Long-Term Care Insurance: The Basics

As you get older, you’ll start to have questions and concerns about retirement, social security, long-term planning, Medicare, Medicaid and much more. That’s where elder law comes in. This specialty focuses on legal matters that impact older or disabled individuals.

Making the right decisions now can make a world of difference in the future. This is especially true when it comes to long-term care. Today’s average cost for long-term care starts at around $100K per year, and these costs continue to rise. However, not everyone qualifies for Medicaid’s nursing home coverage.

That’s where long-term care insurance can be beneficial. It helps cover your long-term care expenses and not lose your entire life’s savings in the process – or become a burden on your spouse or child. As elder law attorneys, we see the importance of long-term care insurance on a regular basis. That’s why we want to break it down for you – here’s what you need to know if you are considering purchasing a policy.

What does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?

Long-term care refers to a variety of services that aren’t covered by health insurance. Long-term care insurance covers expenses for chronic conditions that are not covered by Medicare. Every policy is different but can include anything from nursing home care and assisted living facilities to adult day care or in-home services. If possible, we recommend a comprehensive policy that will provide better protection and flexibility toward your potential future needs.

How Do I Choose?

While there are multiple options for long-term care insurance, there are actually fewer insurance companies offering this service than there were in the past. It’s important to choose a strong, stable company. Most likely, you won’t need your coverage for a while, and you want to make sure the company is still in business when you need it. Some of the major providers are Genworth, New York Life and Northwestern Mutual. You can also check out insurance company ratings on sites like Moodys or A.M. Best, or you can look for an independent agent who sells policies from multiple companies.

When Should I Purchase Coverage?

Typically, people purchase long-term care insurance when they are in their 50s or 60s. The younger you are, the more likely you’ll qualify for coverage – and often you’ll get lower premiums. If you wait too long, you take a chance that the premiums will rise or that your health will impact your qualifications.

What do I need to look for?

You definitely want to look at the fine print of the policy. You should look for:

  • Waiting Period: Most policies include a waiting period of 0 to 90 days – or even longer – before coverage begins. It’s important to know if this timeframe includes calendar days or days of reimbursable service.
  • Daily Benefit: The amount insurance pays per day – will it be enough?
  • Inflation Protection: This will offer added protection as nursing home costs rise, but often will raise the cost of the policy.

If you want to learn more about long-term care insurance, you don’t want to miss this Friday’s The Noon Show. Every Friday at noon EST, we talk you through some of the biggest topics for families and businesses – and this week we are featuring a panel on elder law and long-term care insurance. Join us on YouTube or Facebook Live to connect with us and get your questions answered!​​

And you can always contact us directly for a free consultation on how we can help you put a strategy in place to protect your family’s assets from the cost of long-term care.

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