As the name suggests, long term care is defined as care for a chronic condition or disability, which is likely to be required for a long term, often for the rest of your life. This care can range from round the clock nursing care in a specialist nursing home, to help and assistance in your own home.
There are an estimated 1.2 million people in long term care in the UK and a large proportion of these are elderly, including around 1 in 5 people over the age of 85 and 1 in 10 people over 64. Many of these require care following a stroke or as a result of other chronic conditions such as advanced arthritis, or as a result of declining mental capacity, such as dementia or Alzheimers. However, it’s worth remembering that you may require long term care at any age, for example, following an accident that has left you disabled.
Costs will vary depending on the level of care required, averaging over £450 a week for a nursing home and around £330 a week for a residential home. Around one in three people have to pay for their own long term care, often losing their home in the process. Long term care health insurance was created to help people to fund their care without reducing their assets.
This article on long term care health insurance UK is written by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
I’ve paid National Insurance, why do I need long term care health insurance?
If you have assets above a certain level – in 2009 that level was £21,500 - you will be expected to fund the vast majority of your own long term care. Below this level, you will get a sliding scale of support, down to the lower limit, currently £12,750, after which you won’t be expected to contribute.
Without long term care health insurance, you risk losing everything you have worked for to fund your care, until it has been whittled away to under thirteen thousand pounds. For many people this is a heart-breaking prospect, watching their children’s inheritance dwindle.
Even if you do not have assets like a home, if you do not have long term care health insurance, you will find yourself at the mercy of the local authorities, with little or no choice in the home you are sent to and, with shrinking council budgets, little chance of finding yourself in a home you would choose if you had the option.