What is Long-Term Care Insurance and Why Might I Need It?

By Liz Eshleman

The need for long-term care can come quickly – for instance, due to a car accident or skiing injury – or more slowly, due to a diagnosis of MS or Parkinson’s, or from the simple frailty that can come with aging. You may have heard the term often, but what exactly is long-term care insurance and why might I need it? 

Long-term care insurance is designed to cover the costs of assistance with activities of daily living in the home or in a facility, no matter the cause, and for an extended period. This type of care is also referred to as “custodial care”. 

Some people believe, and hope, that long-term care might be covered by their health insurance plan. But although Medicare and private health insurance may pay for a short-term rehabilitation, such as from a hip replacement surgery, once a health event is ongoing and it is determined that a person will need care for more than 90 days, then standard health insurance will no longer reimburse for any long-term care services. (The definition of long-term care is a need for assistance for 90 days or more.)  And the costs of care—help with bathing and/or dressing, helping a person get in and out of bed, in and out of a chair, on and off the toilet— can easily run to up to $300+ per day at home or in a facility. These high costs can decimate an individual’s retirement savings. By comparison, an annual long-term care insurance policy premium would range from $3,000 – $9,000 per year, just a fraction of the cost of care. Long-term care insurance provides you the opportunity to transfer financial exposure and risk onto the shoulders of an insurance company, so you have some peace of mind when it comes to long-term care costs. 

Furthermore, the value of long-term care insurance goes beyond just offsetting the costs of care. Clients who put a long-term care insurance plan in place reduce or eliminate the worry about “what if?” and the burden on family members and loved ones. Consider protecting your future retirement savings and gain emotional well-being with careful planning when it comes to long-term care insurance. 

About the author

Liz Eshleman is a California native, licensed to help folks with long-term care planning in a number of Western states.  Her first career was in piano and vocal performance and as a professor of music at Mills College in Oakland, CA, but her mom’s experience needing long-term care turned Liz into a true believer that families need to think about this and put a plan in place well before a long-term care event is upon them.  She is now a seasoned professional in this field, having been licensed to help clients with long-term care planning since 2010.  Liz is independent and appointed with an array of the best long-term care insurance companies.  She can help you find the best solution for your situation. eshlemaninsurance.com