Stephanie Dwilson

Controlling Costs: Long-Term and In-Home Care

Long-term care insurance can be a great way to keep health services affordable. Plus, with in-home care, patients pay only for the level of care they need, helping them control their costs. And allowing people to stay at home promotes comfort and dignity.

Here’s what you need to know about long-term care coverage, in-home care and the related costs.

Breaking Down the Costs of Long-Term Care

The costs of in-home long-term care may be lower than you expect. In 2017, according to Genworth, the national median monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $3,750, while a semiprivate room in a nursing home costs $7,148 and a private room costs $8,121.

While at $4,099 a month, hiring a home health aide doesn’t look like the absolute cheapest option, it may turn out to be the most appropriate and affordable. Broken down daily, a home health aide costs only $135 on average.

Keep in mind that the exact costs are likely to vary by region and the amount of care needed.

Planning for Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a great way to help your employees plan ahead for in-home care and save on expenses. But it’s best to get this insurance sooner rather than later, since it will cost less if your employees purchase it while they’re still healthy. In fact, the average age for purchasing long-term care insurance is 57, according to AARP.

If your employees are older, this doesn’t mean it’s too late for them to get long-term care insurance, though premiums may be higher. If they have significant savings already, they might only need a smaller long-term care plan with a reduced daily benefit, just to fill in the gaps.

Whether your employees are considering long-term care insurance through your plan or independently, encourage them to understand all the details before making a choice. Some plans require a waiting period where employees must cover the costs of care themselves before benefits kick in. Some plans have a lifetime maximum, only cover certain kinds of care and/or exclude certain preexisting conditions. Other plans may require a note from a doctor or a review by the company’s insurance board before in-home care is approved.

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Exploring In-Home Care Options

If you or your employees are interested in learning about in-home care options in your region, there are multiple resources you can check out to find more details. Go to ElderCare.gov to learn about the in-home care services in your area, for example, or visit BenefitsCheckUp to locate other benefits that your employees may qualify to receive, further helping with costs.

As you can see, the costs of long-term in-home care don’t have to be insurmountable. In fact, with long-term care insurance and other options, caring for an aging loved one at home may be less expensive than care-home costs. And it’s hard to put a price on the well-being that comes with maintaining independence in familiar surroundings.

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