Long-Term Care

Protect Yourself Against a 70% Healthcare Probability

Long-term care is a type of personal care service that you might need if you have a physical illness, disability, or cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, that affects your ability to do everyday activities.

Long-term care is different from traditional medical care.  Traditional medical care tries to treat or cure illnesses. Long-term care usually won’t improve your medical condition, but it will help you maintain your current lifestyle. It helps with normal daily activities, such as eating, getting around, and bathing. It can also help if you need supervision, protection, or reminders to take medicines or perform other activities.

You can get long-term care services at your own home or in a hospice, adult day care center, nursing home, or assisted living facility.

There are two types of long-term care services:

  • Skilled care is for conditions that require a medical professional, such as a nurse or a therapist. It’s usually provided in a nursing home or other care center.
  • Personal care (sometimes called custodial care) helps you do normal activities. You can get personal care in your home or in a skilled facility.

The Cost of Long-Term Care      

Long-term care can be expensive. The cost depends on the amount and type of care you need, where you receive it, and what type of medical professional provides it. On average in Texas, it costs about

  • $3,000 per month to live in an assisted living center 
  • $6,000 per month for a private room in a  nursing home
  • $40 a day for adult day care 
  • $20 an hour for home health care.

A long-term care insurance policy typically pays from $50 to $250 per day for nursing home care. To find out how much coverage you might need, call local nursing homes, home health care agencies, and adult day care centers in your area and ask about their cost for daily care. Keep in mind that costs will likely go up as you get older.

Paying for Long-Term Care

People pay for long-term care in a variety of ways, including

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • long-term care insurance policy
  • with their own money.

Medicaid is a state and federal assistance program that pays most long-term care expenses for eligible people with low incomes.

To qualify for Medicaid, you must meet income and asset guidelines. Assets are things you own -- such as vehicles, savings accounts, and stocks -- that you could convert into cash. Many people pay for long-term care with their own money until they become eligible for Medicaid. To learn more about Medicaid eligibility, call your local Area Agency on Aging.

Medicare may pay some long-term care costs. Medicare is a federal program that pays for health care for people over age 65 and for people under age 65 with disabilities. It covers the cost of some skilled care in nursing homes or possibly in your home. Medicare might also pay for some nonmedical care in your home if you are receiving skilled care.

Deciding Whether Long-Term Care Insurance Is Right for You?       

Long-term care insurance helps protect your assets against the high cost of extended long-term care. Long-term care insurance usually only makes sense if you have more to protect than a house, car, and a small amount of cash.

Long-term care insurance is probably not a good idea if you have trouble stretching your income to pay for utilities, food, or medicine. You might have to pay for your care out of pocket until you spend down your assets enough to qualify for Medicaid.

To decide whether long-term care insurance is right for you, consider your personal risk factors, assets, income, and estimated costs. Use the Long-Term Care Insurance Suitability Worksheet to help you gather information.

Insurance agents must give you a worksheet and a list of things you should know to help you decide whether long-term care insurance is right for you.


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