Without question, you are feeling the strain of your present situation. Caring for an aging parent is stressful and difficult, and you may see other areas of your life suffering as you devote your time and energy to keeping your parent safe and well. Nevertheless, you may be happy to make the sacrifice because, if you’re honest with yourself, you realize you may not have much more time together.
If your loved one had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance, you are probably grateful, especially if your parent has a debilitating disease and you know you will not have the skills to continue caring for him or her. While the policy may give you some comfort, how much do you know about its limitations and provisions? When your parent needs the benefits of the policy, that is not the time to realize there is inadequate coverage.
What’s in your policy?
Because claiming essential benefits from your loved one’s LTC policy can be difficult and frustrating, you would be wise to have a thorough understanding of the policy and the steps to take to access its funds. For example, you and your parents may have discussed hiring a home health care provider when your parent is no longer able to live independently. If the policy doesn’t cover that option, you may end up with expenses you can’t afford. Some important questions to ask include:
- Is there a daily limit on the benefit?
- What is the lifetime maximum?
- How long does the policy cover your loved one?
- What services qualify for coverage?
- Are home modifications included in the policy?
- What conditions trigger the benefits?
For many policies, benefit triggers occur when your loved one is unable to perform two or more routine tasks without assistance. These may include dressing, eating, bathing or using the bathroom. The answers to the above questions and other considerations will help you and your family decide on the best options for your parent’s care.
You may also want to ensure you have funds set aside in case your loved one’s policy has a lengthy elimination period. This is the amount of time your loved one will receive care before the insurance begins to pick up the tab. For some policies, there is no elimination period, but if your loved one’s policy has a pre-benefit time of 60, 90 or 120 days, your family may accumulate substantial costs.
While you may feel fortunate to have an LTC policy in place, you may find it is beyond your ability or energy to understand. On the other hand, you may have already filed a claim and are dealing with the insurance company’s denial. For assistance in these matters, you may find a compassionate and dedicated advocate in a New Jersey attorney.