What Is Insurance? What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In its broadest definition, insurance is a way to protect against loss or harm from a specified contingency or peril. You might take vitamin C as insurance against a cold. You might take someone with you when you walk down a dangerous street at night to insure against being mugged. And if you are mugged, you might need health insurance to help pay for doctors to put you back together.

There are many kinds of insurance. We are most familiar with insurance that protects our loved ones, our property and our businesses from the expenses of unexpected losses – losses we can’t predict and may not be able to afford. Insurance helps to keep life affordable. You pay a little something now on a regular basis so you won’t have to pay a lot later all at once.

The more likely you are to experience the risk that you seek to insure, the more expensive the insurance to protect against it will be. For example, if you purchase accidental death benefit life insurance for an airline flight, the premium will be very small for a large amount of insurance because, in spite of our fears, commercial air is the safest way to travel. On the other hand, your monthly premium for comprehensive major medical health insurance will be substantial because the certainty that you will incur some type of medical expense during the year is almost 100%, even if just for a routine office visit. Long term care insurance is more like health insurance than life insurance, for there is reasonable certainty that benefits will be paid out under the policy.

Long term care insurance. Long term care coverage is the hottest kind of insurance on the market today. What is “long term care insurance?” What makes it such a hot commodity? What does it do? Why are people buying it? Who is buying it? And who should buy it? We will answer these and other questions as we explore the world of long term care insurance.

What is long term care insurance? As the name suggests, long term care insurance covers some of the expenses of long term care, if and when the need arises. It can also be used as a tool to protect a chunk of retirement assets if disability or illness occurs.

What is long term care? Long term care provides assistance for people who are not physically and/or mentally capable of independent living, of taking care of themselves – people with a lengthy physical illness, a disability or a cognitive impairment, such as loss of memory, orientation, or the ability to reason or exercise judgment as it relates to safety.

Long term care differs from traditional medical care. Long term care helps a person live as he or she is now; it is not intended to improve or correct medical problems.

Long term care services may include help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, transferring in or out of a bed, chair or wheelchair, and using the toilet. This help can be provided in many different ways, for example, in the home, respite care, hospice care, adult day care, nursing home care, continuing care, and assisted living facility care. It may include care management services to evaluate needs and coordinate and monitor the overall delivery of long term care services. Respite care is provided by a third party to relieve family caregivers and give them a break from daily care giving responsibilities.

Long term care is either skilled care or personal (custodial) care.

Skilled care is usually provided by medical personnel, such as licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and licensed professional therapists. This care is ordered by a physician, must follow a plan and is often provided around the clock. Examples include physical therapy, wound care and the administration of an intravenous medication.

Personal (custodial) care is when a care giver helps a person with what are called activities of daily living (ADLs). These include bathing, eating, dressing, toileting and transferring. Transferring is moving into to and out of a bed, chair or wheelchair.

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