Long-term care insurance is a policy that you can buy to cover the high costs of needing care should it be
an advocate at the hospital while you are a patient, assistance with care at home, nursing home care,
assisted living or additional support for the caregiver providing support. Not all policies are the same.
Three Types of Long-Term Care
Types of long-term policy designs.
Helpful questions to ask before choosing a long-term care policy include:
Is the insurer a high-quality company?
You want to be sure the policy you purchase will still be in business when you need the coverage.
Finding carriers that carry a financial rating of “A” or better with the following is a good start.
These company’s focus on reporting on the financial stability of insurers in the financial industry. Each
life insurance carrier also provides a financial report reporting their ratings from these for the public.
When comparing insurers’ ratings, keep the agency’s financial strength rating scale nearby for quick
reference; each agency has one on its website. The scale will list the agency’s ratings and what they
Does the product offer inflation protection?
As the cost of living and medical care continue to increase the cost of long-term care will also increase.
Be sure the policy is designed to prepare for these increased costs.
Is the benefit period adequate?
The benefit period is the amount of time that the life insurance company will pay for long term care
Is home care included?
You will want to be sure your policy includes coverage for home health care. Some carriers offer to pay
for expenses for care at home by a family member and some will only pay expenses for care by an
agency providing the care at home. Be sure you understand the difference.
What is the elimination period?
Elimination period is like a deductible. This is the time you must wait to receive payment for long term
care expenses once your doctor has diagnosed you as needing help with at least 2 of the 6 activities of
daily living or if you are mentally not capable of staying safe alone. Some carriers offer a zero-day
elimination period for care at home yet require a 30, 60- or 90-day period for all other care in facilities
outside the home. Are the days counted toward calendar days or service days? Calendar days can allow
the policy to meet the elimination period faster than the service days. The longer the elimination period
the lower the cost of the policy.