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Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance provides insurance coverage for seniors who need extra care or assistance in a nursing facility, retirement home or in a community environment. Long term care insurance typically do not cover active retirement homes. As with any insurance, experts recommend purchasing long term care insurance long before you actually need to use it to save on premium costs. Seniors who have a family history of chronic illness such as arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease should strongly consider purchasing long term care insurance.

It usually is not of if, but when you may discover a chronic illness as you get older and your body starts to slowly break down. The best time to start reviewing long term care insurance is while you are planning your retirement and crunching the numbers and considering all of your finances. The rates you will end up paying at a younger age is much less if you start later in your life when you need it.

Closely review your options, needs and resources to help determine whether long-term care insurance is right for you. If it is, remember that insurance companies sell policies that combine benefits and coverage in different ways.

Benefit Triggers - ADLs and cognitive disorder are considered types of "benefit triggers," the term used to describe the factors that qualify a person for eligibility of benefits. This is an important part of a long-term care insurance policy. The policy usually outlines the benefit triggers.

Types of Benefit Triggers

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) - The patient cannot perform 2-3 of the following activities: bathing, eating, continence, dressing, toileting and the ability to transfer oneself in and out of bed, chair or wheelchair.
  • Cognitive Impairment - the policy usually pays benefits when there is loss of mental functions.
  • Doctor Certification - when a doctor gives orders or certifies that care is medically necessary.
  • Prior Hospitalization - a hospital stay may be required before benefits are paid.

Different policies may use different benefit triggers. Some states require certain benefit triggers. Check with your state insurance department to find out what your state requires.

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