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Get the Most from Your Long-Term Care Insurance


Here's how to get the most from your long-term care insurance.

As a Life Care Planning Law Firm, Kimbrough Law helps our clients find, get, and pay for the care they need. This involves identifying all the possible payment sources for care and, for many of our clients, one of those payment sources is their long-term care insurance policies. 


How do we help? The process starts by gathering documentation. After a client has engaged the firm, we will ask the client to give us copies of all their long-term care insurance policies. If family caregivers are the ones digging up the policy documentation, they are often surprised to learn that their loved one has a long-term care policy. 


Once we have the policy, we sit with the client or family member as they contact the insurance company and ask for the most updated policy documents. During that phone call if there are any questions about eligibility, elimination periods, claim filing processes, or benefit levels, we get clarification and updates while on the call.


When we know what their long-term care policies pay and how they work, the next step is to match the benefits with the client’s need. One of the most important ways we help people get the most from their long-term care insurance involves making sure they’re accessing benefits to pay for what they need. In many cases, caregivers don’t realize that their loved one has long-term care insurance that might pick up some of the costs. Or, if they know about the insurance, they make assumptions about what’s covered and don’t investigate. It’s not surprising. The legal language is often very intimidating. Most people get a page or two in and give up.


That’s a mistake that people make far too often. 


In the last few months, two of my clients had long-term care policies that would pay for ramps to access their homes. My clients didn’t realize this, so they paid for the ramps themselves. In another case, I just discovered that one of my clients has been paying around $300 a month out of pocket for medical supplies that her long-term care insurance would cover. This has been going on for about eight months. The family caregivers didn’t realize that the long-term care policy would help offset a portion of the cost. 


If you’ve been paying into a long-term care insurance policy for years or even decades, it just makes sense to use that benefit to pay for these things.


Why do so many people leave so many long-term care benefits on the table? I have a few theories. One is that the caregivers are consumed with the day-to-day demands of care. Digging into the details of a long-term care insurance policy is the least of their worries. 


Another theory involves the way long-term care policies are pitched to buyers. I think that long-term care policies are sold as something to use when you’re nearing the end of life. You’re frail, you’re bedbound, you can’t live at home anymore. People are often surprised to learn that most long-term care policies offer benefits far earlier in the long-term care journey, and many have specific provisions designed to help you age at home. In fact, some policies will help pay for medical supplies if they will make it possible to avoid institutional care. Some will help pay for home renovations if they will help keep you at home. 


This is one of the few instances where the interests of the insurance company (to pay the lowest amount in claims) and the interests of the policy holder (to stay at home as long as possible) are in alignment.


If you have a long-term care policy (or someone you love has one) the time to start asking questions about policy requirements, coverage, benefits, or claims is immediately after any event that could mark the beginning of the long-term care journey. It could be an accident, an illness, a diagnosis, or an injury. That’s also the best time to visit Kimbrough Law to learn how the support we offer can help guarantee that you’re getting the most from any long-term care insurance policies that may apply. We will serve as your navigator, your guide, and your support system every step of the way. Just give us a call at 706.850.6910.

 

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