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Medicare and most health insurance plans will not cover long term health care expenses. This has left many seniors needing to find coverage for the expense of nursing home care as well as other residential facility centers (assisted living and adult day care centers). It has been estimated that it costs over $60,000 for just one year at a nursing home. The need for long term health coverage has led many financial underwriters to offer long term care health insurance. Not every long term insurance plan is the same, so make sure that you choose the plan that offers the desired benefits that you need. Many major insurance companies offer Long Term Care health insurance, for instance the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company offers a plan.
Medicare only covers what is referred to as “Skilled Nursing Care.” Long Term Care insurance will cover Skilled, Intermediate, and Custodial Care. A Medicare Supplemental policy will not cover areas such as assistance with cooking or home activities. In fact, if you see Medicare selling a Long Term Care insurance plan, you can know that it is a scam.
If you believe that you will need Long Term Care and want to look for an insurance plan, always compare at least three plans before making a decision.
At the age of 65 you will qualify for Medicare, but did you realize that Medicare or most insurance policies don't cover many long term care expenses? The answer is to purchase Long Term Care health insurance from a well-established insurance company. You should purchase a policy between your 50's and 60's. It is also important to note that the older you are, the more expensive the policy becomes. Choose from a company that has a long track record to help ensure that the company will be in good standing when you need its services.
Many seniors face the harsh realities of losing their health insurance. It is a difficult time; not only because of the transitions required, but also seniors tend to have more physical ailments, making health insurance a necessity. If you are between the ages of 50 and 64 (most seniors receive Medicare at age 65), and are losing or have lost your health benefits, there are some things that you can do.
· Check into a COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) benefits. COBRA is a Federal law that will help you receive your benefits for a longer time, typically for at least a year or more, while you look for other coverage.
· You may be able to change your group health insurance policy to an individual plan. Check to see if this is an option.
· You may qualify for insurance under some organizations that you already belong to: look into your past professional organizations, social or community based organizations, as well as any fraternal organizations and see if they provide health insurance, for instance, the AARP offers health insurance.
· HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) helps to ensure that your insurance rights are protected when moving between health insurance plans.
· If you have lost a substantial amount of income, apply for Medicaid.
Medicare and most insurance policies will not cover long term care such as nursing home facilities, assisted living facilities, and adult day care centers. Even home health care assistance typically isn't covered. This leaves many seniors wondering how they will pay for long term care expenses. The answer is to purchase Long Term Care insurance. These insurance plans will cover a multitude of conditions. Here are some tips on questions you should ask when comparing Long Term Care insurance policies.
· What is the policy regarding pre-existing conditions?
· What conditions aren't covered by the policy?
· When will the coverage start?
· Will the premium increase each year?
· Is the policy Tax Qualified?
One out of four Americans relies on Medicaid, and seniors are a growing number who use Medicaid to cover their long-term health care expenses in retirement. Unfortunately, many Americans who are receiving Medicaid were recipients of Health Care benefits at one time. Unforeseen circumstances such as divorce, death of a spouse, or loss of income can cause someone to lose their health care benefits as well as change their income to low or poverty levels. Medicaid benefits vary from state to state, however Medicaid will typically cover long term health care expenses, doctor's visits, and prescription medications. If you believe you may be eligible for Medicaid benefits contact your local health department for information on receiving Medicaid benefits.
If the Long Term Care insurance policy that you have selected is Tax Qualified, then you will be able to claim the cost of your premium as a tax deduction under medical expenses. You can view the IRS Tax Publication 502 (Medical and Dental expenses) for further information and a detailed explanation of which services you can deduct. Because of the tax deductions, you should only consider a Long Term Care insurance plan that is clearly defined as “Tax Qualified”.
Many seniors who are eligible for SSI or Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible to receive Medicaid. To apply for Medicaid you can contact the Social Security department, or even the Medicare office. There are also local state Medicaid departments that you can go through. Today, the Internet makes applying for Medicaid easy by allowing you to apply online. Here are some handy phone numbers and Internet addresses that allow you to apply for Medicaid.
· To apply through the Social Security Department call: 1-800-772-1213
· To apply through the Medicare office call: 1-800-633-4227
· If you have access to the Internet, you can visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by clicking here. http://www.cms.hhs.gov/ContactCMS/
If you have an appointment to apply for Medicaid, be sure to ask about the documents that you will need to take with you.
Maybe you have learned that Medicare won't cover long term care services and you are wondering what options are available for you? You can choose to purchase a Long Term Care insurance plan, but there are some other options available as well. Here are some ideas that may help you with your financial planning for long term care.
· You can use your own personal savings and investment funds if needed.
· 401k plans and IRAs may be used for paying for long term care expenses.
· If you have a life insurance policy, you may be able to cash it in or take a loan out against it.
· If you have a home, you may choose to look into your home equity or a reverse mortgage.
When you become 65 years old you qualify for Medicare. Many people are surprised to discover that Medicare doesn't cover long term care expenses, leaving people to find other means of planning for their future needs. One solution is to purchase Long Term Care insurance. This insurance is specifically designed for the needs that occur when one can no longer care for themselves. It is important to purchase Long Term Care insurance while you are young and in good health (though many policies allow pre-existing conditions). When you are choosing between insurance companies, you should first make a plan of the services you think you will require then compare different plans based upon price and options. You should choose as much insurance as you can afford and a policy that includes the services that you believe you will need.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|