Remaining your home while heeling from an illness or injury is certainly preferable to
being in a nursing home, and home care service companies can often provide the care
you need. But there have been cases where home care firms offered contracts
that caused some seniors with poor health to think that they were getting much more.
Home care services may include visiting aides who cook, clean, bathe, and
help with other activities. Or the service company might give you access to special care by a
registered nurse or physical therapist. And for an up-front fee, the contracts promise
discounted, quality care when you need it without any medical underwriting because it is not insurance.
The contracts do not, however, include provisions for care in a nursing facility and they clearly state that fact. And when the agreements are sold by insurance agents, seniors may get the wrong impression that they are buying long-term care insurance policies. Then, by the time they need
nursing home care, it's too late to obtain the proper protection. So as with any contract, never rely on what you are told, READ THE AGREEMENT. And if you cannot understand the agreement, then get a lawyer to review it.
The reason that these in home care agreements may not be sufficient is that they only provide a few hours of care a day. But what happens when the elder needs 24-hour care? The cost of that would be exorbitant and a nursing home is much more affordable.
If you or your spouse has been turned down for long-term care insurance because of
advanced age or poor health, consider a home care service policy but realize that it is not a long term care policy. Be sure you understand what type of care is provided and how many hours per day. Ask about the cost of buying more hours. In addition, there maybe alternative solutions, such as a medically-underwritten annuity that could possibly provide higher than normal payouts, to meet your long-term care needs. Ask your insurance agent.