Understanding what Extended Health Care is
Do you know the essential facts to protect you and your family from unplanned health expenses?
When people consider the subject of long-term care, they often think about nursing homes. Extended Health Care or Long-Term Care has little to do with nursing homes. Understanding the difference can help you protect your Family and finances.
- It is not a Place.
- It is not a Condition.
- It is not Short-term.
- It is not Medical.
- It is a person needing help with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL) due to a life-changing event that dramatically changed their independence for self-care.
If you develop a chronic illness or become disabled and can no longer care for yourself for an extended period of time, you’ll need long-term care services.
Long-Term Care (Extended Health Care) is when the need for ordinary and simple daily home tasks is challenging. Otherwise, we refer it to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as toileting, bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of the bed or chair, and maintaining continence. Another type of long-term care is the supervision needed for someone with severe memory loss.
Long-term care has little to do with nursing homes. Understanding the difference can help you protect your Family and finances.
Long-term care encompasses the care, services, and choice of housing — be it your home or another place of your choosing.
At age 65, your life expectancy is more than 25/30 years, and medical advances allow for a long life, yet your need for some assistance is greater with aging. Think back to 25 years ago. If you had cancer or a stroke, your chances of survival were slim. Few have ever heard of Alzheimer’s. Today, it is the leading cause of long-term care services. The longer you live, the more likely you are to need care.
Who will take care of you?
- Who in your Family is available?
- Can they afford to leave their job to provide care?
- Do they have a growing family as their primary responsibility?
- Do you want them to provide or supervise your care?
The critical question is,
Who will pay for the unplanned care costs?
The typical response is Medicare. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover non-medical care, and Medicaid is only an option after your assets are depleted.
- Medicare’s primary health care program for retirees pays only for skilled, medically oriented, or rehabilitative care under specific guidelines, not custodial care.
- Medicaid, a federal and state program for financially needy individuals, will pay for custodial care, primarily in nursing homes. Funding for home care and assisted living is minimal and based on available funds.
- Veterans believe the VA will pay for home care, adult day care, or assisted living. As with Medicaid, funding is limited to specific guidelines based on service-related disability.
- Self-funding is the final option. Unfortunately, budgeting for the possible need for Long-Term Care is not always a consideration in a retirement plan. But what if you suddenly need assistance? And the cost of home health care ranges from $5,000 – $10,000 or more a month. Do you have an emergency fund for a year or more to cover this expense?
Long-term care insurance has become an essential part of planning for disability resulting from living longer. Take advantage of the opportunity to leverage your risk with an LTC insurance policy. The positive is it can minimize the loss of lifestyle and family stress. It allows for maintaining the original purpose of retirement savings to continue for the purpose for which it was intended, namely retirement income.
From a family perspective, think about who will be providing your care. The chances are that your children will play a key role. Long-term care insurance does not replace the need for family involvement in providing care but builds on it. It pays professionals to assist the person with the most challenging tasks, such as toileting, bathing, feeding, and continence. Allows the Family to provide and supervise care and age in place.
The options for paying for an extended health care need at any age are limited to self-funding, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. Each of these options is appropriate for certain people in certain circumstances. None of these is suitable for everyone. It is vital to make an informed decision, in advance, as to how best to fund an extended health care need should it be required and then communicate that decision to your Family.
Don’t hesitate to investigate your options while you are healthy and able to plan for your future. Be in control and contact us today for a complimentary quote.
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Eleonore Weber, CLTC
Author, Disability, Health, Life, Long-Term Care, and Medicare Insurance solutions!
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