Health insurance pays your doctor and hospital bills if you get sick or injured but usually long-term care isn't covered by the health insurance you have either on your own or through your employer. In addition, typically neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover long-term care.
Long-term care goes beyond medical care and nursing care to include all the assistance you could need if you ever have a chronic illness or disability that leaves you unable to care for yourself for an extended period of time. You can receive long-term care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in your own home.
Beyond nursing homes, there is a range of services available in the community to help meet long-term care needs. Visiting nurses, home health aides, friendly visitor programs, home-delivered meals, chore services, adult daycare centers, and respite services for caregivers who need a break from daily responsibilities can supplement care given by family members.
You may never need long-term care. But about 19 percent of Americans aged 65 and older experience some degree of chronic physical impairment. Among those aged 85 or older, the proportion of people who are impaired and require long-term care is about 55 percent. By the year 2020, 12 million older Americans will need long-term care.
Your agent will help you understand this complex subject and advise you on what you need in a policy. You can get additional information about long-term care coverage at the Area Agency on Aging. For your local office, call 1-800-677-1116.