Long-term care insurance is a form of insurance that protects adults from the risk of losing their ability to care for themselves, or otherwise having that ability impaired. This type of coverage may include both medical and non-medical issues, as long as the issue affects a person's ability to bathe, dress or eat. The range of services covered may depend on the setting where the long-term insurance is availed of. In a home setting, services can include nursing care, various forms of rehabilitation, and other forms of personal care.
It is better, from both a coverage perspective and a premiums perspective, to obtain long-term insurance early in life. The youngers and healthier you are, usually the closer to standard rates your premiums will be, as compared to older people who may already have known illnesses. That said, injury and illness can strike adults of any age group, so it pays to be prepared. Most group medical insurance policies that are provided by employers have long-term care benefits. In fact, employers are often in a great position to get good group plan rates for their employees.
The moment you can avail of the benefits under a long-term insurance policy will depend on what are called "benefit triggers." These criteria, referred to as either Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) or cognitive impairments, are often provided in the policy itself. The determination of the existence of those triggers will stem from an assessment made by a medical or social worker, sponsored by the insurance company.
Instead of a deductible in the form of a sum of money, long-ter care insurance has what is called an elimination period, or a period of time before the coverage takes effect. This is usually between 30 to 90 days, at the option of the policy holder. A longer elimination period is complemented by lower premium rates, while shorter periods will entail higher premiums.
A long-term insurance policy can be availed of in a variety of settings, not just a nursing home, as is a common misconception. This includes hospices, respites, assisted living centers, and even your own home. Long-term insurance policies today are usually comprehensive and allow for such flexibility.