The pandemic’s effect on seniors has brought renewed attention to long-term care insurance — and aging at home.
When policies first became widely available in the late 1970s, it was primarily used to help pay the costs of nursing homes. That has changed.
Almost any policy sold now will have a pool of benefits that help pay for home care, a nursing home, assisted care, a memory unit or something similar, said Barbara Franklin, founder of Franklin & Associates, long-term care insurance brokers.
You can typically collect long-term care insurance — and stop paying your premiums — once you have a recognized cognitive impairment or can’t do two of six “activities of daily living,” such as bathing or dressing.
The nature of your benefits will depend on your contract, but here are a few provisions to look for in a long-term care policy with an eye toward aging at home.
Does the policy pay for informal caregiving? Many policies won’t pay for caregivers unless they come through licensed agencies, which often require you to pay for a minimum of three to four hours of care a day, Franklin said.
But some policies cover nonlicensed caregivers, such as family and friends, and in some cases nurses who offer in-home caregiving, said Vince Bodnar, a partner at Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm.