Long Term Care
LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
Long term care insurance pays a daily or monthly benefit for medical or non-medical (custodial) care. This is care that you can receive while at home, in a nursing facility or in a hospital. Most long term insurance plans will pay you a benefit, if you’re unable to perform some of the basics of activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, toileting, continence, transferring (getting in and out of a bed or a chair), walking and eating or if you’re cognitively impaired.
This insurance is really about giving you (or in the case of mental impairment- your family) control over your care. Long term care insurance is about giving you options, freedom, and dignity. It keeps you in control of the most important decisions concerning your life . For example, you may decide to receive care ‘at home’ instead of sharing a room at some distant facility. It gives you options so that you get to decide who cares for you and you will get to decide when you want to move to a nursing home. It may also help to determine which nursing home you go to.
About 60 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long term care services during their lifetime. Many people believe the government will look after them in their old age. If you become chronically disabled or mentally impaired the provincial government may only cover a portion of the care, assistance and supervision you may need. If you’re depending on the government, that also puts them in control of your fate. They decide which facility to put you in, it may be one that is a long drive for your loved ones to visit or that is unsatisfactory for any number of reasons. If you don’t like the facility you’re in, it may be difficult to get them to move you.
Health care costs may increase in the future as baby boomers demand more health resources across the board. Canadians may end up being responsible for more and more long term care costs and many Canadians won’t be able to afford it. The cost of long term care can quickly diminish your retirement savings. In many cases, long term care is not necessarily medical care as outlined in the Canadian Health Care Act, but custodial (non-medical) care, so it’s more likely those costs won’t be covered.
If you can’t take care of yourself, who will? For example, will your spouse be able to take care of you 24 hours a day? Can they lift you out of bed and on to the toilet? What about as they get older? Can your other family members afford to take time off work to help you out? Can you trust the government to take complete care of you?
Be Careful: When choosing your long term care insurance it is important to really understand what you’re getting and how it works. Really think about what you’ll do when you can’t take care of yourself.
TIP: Some Long Term Care Insurance can be combined with Critical Illness Insurance into one overall plan.