Long-term care is really a variety of personal services for people who are unable to care for themselves. These services range from basic help with daily activities at home like bathing or dressing to care in a nursing home or assisted living facility. People need care because of injury or accident, or due to chronic illness/cognitive impairments like Multiple Sclerosis or Alzheimer's Disease. Long-term care services are available in a variety of settings, including custodial or in our own community.
It’s higher than you may think. In fact, more than 26.2 million disabling injuries occur every year. That’s one every 1.2 seconds.1 Many of these people will need long-term care. In addition to accidents, people who have strokes, heart conditions, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses often need some type of long-term care. The need for long-term care knows no age and no gender — a disabling accident or illness can strike anyone, at any time. Approximately 70% of people over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime2, and younger individuals are not immune. More than one third of insureds receiving long-term care benefits are age 65 or younger.
There are two basic settings for receiving long-term care: in a facility or at home. When independent living is no longer an option, facility care may be necessary. Facilities vary by the level of care they offer and the services they provide. They include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice facilities, among others. Custodial or community-based care includes care in your residence provided by a home health agency that sends a qualified home healthcare provider to provide nursing care, personal care, nutritional services, meal preparation or physical therapy. Adult day care is another option. Adult Day Care centers offer a protective setting for those who are unable to stay alone. They are not residential facilities but offer services for up to 12 hours a day.
Some people need round-the-clock monitoring while others only need limited help with personal care or other activities. Nursing homes that are skilled care facilities offer the highest level of care, with skilled professionals available 24 hours a day. Custodial nursing home care, the lowest level of nursing home care, is for those who do not need the continuous attention of trained medical professionals. Intermediate care facilities offer less than skilled care but more than custodial care.
We hope it will be a long time before you ever use your long-term care plan's benefits. The fact is, if you need long-term care services 20 years from the time you apply, costs will probably have increased significantly. Check the Highlights of Your Plan page for more information on your employer's plan.
Nationwide, the average cost of a nursing home is about $8,800 per month, or $290 dollars per day in 2020. This does not include items such as therapies and medications, which could make costs much higher. Also remember that this is just an average — the actual cost may vary widely depending on where you receive care.
Home healthcare can range from a few hours a week to intensive, skilled services from a nurse or other caregiver. Of course, cost depends on the type of long-term care services needed. In 2020, the national average cost of part-time basic home care ranged from $53,000 to $55,000 per year. Skilled care provided by a nurse is more expensive than care provided by a home health aide, and costs will also vary based on the number days per week the caregiver visits.
Medical plans usually provide limited or no coverage for long-term care services. Disability income coverage is really meant to replace lost wages when you can no longer work. Most people need disability income benefits to cover normal living expenses like food and housing; typically, not much remains to pay for someone to care for you. Also, most long-term disability plans end at age 65 or when you retire.