When the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance surveyed more than 313 million people, only about eight million had long-term-care insurance.  And, it’s estimated that 11 million adults need some form of long-term care every year.  With about 78 million baby boomers reaching retirement age, the need for this type of care is expected to soar.  That’s a big problem because we haven’t planned for it.  The first step toward being prepared is understanding what such care costs and how the insurance works.
What does long-term care cost?
You might need medical or non-medical care, like help with bathing, cooking, etc., for a long time due to a disability or chronic illness.   Most people do need at least temporary help after they reach age 65.  When possible, we prefer to stay in our own home and have care provided there.  But, an hour of that kind of help can run as much as $20, and neither Medicare nor Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) pays for this type of custodial care.
What is long-term-care insurance?
These policies do cover services that help with daily needs over an extended period.  That kind of help can be critical in cases of dementia or limited mobility.  Long-term-care policies may vary, though.  They may help with everything from basic assistance with bathing and dressing to the services of a nurse or therapist for months or years.
Can a long-term-care policy help keep you at home?
Such policies may cover the cost of care in your home, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.  Most policies impose a waiting period, such as 90 or 120 days before you have coverage, though.
How much does long-term-care insurance cost?
There’s a big difference in the cost depending on your age when you purchase a plan, how much protection for inflation is built into the policy to keep up with rising prices, and the plan’s daily benefit.  Plans may pay $100, $150 or $200 per day for this kind of care.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.