The long term care insurance (LTCI) industry is constantly evolving. Plans today are designed very differently than they were 20-30 years ago. As LTCI carriers are learning more about how consumers are using their product, they are building in more features to account for changes in how people receive care in the future. Carriers want to ensure that come claim time, people who planned ahead and purchased LTCI can get some great features out of their policy.
Here is a list of 5 things you may be surprised to find that your LTCI policy could cover or do for you:
Since most long term care is delivered by family members, especially in the early stages of a claim, having a Cash Benefit can allow greater flexibility to pay for care when it is being delivered by a family member. The policy owner is also able to start drawing benefits out of their policy earlier.
Another advantage of the Cash Benefit is that as long as the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and/or Cognitive trigger is met and there’s a plan of care in place, it will usually pay for services and items that are not defined in the reimbursable “Covered Services” section of an LTCI policy. This allows flexibility in the future as technology changes so things that are not defined as “Covered Services” could be covered in the future. Examples of this could include Smart Clothing, wearable brain stimulators, and other devices that are being developed now, but may be widely used to provide long term care in the future.
Some policies have built in provisions to pay for modifications made to the home. This means items that are intended to relieve your need for direct physical assistance; and are expected to enable you to remain safely in your home for usually 90 days after installation. This can be add-ons like ramps, grab bars, hospital beds, and many other things.
Care Coordination and Caregiver Support:
Some carriers have a Personal Care Advisor (PCA) for every claimant (and their family), who is their dedicated contact throughout the entire process. These care supporters and coordinators can help with initial claims paperwork all the way to creating a Plan of Care. Other carriers have caregiver support services to help you and your immediate family should you have a long term care need at any time. For example, if you bought a policy at age 55 and two years later one of your parents started a long term care event, you could use this support service to help advise prospective care services for your parent even though they do not own a policy.
If the contract in your policy allows, you could have training for a family member, friend or neighbor who will be providing your care. This would consist of training in the proper use and care of a therapeutic device or an appropriate care giving procedure. Definitions and guidelines vary, so it is important to read the fine print.
Some policies have a plan for Alternative Care. This is similar to having the flexibility of cash reference above; however, it is mandated by specific carriers. Examples of services that could be considered under an Alternative Care and Support Service include things like medically necessary transportation to and from Adult Day Care, a medical alert system, charges for labor and supplies for minor home modifications that help you stay at home more safely and comfortably. You may also receive reimbursement for expenses covered in a Hospice Care Benefit, which pays for covered expenses incurred during hospice care.
Each long term care insurance carrier may have a different definition or different coverage (or none at all) for the above features, so it is good to speak to a specialist about specifics. If there is a feature you are interested in, make sure to check the provisions of the product you are purchasing to ensure you will be covered in the end.
We recommend speaking to one of our long term care insurance specialists about your specific needs and desires. It is free of charge and there is no obligation.