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Long-term care (LTC) is a variety of services which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people with a chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods.
It is common for long-term care to provide custodial and non-skilled care, such as assisting with normal daily tasks like dressing, feeding, using the bathroom. Increasingly, long-term care involves providing a level of medical care that requires the expertise of skilled practitioners to address the multiple chronic conditions associated with older populations.
Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living facilities or in nursing homes. Long-term care may be needed by people of any age, although it is a more common need for senior citizens.
Long-term care can be provided formally or informally. Facilities that offer formal LTC services typically provide living accommodation for people who require on-site delivery of around-the-clock supervised care, including professional health services, personal care, and services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping. These facilities may go under various names, such as nursing home, personal care facility, residential continuing care facility, etc. and are operated by different providers.
While the government has been asked with the LTC (Long term care) industry not to bundle health, personal care, and services (e.g., meal, laundry, housekeeping) into large facilities, the US government continues to approve that as the primary use of taxpayers’ funds instead (e.g., new assisted living). Greater success has been achieved in areas such as supported housing which may still utilize older housing complexes or buildings, or may have been part of new federal-state initiatives in the 2000s.
Long-term care provided formally in the home, also known as home health care, can incorporate a wide range of clinical services (e.g. nursing,drug therapy, physical therapy) and other activities such as physical construction (e.g. installing hydraulic lifts, renovating bathrooms and kitchens). These services are usually ordered by a physician or other professional. Depending on the country and nature of the health and social care system, some of the costs of these services may be covered by health insurance or long-term care insurance.
Modernized forms of long term services and supports (LTSS), reimbursable by the government, are user-directed personal services, family-directed options, independent living services, benefits counseling, mental health companion services, family education, and even self-advocacy and employment, among others. In home services can be provided by personnel other than nurses and therapists, who do not install lifts, and belong to the long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems of the US.
Informal long-term home care is care and support provided by family members, friends and other unpaid volunteers. It is estimated that 90% of all home care is provided informally by a loved one without compensation and in 2015, families are seeking compensation from their government for caregiving.
Term life insurance is considered to be the most basic of life insurance that can be purchased. This is because term life offers just pure death benefit protection only, without any cash value builds up within the policy. Because of this, term life insurance is often very affordable – especially for those applicants who are younger and in good health at the time they apply for the coverage.
With term life insurance, coverage is purchased for a certain length of time, such as for ten years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 years – and in some cases, even longer. There is also a 1-year renewable term life insurance option that is offered by many of the best life insurance carriers.
Typically, when purchasing a level term life insurance policy, the amount of the premium will remain the same throughout the period that the policy is in force. Provided that the insured survives throughout the time period of the policy, and he or she wishes to remain covered by life insurance, they will need to re-qualify for a new policy at their then-current age and health status. At that time, the premium on a new life insurance policy may be quite a bit higher. In some cases, a term life insurance policy may have an option to convert the coverage over into a permanent life insurance plan.
Permanent life insurance is different from term insurance because it offers both death benefit protection, as well as a cash value component. It also differs because, as the name suggests, it does not have a time limit like term insurance, but rather is intended to last for the remainder of the insured’s lifetime – provided that the premium is paid. There are many different types of permanent life insurance.
The simplest type of permanent life insurance coverage is whole life. With this type of coverage, the premium amount is locked in and will remain the same throughout the entire lifetime of the policy. This can be helpful for those who need to stick to a budget. It also means that if a person purchases a whole life policy at a very young age, they will still pay the same amount of premium when they get older – regardless of advancing age, or even an adverse health issue.
In some cases, where a person’s pre-existing conditions require the individual to buy high risk life insurance, some graded whole life policies are the only option.
The cash that is in the cash value component of a whole life insurance policy is allowed to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This means that the gain on these funds will not be taxed until or unless they are withdrawn – allowing them to compound exponentially over time.
Another form of permanent coverage is universal life insurance. This type of life insurance also provides a death benefit and a cash value component where the funds are allowed to grow tax-deferred.
Universal life insurance is more flexible than whole life coverage, though. This is because the policyholder is allowed – within certain guidelines – to choose how much of his or her premium dollars will go towards the policy’s death benefit, and how much will go towards the policy’s cash value.
Because universal life is a permanent life insurance policy, the policyholder will have access to their cash value account. So, just as with a whole life plan, the cash can be borrowed or withdrawn for any reason – including paying off debt, supplementing retirement income, or even going on a vacation.
Variable life insurance is also a form of permanent life insurance coverage. These types of life insurance policies offer a death benefit, as well as a cash component. However, with variable life insurance, the policyholder can take part in a variety of different investment options such as equities. This means that their funds have the opportunity to grow a great deal more than the funds in a whole life policy can. It also means that there can be more risk as funds are exposed to the ups and downs of the equities market.
It is important to note that while the policyholder can increase their funds based on market movements, their cash is not invested directly in the market. Rather, it is invested in “sub-accounts” by the insurance company.
With a variable life insurance policy, the death benefit may go up or down – however; it will not go below the set guaranteed amount. This is usually the original amount of death benefit that is purchased at the time of policy application.
With a survivorship life insurance policy, there is more than one person that is covered. These policies can be set up in a couple of different ways. One way is first to die. With this type of policy, the coverage is designed to pay out when the first person passes away. In most instances, the premium that is charged for this type of policy can be higher than for a policy on just one insured. However, it can often be less than purchasing two separate life insurance policies.
There are also joint and survivor, or last to die life insurance policies. With these policies, the coverage pays out when the second person on the coverage passes away. These can either be term or permanent coverage. These policies can also have other advantages, too, in that they typically will cost less than two separate life insurance policies, and they may have less strict underwriting criteria – especially if one of the individuals is in very good health.