Strokes aren’t what people put at the forefront of their thoughts until they or a loved one suffers from one. A severe stroke can devastate the victim’s quality of life and leave them with long-term disabilities, including brain damage and restricted mobility.
This sudden, destructive, life-changing event has no respect for your general health status and can take even the most active individual from nearly any age group. The complications from stroke can force the victim into a long-term care situation.
However, the risk of stroke is not a common concern for younger people, and various other illnesses take center stage in the elderly community, so many people don’t know how to handle the aftermath of an acute stroke very well.
If that sounds like you, and you want to approach this situation as effectively as possible if the time ever comes, here’s a guide to help you learn how strokes can trigger long-term care requirements, the types of long-term care insurance cover to help with recovery, and of course, the steps you should take to get the right insurance policy in case anything ever happens.
What is a Stroke?
Strokes happen in an instant, and they’re often unpredictable. They can cause some RELATIVELY minor symptoms such as a lack of muscle control on one side of the face or body, or the symptoms can be as serious as permanent brain injury or near-instantaneous death. This broad range of symptoms can make having a stroke a horrifying experience. So, what causes them?
Strokes are blockages of blood (blood clot) in the brain. As your blood carries oxygen throughout the brain, vessels may become blocked or partially clogged and reduce how much oxygen your brain can get.
That lack of oxygen begins killing your brain cells rapidly, and the damage caused can vary depending on where the blockage occurs and how long you go without treatment.
This is why medical professionals recommend immediate medical treatment whenever a stroke is suspected ((1)).
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of services. Usually, you probably think of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities when you think of long-term care services, but there are actually several other forms of support that don’t require institutional long-term care.
How are Strokes and Long-Term Care Connected?
As you know, strokes are devastating; even when they’re milder than usual, they can cause serious health issues.
This connects to long-term care well because, even if the stroke outcome doesn’t kill or severely disable you, long-term care will likely be required as you try to recover or for the rest of your life. Luckily, long-term care insurance can cover many, if not all, of the forms of long-term care you might need, depending on the stroke severity.
Compared to many other forms of insurance, long-term care insurance is a highly flexible preparation plan without sacrificing coverage you might need specifically for the aftermath of a stroke.
What Long-Term Care Might Be Necessary After a Stroke?
Since strokes can have wildly varying long-term effects on different individuals, the type of care required to handle the aftermath and recovery of a stroke varies dramatically.
Here are some of the types of stroke recovery care you might require if you are a stroke victim.
Nursing Home Care:
It is common for more severe strokes to leave someone debilitated enough that constant medical care is required along with basic help such as meal prep, bathing, and other daily tasks. When this happens, long-term nursing home care in an inpatient facility is likely the best course of action to ensure proper attention is provided at all times.
At-Home Nursing and Housekeeping:
A proportion of stroke survivors won’t need immediate skilled nursing facility placement, but it may still be bad enough that you can’t handle some daily living tasks and might need help with basic medical needs.
In that case, rather than inpatient care at some type of residential home, it may be more suitable to have home-based rehabilitation with at-home nursing care and a professional homemaker service to help you with the things you can’t do on your own. These are separate services, and you can pick one or both depending on your specific needs.
This is almost identical to the at-home nursing and homemaker services mentioned previously, but instead of hiring a service to send professionals out, a willing family member or close friend can opt to take training courses, become registered, and take care of you.
The good part about this route is that, not only is the person caring for you and helping with your stroke management someone you already know and trust very well, but they can get paid just like they would for any other job after they’ve completed their training and notified the state.
If you do end up getting help from family and friends for at-home care, understand that that is a very stressful burden they are taking on for you, and they are making a lot of sacrifices to ensure you get the care you need without entering a facility or relying on strangers.
To help ease that burden, there are respite services. Respite services pay a trained nurse to take over your daily caretaking needs for a while so your friends and family can focus on their own lives.
This is crucial for not only ensuring that they don’t sacrifice too much of their own lives to care for you, but also to maintain your relationship with them without the caretaking creating friction.
Adult Day Care:
Adult daycare is a form of outpatient care. Instead of having someone come to your house or living in a nursing home, you combine the benefits of those and go to a facility for a few hours of therapy on scheduled days of the week.
At adult daycare, you can expect to receive necessary therapy treatment, socialize, and focus on recovery-oriented tasks. When you’re done, you go back home.
This is great if you’re expected to heal but require extensive long-term stroke rehabilitation to relearn lost motor skills or need some help, but you don’t really require 24/7 care. There’s also the social factor of getting out and meeting others.
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Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance for Stroke Patients
All of the things mentioned so far are solvable with long-term care insurance. However, there are some things you need to know about long-term care insurance before you implement it into your policy portfolio.
Do You Purchase It Before or After a Stroke?
Long-term care insurance is not protected under The Affordable Care Act ((2)). This means that you can be denied for pre-existing conditions, and that includes the after-effects of a stroke.
This is unfortunate because it means that, if you suffer a stroke and require long-term care coverage, you’re highly unlikely to be accepted by an insurance provider, and you will likely have to rely on government programs that require you to be impoverished before they’ll help.
This is why it is 100% better to purchase a long-term care policy when you’re healthy and don’t show many risks for serious conditions that require care.
When do You Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?
Besides buying before you need it, it’s best to start looking for long-term care insurance at age 55 unless you have other concerns that drive you to buy it sooner ((3)).
This is because, the younger you are when you buy it, the cheaper it is. However, around your early fifties, you’re still likely to be fairly healthy, but health issues such as strokes, heart attacks, and cancer often start developing most often when you near your sixties. Around the age of 55 is the perfect balance of buying “young” to get good rates, but not wasting a ton of money paying for insurance you probably won’t need for 40 years like if a 20-year-old purchased it.
However, if you are at a high risk of having strokes earlier than average, it might be worthwhile to go ahead and by a policy several years before most people would.
How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
Long-term care insurance is not cheap. You have to remember that the services long-term care insurance provides are highly expensive, and they tend to be services that people rely on for quite a long time. So, your premiums will reflect that.
If you’re 55, healthy, and male, you can expect to pay around $1700 per year. Although, it can be cheaper if you’re younger ((4)).
What Benefits Does Long-Term Care Insurance Provide?
Everything listed in the potential care section of the guide is covered by long-term care insurance. That, and there are a couple of other forms of care. Namely, you can get bed reservation coverage. If your stroke is unfortunately so severe you need to enter a nursing home, but you end up needing to leave the nursing home for medical care or something else, you won’t lose your bed. The insurance will pay for it to remain reserved.
This also goes for assisted living facilities; which you may rely on if you’re not disabled enough to need a nursing home, but can’t find anyone to provide basic 24/7 care at home.
How Long Do Long-Term Care Benefits Last?
This is determined by the policy you buy. At one point, most people just purchased a lifetime policy to ensure they weren’t left with nothing to pay for their medical care. However, that has changed in recent years. Now, a 3-5-year policy is the most popular. It’s good to know benefits of insurance.
That may seem like an incredibly short time period for long-term care, but you have to take a few factors into account.
Many people who receive these benefits at a younger age are capable of recovering with a few years of proper treatment, and unfortunately, many of the elderly people who use these benefits don’t expect to live much longer than the 3-5 years of treatment they pay for.
Add that to the premium savings they get for taking less coverage, and it makes sense. However, if you have a disability or something that can put you in a long-term care situation earlier and for much longer, life-long benefits might be the better option. It’s all about weighing the pros and cons for the best deal possible ((5)).
Can an LTC Claim be Denied After I have a Policy?
Unfortunately, there are many ways for an LTC insurance claim to be denied, and you’ll be prevented from getting benefits regardless of how long you’ve maintained your policy. During your 90-day waiting period, the insurer will look for omitted pre-existing conditions and risk factors, a lack of medical history records, missed premiums, and various other things they can use to deny your claim. They may also ask for duplicative information, superfluous information, or irrelevant paperwork to buy themselves more time or make you miss your deadlines; failing the claim process ((6)).
For this reason, it’s important to be very transparent and forthcoming during your application, provide every bit of paperwork you possibly can, and overall try not to give them reasons to deny your claim.
Purchasing the Right Policy to Save You After a Stroke or Other Long-Term Health Crisis
As you can see, there are standard purchasing behaviors made with LTC insurance. However, people aren’t standard. You have your own unique health and financial concerns, your own risks, and everything else that is different from others. It’s important to assess your unique situation and purchase your insurance policy according to your needs, alone.
Unfortunately, that can be extremely difficult to do on your own. Insurance agents are difficult to deal with, and there are so many options on the market that you can easily make the wrong choice and not know it until it’s too late.
This is why you need a professional insurance consultant service such as Policy Solver.
At Policy Solver, experienced staff of insurance professionals will assess your situation and needs with hands-on-communication, and then use their network of the top insurance providers to find you an affordable policy with all the coverage you need; no need for complicated research or worrying about getting the wrong plan.
If you need long-term care insurance to protect you in the event of a stroke, contact Policy Solver and see how they can help.
1: Taken from Mayo Clinic, 03/14/2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20350113
2: Taken from Merlin Law Group, 03/14/2022, https://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2014/01/articles/insurance/longterm-care-insurance-the-preexisting-condition-dilemma/
3: Taken from New Hampshire Magazine, 03/14/2022, https://www.nhmagazine.com/do-you-need-long-term-care-insurance/
4: Taken from Smart Asset, 03/14/2022, https://smartasset.com/insurance/how-much-does-long-term-care-insurance-cost
5: Taken from LTC Consumer, 03/14/2022, https://ltcconsumer.com/choosing-benefit-period-long-term-care-insurance/
6: Taken from Stop Insurance Denial, 03/14/2022, https://www.stopinsurancedenial.com/services/insurance-claim-denial/long-term-care-insurance-denial