Long-term care insurance should be explored | Senior Living
Elderly people, especially those with pre-existing conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, will often need to be taken care of by family members or other caretakers. But paying for this out of pocket is typically expensive, and long-term care insurance can be over $5,000 per year. What options are there for people who want in-home care for a loved one?
Ronald Fleeter, president of The Benefit Source, Inc. in Beachwood, and Lynne Giacobbe, CEO of Kendal At Home in Westlake, said the cost of these things, and whether it is covered by insurance, is dependent on what the ailments are that the person is dealing with.
For those on Medicare, it only covers what they call “skilled care,” Fleeter said. “It has to be following like an illness they’re recovering from. It doesn’t cover custodial care. So, like if somebody has dementia and they need to be cared for at home, it’s not going to cover anything. They have to have nursing home insurance for that, or long term care insurance for that.
“The most important thing I can say about it is it has to be somebody who’s recovering from something that they’re expected to improve or Medicare will not cover it. With regards to people that are under Medicare, it’s gonna be the same situation. It has to be a medical situation where they’re recovering rather than custodial care.”
Giacobbe said one of the priorities of the Biden administration right now is senior health, with a particular focus on home and community based services. as a part of that. One of these plans being promoted is the American Rescue Plan, which is focused on these services for older adults. This can include compensation for meals, family of the elderly individuals and fellow caregivers. The majority of care that older adults need is not covered by any insurance currently.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’m always amazed that we spend so much time planning for retirement and thinking about that, but the one thing that’s really hard for people to plan for and give thought to is how they’ll pay for their future care,” Giacobbe said. “By and large, I think we think that insurance will cover that and that it will be covered under Medicare. But the majority of care that people need in their homes are rarely covered by insurance.”
Kendal At Home is a program that people put in place in advance of needing care. People stay at home and are taken care of by caretakers. Giacobbe said the typical member joins Kendall At Home when they’re healthy and independent.
Giacobbe added many of the people that they work with see the importance of this kind of program because they’ve experienced it personally.
“I’ve had a client too who came to me who had actually encouraged his parents to join,” Giacobbe said. “He came to me and said, ‘You know, when I watched my parents care for their parents for over 10 years as I was growing up, I saw the impact it had on them, and our family. And as much as I love my parents and I want to be there to help them, I know that I won’t have the ability to provide their care and that way when they need it.’”
When a person joins this program, they pay an entry fee, followed by a monthly fee. Kendal At Home will be responsible for paying for their care.
“It’s a unique product,” Giacobbe said. “There aren’t a lot of programs like this across the country. Probably 30 to 35 in existence today. When we started out, we were one of the first five. It’s been a concept that has grown slowly over the years. But, we’re seeing a lot of focus on home- and community-based service components now.”