Long-term care insurance policies and Life Care plans might sound alike, but they are very different types of insurance. You can have one or both, depending on your health and financial means when you apply.
I confess, I’m a worrier… and one concern I can’t seem to shake is the potential costs of health care as I age. I live alone, so I don’t have a spouse to rely on, and my children are busy building their own lives.
I fret over things like, “who will care for me if I fall or suddenly can’t live on my own?” and “how will I pay for memory care if I’m diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?” I don’t want to be burden on my family and worry about Medicare limitations if something unexpected should happen.
The costs of care are sobering. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care services, and it wouldn’t take long to run through my retirement savings—a frightening proposition.
Learn more about costs of care in your area with this helpful cost of care calculator.
I like the idea of long-term care insurance and set out to navigate through my options. What should I find, but something called a Life Care plan! Here’s what it is and how they differ.
Long-term care insurance
Similar to medical insurance in many ways, long-term care (LTC) insurance includes copays, deductibles, waiting periods and coverage limitations. The policy is in effect as long as you pay the monthly premium and it’s designed as a secondary form of insurance to fill gaps of coverage left by Medicare and other health insurance policies.
Like life insurance, long-term care insurance requires a screening process to ensure eligibility, and fluctuates in cost depending on age and other factors.
Life Care plans
Life Care plans are also a form of insurance, but a more robust plan that can allow unlimited long-term care or a significant discount on care services, depending on the plan selected. Plus, all services are provided by preferred care providers, so there is no doubt about where you’ll be or the quality of care received.
Life Care plans provide personal wellness coordinators to help members navigate their health and LTC needs while also focusing on health and wellness services, along with long-term care needs. Because it’s in their best interests to keep you OUT of their care facilities, they are structured to provide robust services and education to help you remain independent and in your home.
Depending on the plan and specific provider, services can range from fitness, health and wellbeing activities to in-home caregiver and support services, assisted living or extended skilled nursing care… even memory care.
Life Care has an initial buy-in cost for membership and may have monthly fees, depending on the plan. It may also be used in conjunction with LTC insurance to ensure total financial coverage, but can be purchased individually.
Both are insurance, but only one has a guarantee of care
Both LTC and Life Care plans are designed to fill the financial gaps left by typical health insurance. One feature that sets Life Care plans apart from LTC insurance is the guarantee: if a member should have their financial circumstances change, such as an economic downturn that results in a lifetime of savings evaporated, benefits don’t cease. The Life Care plan guarantees a lifetime of care without a change in service.
I haven’t made a decision yet, but I have to admit the guarantee is reassuring. Protecting my retirement dollars to ensure I don’t live longer than my money is important, and LTC leaves the insured vulnerable to its coverage and provider limitations, not to mention the coverage limitations and benefit maximum. It covers some of the costs beyond Medicare, but not all of them. I also appreciate the focus of wellness and independence that Life Care offers.
Either way, I’m off to learn more about both. An educated decision is a smart one!
If you’d like to learn more about Sun Health at Home’s Life Care plans, reserve your spot now at a free, no-obligation discovery seminar near you, or call (623) 227- HOME (4663). It’s the only program of its kind available in Arizona.