IQ expert Dr. Marion Somers: Comprehensive and facility-only insurance for long-term care
Q: What’s the difference between “comprehensive” and “facility care only” plans for long-term care insurance? Does one cost a lot more than the other? Why should I choose one over the other?
A: A comprehensive policy means that benefits will be paid for services whether they are delivered in a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospice facility or adult day care center, or at home.
|Dr. Marion Somers:
In the Long Term
|Dr. Marion Somers is the author of “Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One.”|
This type of policy is ideal for people who would like to keep their options open and be able to receive long-term care in a variety of possible settings. It accommodates changing needs you might have throughout the delivery of long-term care. This flexibility, however, makes the comprehensive plan the most expensive option.
Facility-care-only plans cover care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, but do not cover care at home or in the community. They also might include hospice care, as long as that care is provided in a licensed facility. Facility-care-only policies cost less than comprehensive policies. This is a good choice if you know that you will not need or want in-home care.
Keep in mind that there are “home health care only” plans available from some carriers. These plans cover services at home, as well as community programs such as adult day care, but do not cover long-term care in a facility. In general, home-care-only policies are substantially cheaper than either facility-care-only or comprehensive policies. In this case, you are paying only for care, not room and board, so the costs are lower.
It may seem like choosing the appropriate type of policy is a difficult decision to make. How do you know what type of care setting you will need? Who can predict what will happen?
I would advise choosing whatever makes you the most comfortable, in a range you can afford. If you would like to have coverage for any possible setting and have a fair amount of money set aside for long-term care insurance, the comprehensive plan is your best option.
If your funds are not as substantial, another possibility is to see whether any facility-care-only plans have an option to add a rider for home care. This might end up being less expensive than the comprehensive plan, but it still will expand your setting options.
If your funds are low, a home-care-only plan will be your most affordable option, but remember that if you need facility care in the future, you will not be covered for that care.
There’s a lot to consider here, so you might want to consult a long-term care insurance specialist, a financial adviser or an elder care attorney to help determine the right type of policy for you.
Dr. Marion Somers, Ph.D., has more than 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager and caregiver, and as an author, speaker and teacher regarding elder care and other elder issues. With the senior generation living longer than ever before, Dr. Marion believes we are on the verge of an “elder care tsunami.” After decades of working directly with seniors and their caregivers, Dr. Marion launched a public effort to provide practical tools, solutions and advice to those struggling with caring for our aging population. She is the author of “Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One” and creator of two iPhone apps: Elder411 and Elder911.
For more information, visit www.drmarion.com.
If you have a long-term care insurance question for Dr. Marion Somers, please send it to email@example.com.