It is important for people engaged in planning for their senior years to understand the difference in the types of long-term care that are needed or are available.
Most think of long term care as nursing home care. In some instances this is true. This type of care is Skilled Nursing Home Care. It means that the individual is unable to meet and care for certain life activities and skills. This is the type of care that is covered by long term care insurance and once an individual qualifies by Medicaid.
There is, however, often a gap between the elderly individual who is able to reside in his or her home independently and the need for skilled nursing care. This is assisted care. In such a circumstance, the individual moves into an assisted living situation which may be similar to an apartment like setting. Certain of his or her needs are taken care of, however, he or she is relatively independent.
This type of living is NOT covered by insurance. Neither long term care insurance nor Medicaid covers this type of care.
This distinction is very important. It is a circumstance that should be carefully discussed by the entire family when the time comes for planning. If an individual is no longer able to live independently but is not eligible for long term nursing care, where is he or she to live? Most importantly, if the assets and income of the individual are limited, who will pay for this care?
This is a gap that catches many people by surprise and unaware.