What is long-term care? It's a "buzz" word that we have heard for many years. However, most of us still are not sure what it is. Long-term care is a form of insurance that financially assists an individual by providing a payment source for the daily hands on care one may need when dealing with a chronic illness. It also allows you to continue to remain as independent as possible.

The type of services needed could vary from one person to another. However, the primary services included are home health care, respite, hospice, adult day center, assisted living services, and skilled nursing services. It is up to you to determine what combination of services you would like the policy to include.

There are many types of policies one can choose. For example, there are tax-qualified and non-taxed qualified policies. Both offer certain federal income tax advantages. Meaning, you may be able to deduct portions of the premiums off your federal income tax return. Your policy is determined by the following issues: current age, health status, care needs, and financial portfolio. Before making a final decision, you need to ask the following questions:

· Is the insurance company registered with the Connecticut Partnership Program?

· Average costs for similar policies?

· What services are included?

· Levels of care included?

· How long is the waiting period before I can begin using the policy?

· How long is the benefit period?

· Is cost of living inflation included?

· How much will the monthly premium cost?

· How do I file a claim?

· Can I receive a policy if I have a preexisting condition?

· What course of action can I take if I am not satisfied with my policy?

Comparison-shopping is a good rule of thumb. Doing some research before making a final decision is crucial. Purchasing a LTC policy is a big commitment. You need to make sure that you know what you will be responsible for and what you will receive. Please contact Cheryl Parcella, Elderly Outreach Worker, at 891-2154, ext. #1052 if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss this issue further.