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What is "Long Term Care" and will I need it?



What is 'long-term care'?

Because of old age, mental or physical illness, or injury, some people find themselves in need of help with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting or continence, and/or transferring (e.g., getting out of a chair or out of bed). These six actions are called Activities of Daily Living–sometimes referred to as ADLs. In general, if you can’t do two or more of these activities, or if you have a cognitive impairment, you are said to need “long-term care.”

Long-term care isn’t a very helpful name for this type of situation because, for one thing, it might not last for a long time. Some people who need ADL services might need them only for a few months or less.

Many people think that long-term care is provided exclusively in a nursing home. It can be, but it can also be provided in an adult day care center, an assisted living facility, or at home.

Assistance with ADLs, called “custodial care,” may be provided in the same place as (and therefore is sometimes confused with) “skilled care.” Skilled care means medical, nursing, or rehabilitative services, including help taking medicine, undergoing testing (e.g. blood pressure), or other similar services. This distinction is important because Medicare and most private health insurance pays only for skilled care–not custodial care.

Will I need long-term care?

If you’re under 55, it’s unlikely. Even over 55, only a small percentage of the population will need long-term care before they are in their 70s or 80s.

However, according to research published in the journal Inquiry by Kemper, Komisar, and Alecxih, most people who turned 65 in 2005 will, in their lifetime, need some level of long-term care.

People who turned 65 in 2005 who will need long-term care

According to research published in the journal Inquiry by Kemper, Komisar, and Alecxih, most people who turned 65 in 2005 will, in their lifetime, need some level of long-term care.

1

2

3

4

5

6

LTC need:

None

Some

1 year or less

1-2 years

2-5 years

More than 5 years

Men

42%

58%

19%

10%

17%

11%

Women

21%

79%

16%

13%

22%

28%

Columns 3 through 6 show the distribution of people in column 2. Note that this study defines LTC need as having one or more ADL limitations, four IADL limitations, or using formal LTC services other than post-acute care under Medicare. As such, it indicates somewhat greater usage of LTC services than most long-term care insurance policies would pay for.

Recent trends suggest that 50 percent or more of the people who might have gone into a nursing home for long-term care will in the future go into an assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities generally cost less than nursing homes. For example, in mid-2005, a MetLife Mature Market Institute survey found a national average daily cost of assisted living facilities of $100, with a range from $55 to $155 across the U.S.

The good news is that people are living healthier longer—that, in other words, the need for long-term care is diminishing and, when it occurs, the onset of need for long-term care is, on average, occurring later and later in life and starting closer to death (so that future periods of long-term care needs may be shorter than at present). In part, this is due to the adoption of better prevention strategies and better medical practices. Even so, if you do need long-term care services, they can be expensive.

Fox Insurance Agency

At Fox Insurance Agency, we proudly serve Beaverton, Portland, and all of Oregon, and Washington. Whatever your needs, we would be happy to help you find just the right policy to meet them. As an independent agency, we are able to provide quotes from more than one insurance company. We work only with highly recognizable, reputable insurers.

If you are interested in a long-term care insurance quote or policy contact us today. We would be happy to help you find the right policy for you and your family!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied. Content provided by Insurance Information Institute.