No one wants to believe that some day they will need help with everyday tasks. But the truth is, at some point, many of us will need some form of senior care. A reported 76% of Americans want to age at home, according to a recent AARP survey, and they will require support and assistance from loved ones and professionals to do so safely and comfortably. In cases where family members are unable to help, families may consider hiring a senior caregiver to provide companionship and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
That professional providing custodial care may be among a group of caregivers employed by a home care agency (agency-directed care) or may be a privately employed caregiver who will be there day-in and day-out and work directly for the patient/family (consumer-directed care). Since care is typically the largest expense item for many seniors, many financial experts recommend considering a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy to help pay for the cost of care.
What is long-term care insurance?
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps pay for expenses related to the care of an elderly individual. According to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, more than 8 million Americans have a long-term care insurance policy. Different carriers provide different amounts and types of coverage, so look closely at the details before purchasing any policy. In general, purchasing a policy when you’re younger is less expensive than buying when you’re older. There are also some life insurance products that allow some of the death benefit to be converted into long-term care coverage.
How do you qualify for benefits?
Again, this can vary by policy, but generally when a person is unable to perform a certain amount of basic daily tasks, a long-term care insurance policy can begin paying out benefits so the person can have someone in their home to assist with these tasks. Some of these activities of daily living (ADLs) can include bathing, dressing, eating, lifting, using the restroom and walking. Some policies can begin paying benefits if you are diagnosed with a cognitive condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.
You’ll find that some older policies have provisions that require care be facilitated by a staffing agency. However, in recent years, we at HomePay have seen a significant trend toward also allowing the family to hire a caregiver privately on their own because it can be more cost-effective. Additionally, some families prefer this option for cognitive-decline cases because of the need for care continuity and stability of having the same familiar caregiver every day. However, LTC carriers are worried about fraud so they require any form of in-home care to be carefully documented and the employment to be handled in a professional and compliant manner.
Our HomePay service was built to support families who opt to hire a caregiver or small team of caregivers (sometimes called consumer-directed care). If you’re paying out of pocket or have a long-term care policy, our team can provide payroll documentation and tax calculations to assist in reimbursements and free up valuable time on your end.
If you have any questions about purchasing a long-term care insurance policy or making a claim with a privately hired caregiver, don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here to help!