Planning Ahead: Long-Term Care Insurance and Alzheimer’s Awareness

Written by on 10/21/2016 5:09 AM . It has 3 Comments.

alzheimers patient with long term care insurance

No one wants to think about getting old. We never want to imagine that we won’t be able to take care of ourselves when we do, or that we’ll get Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. But let’s look at the facts.

  • More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s right now.
  • One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia each year.
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s.

While we all hope that we’ll beat the odds, it’s better to be aware of the risks. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is expensive, in terms of both time and money.

  • Caregivers spend more than $5000 per year for someone with Alzheimer’s.
  • In 2015, caregivers provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care.
  • The cost of nursing home care runs between $42,000 and $70,000 per year.

These statistics reflect what family caregivers provide for their loved ones who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But what about insurance?

Medicare Isn’t Enough

If you plan to rely on your Medicare coverage in case you’re diagnosed with dementia, think again. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term custodial care. This includes daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, feeding yourself, and more. Medicare only covers limited care in nursing homes or at home and centers for medical care needed after surgeries, physical therapy, etc.

Even the use of a skilled-nursing facility is limited to specific treatment that follows a hospital stay of up to three days. If you, or your loved one with Alzheimer’s, goes into the hospital for a hip replacement or following an illness like pneumonia, a skilled nursing facility can only be used if you were in the hospital for three days, and you can only use this type of facility for 100 days total. Medicare doesn’t provide the coverage that someone with Alzheimer’s needs.

Long-Term Care Insurance

The best option for you and your family is a long-term care insurance policy which will cover those daily needs that an Alzheimer’s patient must have and help ease some of the burden on family caregivers. Depending on the type of policy you select and the amount you pay, you may have a little or a lot of coverage. Be aware of certain aspects of a long-term care policy:

  • Custodial care is typically provided if a patient needs help with at least two daily activities or if a doctor provides evidence of cognitive impairment.
  • In-home care, the most common type of care for Alzheimer’s patients, often have waiting periods between 60 and 90 days and restrictions for when the waiting period begins.
  • Some policies only pay for certain types of in-home caregivers. Do not hire a caregiver until you know what your policy allows.
  • Most policies allow a daily amount ($200 per day, for example) which means family members must provide some caregiving and have a maximum amount of time, like three years, when coverage can be used. In this example it may be possible to spend $100 per day and stretch that the coverage to six years, depending on what your policy allows.

Whether you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family or you simply want the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be taken care of no matter what happens, consider a long-term care insurance policy. It will be there to help cover some of the costs if you’re unable to take care of yourself and relieve some of the burden on your family.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today so we can let you know what your options are and give you a quote for a policy.

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