Having someone care for you in your old age is a major concern for every human being. But long-term care in the United States can be quite expensive. Does CHAMPVA, a health coverage program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, cover long-term care? Sadly, it does not. If you or your family uses CHAMPVA, you will need to find alternative means to prepare for old age.
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CHAMPVA and Long-Term Care Policy
Unfortunately, CHAMPVA does not cover long-term care, and neither does Medicare for the most part. CHAMPVA covers only medically necessary inpatient, outpatient and pharmacy services and supplies. That means only treatments, procedures and equipment that are necessary to treat specific conditions. Long-term care is different from medical care, as it is about getting help with your day-to-day living activities.
You can continue to use CHAMPVA benefits for as long as you are eligible. When you turn 65 years old, you must enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B to retain CHAMPVA eligibility. Note that this will mean you won’t be able to use the CITI program anymore. You should enroll in Medicare before your 65 birthday to avoid an interruption in your CHAMPVA coverage. CHAMPVA gives instructions on how to retain eligibility at this time. You must submit VA Form 10-7959c: Other Health Insurance Certification along with a copy of your Medicare card.
CHAMPVA for people over age 65 is referred to as CHAMPVA for Life.
Long-Term Care Planning
With CHAMPVA and Medicare unable to assist you in paying for long-term care, you would have to turn to alternative solutions, such as:
Help from Family
In more traditional societies, family members took care of one another, especially their elderly relatives. A modern lifestyle has made this impractical for many, and there are those who simply live alone and have no close relatives to depend on. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. to look after you, you will probably not have to worry about long-term care insurance. Still, be prepared for the unexpected such as death, separation or a crippling accident or disease that could prevent your loved one(s) from taking care of you.
Rather than paying for insurance, you can self-insure; that is, save money on your own. If you are able to amass enough wealth to support yourself in your senior years, you may be able to afford a private caregiver. This would be preferable for many who do not want to leave their homes for a nursing facility.
Long-term Care Insurance Policies
Just as the term suggests, this is a type of insurance that prepares you financially for receiving professional long-term care. Long-term care insurance is easier and cheaper to obtain when you are younger and not sick. Such a policy may cover hospice, assisted living, home care, nursing home care and daycare services. The cost of long-term care insurance will depend on factors such as the person’s age, health condition, selected monthly benefit and inflation protection.
If you have life insurance, the company may let you convert it to a long-term care plan. Ask if this is possible.