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    Do you ever wonder -- or worry -- about who is going to look after you when you’re older and need help? Or how you will pay for care if you need it? One way to make sure you can get the support you want and need is to buy long-term care insurance.

    Long-term care insurance covers services that can help you live life as normally as possible as you age. For instance, you might need help getting out of the shower or buttoning your shirt. Long-term care policies are different from health insurance, which covers treatment for specific medical problems. Not being able to button your shirt isn’t considered a medical problem.

    You might assume that Medicare will cover the increased care you need as you age. But this is not the case. Medicare covers very little nursing home care and only in specific situations. It doesn’t pay for assistance with the basic things you do every day, and this is the type of long-term care that most people need.

    Medicaid pays for nursing home care but only for people with a low-income who have little or no assets. If you have savings or other assets, you’ll probably need to spend most or all of your money before Medicaid starts to pay for long-term care.

    People usually consider long-term care insurance for two main reasons:

    • They don’t want to spend their savings and assets on care.
    • They don’t want to rely on children or loved ones to take care of them.

     

    How Does It Work?

    When you buy a policy, you decide the maximum daily cash amount that you would like to receive -- up to a limit set by the insurance company -- when the time comes to claim it.

    You can usually claim your insurance when one of the following happens:

    • You need some type of help with at least two of the activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, using the toilet, or moving from one place to another, for example, from a wheelchair to your bed.
    • You have a decline in your thinking abilities, whether from an accident or a disease such as Alzheimer’s.