A Guide Through the Long-Term Care Insurance Maze

Last summer, Sandy’s mother was placed in an assisted living facility’s Memory Care Unit. After years of paying for a long-term care insurance policy, the time had come for her to begin collecting benefits.

Yet Sandy found that the process of accessing the long-term care benefits that had been paid for was extremely complex. And while she had been handling details of her mother’s care for some time, she knew she would need outside help dealing with the assisted living facility and the insurance company.

“I needed someone who had the expertise to be able to present herself on behalf of the family and to be on equal ground, to be able to use the same language as the doctor, the assisted living facility and the insurance company,” Sandy said. Fortunately, she found Nicole Christensen of Care Answered to help navigate the maze of paperwork.

“The LTC insurance company that my mom had spent so much money on for the past few years was giving us push back regarding the terms of coverage,” Sandy explained. “Nicole spent countless hours on the phone with me as well as with the assisted living facility and the insurance company making sure all the paperwork was correct.”

But Nicole’s help didn’t end there. “Nicole has also been the liaison with my mother’s doctors’ offices, who also have to file certain paperwork within certain time limits as per insurance company,” Sandy said. “Nicole has been on top of this process from day one. She continues to monitor all paperwork with all parties in this process.”

The impact on Sandy’s life has been immeasurable.

“Having had Nicole as our liaison now for more than a year has enabled me to be able to actually be a little calmer in regard to sharing the responsibility for paperwork and payments” Sandy said. “Nobody can fully appreciate the service that she provides until they have the need for her help, but nobody should ever even consider navigating through the system without someone like her.”

Today, Sandy wholeheartedly recommends Nicole and Care Answered to anyone dealing with a similar situation.

“I would encourage any family in any long-term care or life-changing situation to immediately contact Nicole to have her mediate for your loved one and be the advocate that you will need,” Sandy stated. “She is a wonderful listener and can put a plan into action to achieve the outcome that the family needs. Nicole is an invaluable asset every family should avail themselves of.

To learn more, give Care Answered a call at 516-584-2007.

Help with the Juggling Act

Michael Pacella with his youngest grandson, Ryan, his youngest great-grandson, Nolan, and daughter, Linda Wangner

Linda Wangner was in a bind, one that would be familiar to many people struggling to provide care for an elderly loved one while juggling their own lives – living far away, taking care of a spouse with a medical issue, and balancing professional and personal responsibilities.

Linda and her husband live in Arizona part of the year, and Garden City, near her 100-year-old father, the rest of the time. Her father, Michael Pacella, is able to live independently with the help of home health aides. The trouble began a few years ago when she needed to transition from one Managed Long Term Care provider to another. She spent months waiting for an intake interview, only to find that the new agency would only provide aides for eight hours a day, while Mr. Pacella needed round-the-clock care.

At the same time, Linda’s husband underwent surgery that left him immobile during his recuperation. Linda was unable to stay with her father, and unable to care for him in her home while she was on Long Island. During their time in Arizona, Linda teaches part time at the state university, serves on the board of several clubs and helps run her development’s Homeowner’s Association. As the situation in New York deteriorated, she had difficulty carrying out her normal activities due to the stress of constant telephone calls regarding issues with her father’s care. Relief aides failed to show up to take care of him. Others would leave him alone during their shifts. The police would be called, and Mr. Pacella would be taken to a hospital and then discharged to a nursing home until home care could be arranged again.

Then Linda met Nicole Christensen, a healthcare advocate and owner of Care Answered. Nicole met Mr. Pacella and the two hit it off. She was able to persuade him to visit the neurologist, and it was found that he suffered from damage to two areas of his brain that influenced his impulse control and decision making. Care Answered was then able to put in place and coordinate physical therapy at home that helped him do the things he loves.

Nicole was able to transition Mr. Pacella’s care to a new MLTC and home care providers that Linda describes as “light years better than the other agencies.”

As a result, she says, “My Dad has been calmer, easier to get along with.”

Linda has recommended Nicole to many others who are dealing with similar issues.

“Nicole got involved, and life calmed down,” she says. “I had never heard of a patient advocate before, but Nicole could be the poster child for it. She is the best in her field.”