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Taking Care of Mom and Dad: Policy Restrictions

Many of the recent second generation LTC policies have been greatly improved with standard provisions, home care benefits and valuable, affordable coverage. However, enough restrictions still apply that many old people don't qualify or aren't able to afford more than a minimum level for Medicaid strategy purposes. If your parents are past age 79, the odds are that any available LTC policy will be so limited and restricted that it's often not cost effective.

One study -- published by the United Seniors Health Cooperative -- showed that 82 percent of long-term care policies contained clauses that seriously restrict coverage. The most important places to look for these restrictions: Terms and conditions of coverage for skilled, intermediate and custodial care.

Policies that require a hospitalization or require a skilled level of care before they pay for custodial care, for example, won't work for many people.

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