Long-term care options
Long-term care isn’t just about a stay in a nursing home. The health care community offers a wide range of public and private services, each progressively more comprehensive. The most common private/public services available are:
Nursing home (facility) care.
Cost of long-term care
The cost of long-term care can vary from province to province, dependent upon whether the care provided is basic or extensive and the comprehensiveness of the care itself. The degree to which the provincial government will cover the services needed by the insured would also impact the risk exposure assumed by the insurer. Nevertheless, the cost is always substantial.
Sample monthly cost of a stay in a private nursing care facility
PROVINCE WARD CARE PRIVATE ROOM
Alberta $1,335 $1,628
British Columbia $4,825 $4,950
Manitoba Not Available $1,750
New Brunswick Not Available $1,873
Newfoundland $1,644 $1,680
Nova Scotia Not Available $2,612
Ontario $1,619 $2,166
P.E.I. $2,310 $2,760
Québec $1,017 $1,639
Saskatoon $1,670 $2,000
Providers of long-term care
There are a number of sources of long-term care services in the community and a number of
providers of long-term care insurance coverage. In a given community, services may be provided by all or any of the following:
For-profit organizations: private service providers, assisted living centres and nursing
Individual long-term care insurance (LTC)
Although government funding is available to support long-term care services and facilities, the health care system is stressed and the situation will only get worse as developments in modern medicine and technology continue to extend the lifespan of the average individual, seniors in particular. In 2011, almost 5 million Canadians were aged 65 and older, and 7% of them lived in care facilities, according to Census data. That proportion climbs to 30% for those aged 85 or older
The most obvious advantage of having LTC insurance coverage is minimization, or even
elimination, of the burden of costs for needed long-term care services. This can take the strain off the insured, and often the insured’s family, where the cost of care could otherwise deplete their estates and/or financial well-being.
A by-product of the relief of this financial burden is the fact that the individual is now free to seek the level of care he needs rather than the one he can afford to pay for himself. For most insureds, this ensures a better quality and quantity of services than they would otherwise obtain.
Lastly, as the individual will be able to afford the services he requires, it will give him a feeling of dignity and self-control, the knowledge that he will not have to depend on the good graces of the government in a time of need in his old age.
LTC insurance contracts provide protection for the costs of in-home, assisted living or facilities services required by individuals who are recovering from an illness or injury or those who have a condition (for example, Parkinson’s Disease) that requires chronic care. The policy covers many of those expenses that are not covered by provincial health care plans or, within limits, costs for covered services that exceed the benefits permitted under provincial plans. Many long-term care policies also provide funds for respite benefits, as an alternative to, or in addition to, benefits provided for professional in-home care or care in a long-term care facility.
Tax treatment of long-term care benefits
All benefits paid out under a long-term care policy are tax-free to the insured, whether those benefits are paid directly to the caregiver/care facility involved in providing care or to the insured by way of reimbursement for services previously paid personally.
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