Information about Long-Term Care and Hospice Care

When you face a chronic illness or disability, long-term care is an important consideration. Services provided as long-term care cover daily living needs such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and transportation. Hospice care is a consideration when your illness is untreatable and likely to result in death within a certain period of time. In a hospice, you receive services to alleviate suffering by addressing your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Insurance is available for both long-term and hospice care.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term assistance with the tasks of daily living may be necessary in a variety of living situations. It can be included as part of a stay in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. You may also need long-term care services in your own home or as part of your assisted-living accommodations. Expenses related to long-term care are not covered by your private health insurance. Medicare provides very limited coverage, only for short-term medical conditions. Medicaid coverage varies widely from state to state. Long-term care benefits are usually available only in a nursing home setting. To shield yourself against the risk of long-term care expenses, you typically need an insurance policy specifically designed to pay for these expenses.

No Policy Covers All Expenses

Insurance policies for long-term care will vary significantly regarding the benefits provided. Some policies pay a fixed, maximum amount per day for your daily living services, regardless of how much you actually spend. For example, if your benefit pays $50 per day, you will be reimbursed for any expenses actually incurred up to that amount.

Other polices may pay a maximum benefit that is paid out over a specified period of time. For example, if you have a $100,000 maximum benefit paid in daily increments, you would have 1,000 days of coverage at $100 per day. Lower daily expenses will give you longer coverage. In any case, you will pay for some portion of your daily living expenses out-of-pocket because no long-term care insurance will guarantee full payment for these expenses.

Hospice Care Insurance

Long-term care services are used so long as your medical condition is treatable. Once your illness becomes untreatable, as for many cancer patients, hospice care is necessary. The goal of hospice care is to provide as much relief as possible from pain and suffering during the last days of your life. Hospice care generally costs less than ongoing medical treatment, because it is palliative instead of curative. Insurance coverage is generally available.

Medicare and Medicaid Cover Hospice Care

In addition to any private insurance policy for hospice care, qualified individuals may also receive hospice care through Medicare or Medicaid. The hospice care benefit is available when doctor certifies that you have a terminal illness and are not expected to live longer than six months.

An Insurance Attorney Can Help

The law involving long-term and hospice care insurance is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an insurance attorney.

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