Five Questions About Long-Term Care
1. WHAT IS LONG-TERM CARE? Long-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. There are three levels of long-term care: Skilled care: Generally round-the-clock care that’s given by professional health care providers such as nurses, therapists, or aides under a doctor’s supervision. Intermediate care: Also provided by professional health care providers but on a less frequent basis than skilled care. Custodial care: Personal care that’s often given by family caregivers, nurses’ aides, or home health workers who provide assistance with what are called “activities of daily living” such as bathing, eating, and dressing. Long-term care is not just provided in nursing homes – in fact, the most common type of long-term care is home-based care. Long-term care services may also be provided in a variety of other settings, such as assisted living facilities and adult day care centers. 2. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PLAN FOR LONG-TERM CARE? No one expects to need long-term care, but it’s important to plan for it nonetheless. Here are two important reasons why: The odds of needing long-term care are high: Approximately 70% of people will need long-term care at some point during their lifetimes after reaching age 65* Approximately 8% of people between ages 40 and 50 will have a disability that may require long-term care services* The cost of long-term care can be expensive: For many, the cost of long-term care can be expensive, absorbing income and depleting savings. Some of the average costs in the United States for long-term care* include:
$6,235 per month, or $74,820 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home $6,965 per month, or $83,580 per year for a private room in a nursing home $3,293 per month for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility $21 per hour for a home health aide 3. DOESN’T MEDICARE PAY FOR LONG-TERM CARE?
Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare, the federal health insurance program for older Americans, will pay for long- term care. But Medicare provides only limited coverage for long-term care services such as skilled nursing care or physical therapy. And although Medicare provides some home health care benefits, it doesn’t cover custodial care, the type of care older individuals most often need.
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