 over 65 are at risk. People in their 40s and 50s may be affected by rare, inherited forms Alzheimer’s.

* An average person with Alzheimer’s disease will live for eight years, but it can take as long as 20 years to develop symptoms.

* Over 75% of people with Alzheimer’s live at home. Family and friends provide 80 per cent of their care. This informal care is worth $257 billion per year.

* Half of the U.S. population suffers from a chronic condition. Over 25% of adults provide care for an elderly, disabled, or chronically ill family member or friend. This translates into more than 50,000,000 people.

* 37% of caregivers live in the same house as the person they are caring for. 54% of caregivers are between 35-64 years old. 59% of adults are or will become family caregivers, with 2 million more needed over the next 20 years.

* 43% of Americans 65 and older will be spending time in a nursing facility. In 2012, 75% will need long-term care. The cost of long-term care is rising at 6% per year.

* The annual cost for Alzheimer’s care in the U.S. amounts to at least $100 billion and will rise to at least $375billion by mid-century. This will overwhelm our health care system, bankrupting Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare.

American businesses spend $61 billion annually on Alzheimer’s disease. This is equal to the net profits of the 10 Fortune 500 companies. $24.6 billion is for Alzheimer health care. $36.5 billion pays for caregivers who provide assistance to those with Alzheimer’s. This includes lost productivity and replacement of workers.


1. You will have to pay out-of-pocket for assisted living/nursing home caregivers and in-home caregivers. This can be costly and can drain a family’s savings.

2. You must meet a specific poverty level to be eligible for government assistance under the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, there are very few options, as Medicaid only pays for nursing homes that accept Medicaid.

3. Purchase a Comprehensive Long-Term Care Insurance Policy. This policy protects your family from the rising cost of full-time caregiving. The employer may pay the tax-deductible premiums. It might be cheaper and more accessible to buy it when you are younger. It should be purchased before you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare or regular health insurance. The cost of long-term care for someone who is disabled or elderly can range from $40 to $75,000 annually depending on their location. This includes the cost of a family caregiver, who might have to leave their job.


Is the coverage complete? Does it cover all levels of care such as in-home, assisted living, and nursing/dementia homes?

What is the daily benefit of using this product?

Is there a 5% annual compounded inflation protection?

What is the elimination period?

Is it a life-long benefit policy or a temporary benefit policy?

Is there a discount for spousal?

Can you hire caregivers from both an agency and privately?

Is the home-care benefit calculated on a daily, weekly, or monthly maximum? If not, can the benefit be used in the future.

Does it include home care coordination services?

How many ADLs (Activities for Daily Living) is it required to trigger a claim

Is there a deadline for filing a claim

Does it cover Adult Day Care, Adult Day Health Care, Hospice and Respite Programs?

Is it tax-qualified?

Are they highly rated? Have they raised premiums in the past?

–Can you view the company’s annual audit? This will allow you to see their track record in paying claims.