Watch CBS News

5 surprising long-term care insurance benefits you should know

Senior home healthcare concept
The right long-term care insurance policy could offer a lot more than just coverage for nursing home care and home health aides.  Getty Images

The likelihood that we'll need some form of long-term care increases significantly as we age. But while the majority of adults over age 65 will need long-term care at some point, the costs of that type of care can be very high. For example, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home is expected to be over $120,000 per year in 2024, according to Genworth's Cost of Care Survey. And, home health aide services to allow aging in place are expected to average over $77,000 annually this year. 

Those types of hefty long-term care expenses can be difficult to cover out of pocket, especially if you're on a limited income during retirement. And, the cost of long-term care is only expected to increase in the years ahead, so it's important to take steps now to prepare for the potential costs. 

One option you have is investing in a long-term care insurance policy, which can help cut down on the long-term care expenses you may face in the future. And, many people are surprised to learn that these policies actually provide a suite of additional benefits beyond the primary nursing home and home care coverages.

Find out more about your top long-term care insurance options online today.

5 surprising long-term care insurance benefits you should know

The following benefits offered by long-term care insurance may surprise you:

Care planning services 

Being thrust into a situation where you or a loved one needs long-term care is emotionally challenging and can be incredibly confusing to navigate. And that's where the care planning services offered by many long-term care insurers can be invaluable. 

These professionals do more than simply make sure you are aware of what your policy covers. They take a comprehensive approach to evaluating your individual needs and situation and develop a plan to ensure you get the right level of care and leverage all applicable benefits. Having an expert counselor and advocate in your corner provides exceptional peace of mind during a difficult transition.

Compare your best long-term care insurance options now.

Home modification benefits 

As we age, our homes often need to be modified with accessibility features to allow for safe, comfortable aging in place. This can include ramps, grab bars, walk-in showers, stair lifts and more. And, the cost of making a home accessible can easily surpass by thousands of dollars, making it difficult for many people to afford these modifications out of pocket. 

But the good news is that many long-term care insurance policies provide benefits for these types of modifications if they are deemed medically necessary based on your condition. Some policies will even cover the full cost. Having this help to make your home safe, accessible and accommodating of future needs can be a huge benefit of purchasing a long-term care insurance policy.

Caregiver training 

Family members will often take on the role of unpaid caregiver for a loved one, but doing so can be a demanding job that they often have no training for. And, caregiving duties like transferring patients, managing medication and providing personal care require specialized skills. 

That's where long-term care insurance can help. Certain policies will cover training courses to teach informal caregivers these crucial skills. This training helps caregivers avoid injury, burnout and provide better care overall. And, given that the value of unpaid caregiving in the U.S. exceeded $600 billion annually in 2021, maximizing the quality of that care is hugely important.

Respite care

Family caregivers can suffer from burnout, depression and health issues due to the physical and mental toll of caregiving. In these cases, respite care benefits can be a lifeline, providing temporary relief by paying for experienced replacement caregivers to take over duties for a period of time. This allows primary caregivers a chance to rest, recharge their batteries or simply take a break. 

Having this support can make the long-term caregiving situation much more sustainable and manageable. And, since many long-term care insurance policies offer help with respite care, the right coverage could be beneficial if you plan to utilize family caregivers for your long-term care needs.

Care coordination outside the home 

Long-term care insurance doesn't just apply to nursing homes or in-home care scenarios. Many policies will also cover adult day care services, providing a supervised, protective environment for older adults during daytime hours. This includes meals, activities, health monitoring and more. 

For families where caregivers work during the day or simply need a temporary break, adult day care can be an affordable option with long-term care insurance picking up some or all of the cost. This allows loved ones to remain home but get care and enrichment during the times when family can't be there.

The bottom line

While the primary purpose of long-term care insurance is to cover major nursing home or home care expenses, the supplemental benefits outlined above should not be overlooked. Taking advantage of care planning, home modifications, caregiver training, respite care support and adult day care services can significantly improve the quality of life for aging loved ones and their caregivers. 

The key to maximizing your benefits, though, is to read your policy details thoroughly and properly utilize every covered service available to you based on your unique situation. Don't let valuable coverages go to waste simply because you were unaware they existed. With long-term care already consuming a significant portion of many families' savings and income, leveraging all the benefits and support services your insurance provides is essential to easing the financial burden of aging care needs.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.