By Kenneth Schulman, CLTC
- Daily Benefit: Understanding the current cost of care in the area is very important in helping to make a decision as to what daily benefit amount is
needed for care, and which policies can help meet
- Benefit Period: The length of time payments will be received
from the insurance company, once care is needed, is
difficult to predetermine, so many opt for policies
with lifetime or unlimited benefits. Many policies
often come with shorter benefit period options as
well, which is a good upfront cost-saving measure
from an annual premium perspective.
- Elimination Period or Deductible: The number of days that
policy holders will be responsible for paying for
their care before the policy coverage kicks in is an
another important factor. The amount of time
one can afford to pay for care or to make other
arrangements is critical in helping determine the
policy elimination period.
- Inflation Protection: In a May 2003 report, the American
Health Care Association estimated the average cost
of a nursing home stay at $50,000 per year, or about
$137 a day. In Florida, the exact percentage of
inflation cannot be calculated due to the
unpredictability of how market factors will impact
the cost in future years. By adding inflation
protection, people can help ensure they have
adequate benefits in the future.
The government is there for people who need
Donít count on it entirely. Many think they
can rely on Medicare or Medicaid, but donít realize
that Medicare covers only a limited amount of
long-term care services, while Medicaid covers some
long-term care services Ė primarily care in a
nursing home Ė for people who have limited income
Thinking long-term as caregivers and caregiver
supporters, and doing our part to raise awareness,
are strong initial steps in eliminating the myths
about long-term care. Preparing well in advance to
meet our own needs and those of our loved ones
should undoubtedly be our first step.
Kenneth Schulman is a certified Long-Term Care Specialist.