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Long-Term Care Insurance for Stroke Survivors

A good place to start when talking about insurance options for stroke survivors is to differentiate between types of care. If you were to look at a typical health insurance booklet you would see there are three levels of care; skilled care, intermediate care and custodial care.

We all know what skilled care is. You get sick, you see a medical professional, and they provide what is medically needed to make you well again. Initial treatment for a stroke happens in the hospital with skilled care provided by trained physicians. The worst damage from a stroke often occurs within the first few hours, so the sooner you get treatment, the better.

The second level of care is called intermediate care, also known as rehab. Stroke rehabiliation starts in the hospital and continues after discharge, lasting for weeks, months or years.

Skilled and intermediate care are covered by traditional health insurance if you are under age 65. After age 65 you are entitled to Medicare as long as you have worked 40-quarters during your life, which pays for the same skilled care covered by traditional health insurance.

The last level of care is called custodial care or long-term care. This is the type of care needed by most stroke survivors, but traditional health insurance and Medicare do not cover these costs once medical progress ends.

Custodial care includes help performing activities of daily living, or ADL’s. There are six ADL's: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and the ability to hold your bladder. Requiring assistance to perform two out of the six ADLs is one of the triggers to collect benefits on a long-term care insurance policy. The other trigger, regardless if a person can perform all of their ADL's, is if they need supervision for safety as a result of cognitive impairment.

Unfortunately, stroke survivors and many others with pre-existing medical conditions cannot pass the underwriting process for long-term care insurance. While this may seem unjust, insurance companies are not willing to take on the risk in most cases once a person has suffered a stroke. It’s comparable to trying to buy homeowners insurance for a house that is on fire.

Another Option…

While traditional long-term care insurance will not be an option for the vast majority of stroke survivors there are linked benefit products for people who have had TIA's, minor strokes or for those who have gone 5-years without additional health issues and who have regained most functionality.

Linked benefit products are built around annuities and life insurance policies that are packaged with long-term care riders. These products are less risky to insurance companies because the products are funded up front by the policyholder and the first money paid out for benefits comes out of the policyholders own money. The long-term care rider that is part of the policy will continue to pay for long-term care services based on the provisions of the rider once the amount funding the life insurance or annuity has been exhausted.

By: Doug Ross, President at Empower Long Term Care Insurance

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"Unfortunately, stroke survivors and many others with pre-existing medical conditions cannot pass the underwriting process for long-term care insurance."

Insurance options for long-term care are limited for stroke survivors. The risk to insurance companies for offering stroke survivors coverage is more than they are willing to accept. Long-term care insurance is best considered when you are healthy, age based rates are lowest, and most importantly, you are able to pass the medical underwriting process.

To find out what long-term care insurance options are best suitable for you, visit Empower Long Term Care Insurance Services.

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