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As a caregiver, I now think much more about planning for my own healthcare needs in my elder years. Does anyone have a good experience with long-term care insurance? Is it worth it?

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Long Term Care Insurance is a valuable part of an estate plan for people who have substantial assets, savings and income. If you do not have substantial assets and income to fund the premiums, consider other long term care planning methods.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners publishes a Shopper’s Guide that outlines what to look for in a LTC Insurance policy. Compare policy offerings and consider:

What are the policy's limitations on home care? Are Home Care Costs Covered at all? How may days per week? What Services are Covered?
Does the policy pay family members for care giving?
Does the policy pay for 24 hour a day home care? (most do not)
What level of physical and mental impairment does it take to get the policy to pay benefits? Eligibility for coverage is based on whether or not a person can perform Activities of Daily Living. Make sure you understand the policy’s definition of ADL's. People who are unable to perform these Activities of Daily Living, and who can't obtain adequate nutrition, usually require a caregiver to support them from 12 to 24 hours each day. ADL's include: Dressing
Bathing
Toileting
Eating
Walking
Shoppers Guide is at:
https://www.ltcfeds.com/epAssets/documents/NAIC_Shoppers_Guide.pdf

(Don't confuse ADL's with Independent ADL's, which are the activities that enable a person to live independently in a house or apartment, such as: preparing meals, performing housework, taking medication, going on errands, managing finances, and using a telephone.)

My state, Massachusetts, is unique because it has a Long Term Care Insurance incentive program that exempts an elder’s home from Medicaid liens, and protects the home from estate recovery. No other state in the union has this protection. three important features that must be found in the policy: 1) coverage for at least two years of long term care, and 2) a daily benefit dollar amount of $125 and 3) elimination period (days on which services are provided to an insured before the policy begins to pay benefits) not longer than 365 days in a nursing facility or a deductible of no more than $54,750.

Because the Massachusetts law measures these requirements at the time the policy is purchased, elders can use the qualifying insurance policy to pay for community-based home care before they enter a nursing home, without fear of being disqualified by the two year requirement. The purpose of the law is to protect elders who use their long term care insurance for community-based care, so they can remain in their homes as long as possible.
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Reply to John L. Roberts
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However, the next on the chopping block after the tax cuts is cuts to Medicaid and Medicare so I'm not counting on that. My plan is to accumulate a stockpile of lethal drugs..if I am lucid enough to take them. If you want to be cared about in this country, be very wealthy or an embryo.
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Reply to Rosyday
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Long term policies have a spending limit. They are good because they WILL pay for home sitter services. However, know the spending limit. Once in a nursing home they will use up the insurance which will be followed by Medicaid. On the average a single nursing home patient is about $90,000 a year. If you can afford it, do it. However, I can't afford it since I'm already spending $700 a month (with a $6,860 deductible) for ordinary Obamacare (that's the cheapest "most affordable" policy I can find). Since I am not eligible for any kind of subsidies being a caregiver (my mom is a full time job and is unpaid) I'm exhausting my savings just for my own healthcare for insurance I never use. I keep Obamacare because you never know what can happen and a single day in the hospital can run a million dollars very easily. Healthcare in America is very hyperinflated and nobody seems to care.  Medical science keeps people alive it's no longer unusual to live in the 80's and 90's.  Meanwhile Alzheimer's is sharply on the rise -- and the Federal government cannot cope.  Did you know Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitlements cost the Feds half of the entire budget.  The US Military is about 16% of the entire budget including overseas involvement.  With aging baby boomers sharply rising..and people living forever..we are doomed.  
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Reply to cetude
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I live in assisted living with my husband who has LBD with Parkinson's. I needed more help with him than I could get at home. I thank God everyday for our Long Term policy. It pays $7000 a month for us to stay together for five years. I've claimed it for only him, and should we need it, can claim it for me for an additional five years.
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Reply to amott6
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ZipCrackers Jun 26, 2018
Who is your insurance policy through? Is it still worth it to get it when someone already needs nursing care help?
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If you can easily qualify for Medicaid, then you don't need long-term care insurance. If you have your financial ducks in a row and are fully funding your retirement accounts each year, then look into getting a policy.
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Reply to LTCShop
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Mother got scammed. She paid $1,000 per month, for 14 years for LTC with private duty Nurses Aids if she should need it, to the Senior Facility where she also bought her apartment and then they went bankrupt. She lost the equity in her apartment and LTC insurance. Be careful that you use an insurance Co. and not a package with the Senior Facility.
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Reply to daughterlu
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SelfishSiblings is right ... IF you can be disciplined to put the same $$$ the LTC would charge as a premium, and you keep it invested at "average" market returns (near 5%/year), you should come out ahead. Like any savings plan, if you fall off the boat, it won't work. Even better ... keep tabs on what premium increases would be and increase your savings contributions to match. In spite of the statistics on need for LTC, there are still plenty of anecdotes of people dying quickly. The insurers count on the averages, so people who die quickly make up for the ones who live longer. There are so many restrictions and requirements on opening an LTC claim, I'd rather be in control of my own money.
One more benefit to LTC is that the assets held by the insurer are outside the control of the beneficiary, so the money can only be used under the terms of the policy - i.e., you can't be sued and have it taken away, a single extraordinary expense cannot deplete the policy. For the most part, you are at the greatest risk if you are in the no-man's-land between poor and wealthy. Poor enough, and you'll get whatever Medicaid will cover. Wealthy enough and you buy whatever you want. In the middle, we roll the dice and take our chances, hoping it will work out reasonably for us in the end.
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Reply to brightstarNorth
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We had LTC insurance and had been paying the premiums for 4 years. The premiums have gone up 35% in that time so we canceled!! As we are in our mid fifties, we decided to cancel it and put that money in our retirement fund instead. Full time nursing care runs $17,000/month in my area. No joke. My mom is in that facility, on Medicaid. No other way to do it. Less and less insurance companies are offering LTC policies because more and more people are using their LTC insurance and it just isn't profitable to the insurance companies anymore. If we decide to get it later, we will pick a policy that has an equity portion.
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Reply to SelfishSiblings
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I have a life insurance policy that has a long term care rider. If needed, I can use up to $2000/month (amount varies based on the policy amount) to assist in long term care. The down side is that you can only use it up to the amount of the policy and it pulls from the value of the policy. My husband and I will not be able to qualify for Medicaid based on our retirement benefits. Long term care isn’t affordable for us, so this is our best option. Plus with LTC, if you pass away before you need to use it, the money is gone-like car or house insurance if you never file a claim. With this insurance policy at least my beneficiaries will receive the amount of the policy. Hope this offers an alternative solution.
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Reply to Momasays
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I've been looking into too. It doesn't seem worth it. And there are restrictions of when you can begin to use it. I think the asset based plans make more sense, but they are more expensive. There's more freedom to use the money when you want though, and benefit left for your family if you pass away. Talk with several agents. I will say how nice it was for a friend when his mom had Alzheimer's he was able to place her in a nice facility without worrying about cost because she had long term care insurance.
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Reply to NightOwl
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