Many of today's policies cover short or long-term nursing home stays and a wide range of home care services, such as skilled or non-skilled nursing care, physical therapy, home making, and the services of home health aides provided by state licensed and/or Medicare certified home health agencies. Some policies may also cover adult daycare, respite care for the caregiver, and other specialized or alternative forms of care.
All policies contain limitations and exclusions--otherwise, premiums would become unaffordable. Some exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions for six months. Other policies may not cover certain mental and nervous disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, or an intentionally self-inflicted injury. Many policies will not cover long-term care provided by family members.
Long-term care policies generally limit benefits to a maximum dollar amount or a maximum number of days and may have separate benefit limits for nursing home care and home health care within the same policy. For example, a policy may cover five years of nursing home care and two years of home health care.
Yes. The law allows companies to include a 90-day or 180-day pre-existing clause in the policy. This means you would not receive long-term care benefits during the first six months after your policy was issued for any condition or illness that was diagnosed or that you were treated for during the 90 or 180 days immediately before the effective date of your policy. You would pay for any services related to the pre-existing condition during this period.
There might be situations where canceling an existing policy and buying a new one makes sense. Just remember that your premiums are based on your age at the time of purchase and could be much higher for the new policy. In most cases, any waiting periods for pre-existing conditions with the new replacement policy will be waived, but you should verify this in writing with the new company or agent. None of the premiums you paid for the old policy will give you any benefit. Never drop an old policy before making sure the new one is in force.