If you’re concerned about medical expenses beyond what Medicare covers, short term care insurance can be the answer. Medicare is limited in what it covers and how long that coverage lasts.
If you’ve shopped for traditional long term care plans, you know they can be very expensive. Additionally, LTCi premiums can increase dramatically each year. Short term care policies offer an affordable solution for those who want to protect their families and estates.
Short term care policies are designed to cover traditional long term expenses, but for a shorter period of time. Like long term plans, they cover all types of care in all settings. You will be covered in your home, assisted living facility, rehab or nursing home . Skilled, intermediate and custodial care are all covered without restriction.
Plans will cover up to 360 days of care, but shorter terms are available as well. Daily maximums will range from $100-$300 in $10 increments. Elimination (waiting) periods are usually shorter with these policies with many providing benefits after just 30 days or less.
Household discounts are offered in most states when two ore more people sharing the same residence apply and are accepted. And just like long term care policies, popular features like inflation protection, bed reservation days and restoration of benefits are offered as well. All plans are “guaranteed renewable” and cannot be cancelled by the insurance company unless premiums are not paid.
The short answer is: No. Medicare (when coupled with a Medicare supplement) pays for the first 100 days of skilled care only. After 100 days, Medicare stops paying and you are responsible for the costs. Medicare does not cover custodial (most common type) or intermediate care.
Skilled care must be administered by a RN, LPN or doctor. It’s a narrow range of care. Most people need custodial and/or intermediate care which Medicare does not cover at all. And what if you are deemed to be, “Under Observation?” Medicare does not cover that either. The point is you don’t want to rely on Medicare to cover long term care expenses beyond 100 days. And unless skilled care has been prescribed, you may not be covered at all.
It’s also important to understand that Medicare supplements and Advantage plans follow the rules above. You should not rely on these policies for an extended long term care stay either. They only fill (or replace) the gaps in Medicare, but will not provide any benefits beyond what Medicare covers.
What about Medicaid? It only picks up the tab after you’ve spent your assets down to very low levels. This program will also put a lean against any remaining assets after passing – like the home residence, etc. In short, you cannot rely on Medicare or Medicaid to cover all of your LTC expenses.
The primary advantage is cost. Traditional long term care as well as hybrid LTC insurance plans can be very expensive. These plans require either significant yearly premiums or large one-time outlays. Conversely, short term care is much less expensive and premiums are usually much more stable. Shorter recovery care plans protect finances while providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. They also help you to maintain your independence.
The disadvantage is time. Approximately 7 out of 10 people over age 65 will need some type of care in their lifetime. It’s impossible to know if care will be needed for just a few months or several years. Shorter term policies won’t cover multiple years, but they do buy time and that can be very helpful for families who are taking care of loved ones.
We are a full-service, independent insurance brokerage specializing in Medicare and long term care plans. We can help you find the policies that best suit your needs and budget. Planning for extended care is an important part of a sound estate strategy. We can help account for short and/or intermediate care needs to bridge the gaps in Medicare.