With the Obama administration’s recent decision to halt the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, the issue of long-term care is more important than ever. CLASS provided basic long-term care insurance at an affordable cost.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of individuals age 65 and older will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetimes. Women are more at risk than men, with 79 percent of women turning 65 and needing some long-term care.
Most people do not understand why long term care insurance is needed and only a small percentage has purchased coverage. They do not see long term care as something to plan for in advance. Either they deny that they will need long-term care or they believe, incorrectly, that Social Security, Medicare, or their existing health insurance will cover the costs.
Medical vs. Nonmedical LTC
Long-term care encompasses many levels of assistance and support. These include both medical and nonmedical care. Though long-term care may include advanced medical care, it often consists simply of hands-on assistance by others.
Medical long-term care might include medical support services for people with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, or Alzheimer's disease. Nonmedical long-term care is designed to assist people with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, and similar activities. Therefore, long-term care services can vary from helping a 50-year-old stroke victim relearn grooming skills to providing 24-hour skilled nursing care for a 90-year old suffering kidney failure.
In other words, long-term care
helps to meet both health and personal needs. Whenever a chronic condition, trauma, or illness limits an individual’s ability to carry out basic tasks of self care, long-term care is necessary.