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Short-Term Care vs. Long-Term Care Insurance: How to Choose?

Short-Term Care vs. Long-Term Care Insurance: How to Choose?

Throughout our lives, we’re reminded of the importance of planning ahead for a future we can’t quite picture yet. For example, if you’re in your 50s or 60s now and you put money away for retirement near the start of your career, you’re likely thankful for that wise financial advice you followed years back.

Planning for assisted care that you may need later in life is not so different. According to the most recent data available, most 65-year-olds will eventually need some type of long-term care services or support later in life.1 This could include skilled nursing, assisted living or home health care.

Do you have a plan to pay for this care?

While traditional health insurance or Medicare may cover some assisted care costs in specific situations, they usually won’t provide full coverage. Plus, there are a host of services that aren’t covered at all, such as assistance with routine daily activities like bathing, dressing, or getting in and out of bed.

This leaves many individuals with profound out-of-pocket costs:

  • Consider the median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home: over $100,000 per year.2
  • Or the average cost of home health care after coverage from Medicare: $50,000 per year.3

This is where long-term or short-term care insurance options can step in to help. These specialized insurance products are designed to offer financial support for prolonged care services that fall beyond the reach of regular health insurance. They are usually used in instances of chronic illness or disability, where daily assistance is required for an extended period. These policies offer a layer of protection for your retirement savings and help you pay for a higher quality of care in the setting of your choice, such as at home or in a specialized facility.

What’s the Difference Between Long-Term and Short-Term Care?

Long-Term Care

Long-term care insurance provides coverage for extended periods, ranging from several months to several years or even a lifetime of care. While long-term care is designed for the aging population, who may require more intensive care later in life, it’s usually purchased in your 50s or 60s as part of retirement planning. That’s because insurance companies will often not issue long-term care policies after age 75 or after a debilitating condition is already present.

Additional characteristics of long-term care insurance:

  • Long-term care usually has stringent underwriting and health requirements.
  • It’s typically more expensive than short-term care insurance.
  • A long-term care policy may offer more comprehensive protection of personal assets and a broader range of care services and settings for people with a family history of chronic illness or prolonged care needs.

Short-Term Care

Short-term care insurance is a type of long-term care insurance that provides financial support for those who need temporary assistance with daily living activities but for a shorter period. Coverage usually ranges from a few weeks to one year and provides coverage during recovery of an illness or surgery, rehabilitation, or transitional care from a hospital to home.
Short-term care should not be seen as a substitute for long-term care insurance. People choose it because it can work in tandem with other insurance like Medicare, and it’s an affordable option for those who don’t need or are no longer eligible for long-term care insurance.

Additional characteristics of short-term care:

  • It’s often less costly than long-term care insurance.
  • It offers a simpler underwriting process, making it accessible to more people.
  • There are short or no waiting periods to begin receiving benefits in the event of a claim.

Short-Term Care Options From Platinum

After hearing from many of our customers about overwhelming out-of-pocket costs for necessary assisted care, we went to work designing a short-term care policy with industry-leading benefits.

In the event that you can’t perform at least two of six activities of standard daily living, our Nursing Home and Home Health Care policy* offers significant benefits, such as:

  • Care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, Alzheimer’s facility, adult day care or hospice of your choice.
  • Home health care.
  • Durable medical equipment.
  • Options for spousal coverage.
  • Clear, responsive customer service from a real, knowledgeable person.

This policy pays in addition to Medicare or major medical insurance and can provide benefits for up to a year to help you focus on a full recovery. With a simple application process and the opportunity for immediate cash benefits once your condition qualifies, this short-term care option may be the right fit for you and your peace of mind.

Questions about short-term care? Let us know how we can help.
Our friendly, knowledgeable customer service team is on standby to answer any questions you may have about our Nursing Home and Home Health Care policy. You can also request a quote now or view policy details here.