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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

What are ADLs in a long term care insurance policy?

Updated: Sep 27

As you approach your senior years, you probably wonder how you will receive care if you become disabled or mentally impaired. You know your current health insurance will not cover care costs like a nursing home or assisted living. This is why some people apply for a long-term care insurance policy. ADLs are an important component of this kind of policy.

An ADL is a term you may not have seen before. Nerdwallet explains what an ADL is and how it relates to your long-term care insurance policy.

Defining ADLs

An ADL stands for “activity of daily living.” These are actions that you must perform on your own as part of your everyday life, like bathing, dressing and eating. ADLs also involve your ability to care for incontinence, like whether you can handle problems using the bathroom.

In addition, ADLs address your ability to move. For example, you should have the ability to get on or off a toilet, known as toileting. Another ADL called transferring involves whether you can climb in and out of a bed or a chair.

When you cannot perform an ADL

A long-term care insurance policy hinges on whether or not you can carry out ADLs. Disability or mental illness may remove your capacity to do one or more ADLs and cause you to become dependent on others for help. This is where your policy may kick in and start applying for coverage.

Your long-term care insurance may begin coverage when you cannot perform at least two ADLs. For instance, you may have no capacity to access a toilet, bed or chair without assistance, but you can eat and dress without help. You will probably need to provide medical documents and see a nurse before your insurer will approve your claim.

Review your policy carefully

Be sure of the terms of your long-term care policy. Your insurer may expect you to supply medical documents, answer questions about your health, and even interview you in person or over the phone to approve your initial policy. Take the opportunity to examine the terms of whatever policy you are applying for.

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