What is long-term care?
Long-term care is help you need when you can no longer perform such basic activities of daily life as bathing, dressing, and eating. This might be due to a physical disorder or a cognitive problem such as dementia. Often, the care you need involves personal care services as opposed to skilled care from a nurse or other medical provider.
Neither Medicare nor other traditional health insurance cover most of these long-term care services.
Long-term care costs
This Oregon data comes from the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey. These are yearly, mid-point costs.
- Semi-private nursing home room: $82,125
- Private room in an assisted living facility: $46,200
- Home health aide (44 hours a week): $48,048
- Homemaker services (44 hours a week): $45,760
Long-term care insurance
Insurance is just one option to pay for long-term care. The best way to pay for care depends on your finances, your family, and your personal preferences. The earlier you start planning, the more options you may have.
Deciding whether to buy long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance might not be the best choice if you:
- Can’t afford the premiums now or in the long run
- Have limited assets
- Only have income from a Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Often have trouble paying for utilities, food, medicine, or other basic needs
- Are on Medicaid
- Are covered for long-term care by the Veterans Administration
Consider buying long-term care insurance if you:
- Have significant assets and income
- Want to protect some of your assets and income
- Can pay premiums, even if they increase, without financial difficulty
- Want to stay independent of the support of others
- Want to choose care in the setting you prefer