What is Long-term Care Insurance?

Senior couple enjoys dancing outside with long-term care insurance

You might reach a time in your life when you’re unable to do all the things you used to be able to do. As we age, it can be harder to complete chores and other daily tasks that we’re used to doing on our own. Long-term care refers to the help you may need later in life with daily tasks that have become harder for you to do. Even if you’re not considering an assisted living facility or retirement home, you might want to hire some help for daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, or even shopping for groceries.

How much does long-term care cost?

Everyone’s situation is different. But, on average, a month at a nursing home costs $6,844, and hiring a health aide for 5 days a week can add up to $42,640 a year.1 Long-term care insurance can help to offset the costs associated with getting the support you need.

You’ll pay premiums now to receive this coverage later in your life. There isn’t a set cost for long-term care insurance, but your premiums depend on a few factors, like:

  • How old you are when you buy the plan
  • The maximum amount your plan will cover
  • Any additional benefits you may want to add to your plan

Keep in mind that premium costs may change over time and are in addition to any pre-existing health care costs or premiums you pay now.

If you have plenty of retirement savings to cover you if you need an in-home nurse later in life, or if you have plans to rely on a loved one to take care of you when you need it most. If this is the case, purchasing long-term care insurance may not be worth it for you.

Accessing your benefits

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are conditions you must meet to access your insurance benefits.

  • You’ll need certification from a doctor that you’re chronically ill and need a plan for long- term care services.
  • There’s also a set amount of time of which your policy will provide long-term care coverage.

Make sure to do your research into which policy and provider is right for you.

Can you get long-term care support from the government?

Some government programs can help with financial assistance for long-term care under certain circumstances.

  • Medicare: Medicare may cover some of your costs if you’re enrolled and eligible. Through Medicare, long-term care deemed rehabilitative or requiring skilled service is covered for up to 100 days.1
  • Medicaid: Medicaid may also cover some of your long-term care costs if you meet income and eligibility requirements. Find out more by calling your state Medicaid office. If you do use Medicaid to help with your out-of-pocket costs, confirm with the nursing home that they accept this type of financial aid.
  • Social Security: You can also use your Social Security benefits to help cover monthly nursing home expenses.2 The average monthly benefit from Social Security is $1,294.3

How can you determine your long-term care needs?

How do you know if long-term care is something you’ll want to include in your health care plans? Research your coverage options alongside what your long-term care insurance needs will be. That way, as you look for plans or providers, you know you’re covering your unique circumstances as best you can. If you need help or have questions, call us for help determining what your next steps could be.


1 LongTermCare.gov (October 10, 2017). Web page: Costs of Care. Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://longtermcare.acl.gov/costs-how-to-pay/costs-of-care.html
2 SkilledNursingFacitilies.org (No Date). Web page: Will Social Security Cover Nursing Home Costs? Retrieved on June 25, 2018, from https://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/resources/will-social-security-cover-nursing-home-costs/
3 USAToday.com (May 29,2018) Web page: What does average American get from Social Security? Depends on the benefit Retrieved on Aug. 8, 2018 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2018/05/29/what-average-american-gets-from-social-security/35436219/