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Long Term Care Insurance


Long Term Care (LTC) insurance provides funds for assistance services to persons unable to provide for themselves as the result of a disability, illness, injury, or the infirmity of old age. When outside help with physical or emotional needs is required over an extended period of time, this is long term care. LTC help may be for any of the normal activities of daily living that most of us take for granted, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, shopping, managing money, etc. Experts estimate that at least 60% of all individuals will need extended help in one or more of these areas during their lifetimes.


An important part of planning for Long Term Care is deciding how to pay for these services, which can be very expensive. Many people think Medicare will pay for LTC, but Medicare will not pay for most LTC services. While some people may qualify for Medicaid, most will not. People with assets in excess of $3 million should plan to pay for LTC services from these assets. People with almost no assets, who would probably be covered by Medicaid, probably should not purchase LTC insurance coverage. Everyone else needs LTC insurance coverage, but few choose to buy it. Most people buy insurance to cover loss from a home fire, but do not buy coverage for long term care expenses. Yet the likelihood of needing LTC coverage is 600 times greater than the likelihood of needing the fire coverage. The best time to purchase a LTC insurance policy is in your late 50s to early 60s. After that, the coverage can be very expensive. When purchasing a commercial LTC policy make sure the insurance company is rated A++ by A.M. Best, which means that the insurance company has the highest financial strength.


For more details about LTC insurance a good source of information is the National Care Planning Council, whose home page can be seen at


(Originally published in the Newsletter dated May 8, 2007)

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