When shopping for long term care insurance, you may be offered additional features or “riders.” But are these additional long term care insurance features really worth paying for?

Here, we’re breaking it down for you and explaining a few of the top long term care insurance features and what they’ll cost you.

1. Shared Care

For couples buying long term care insurance together, this feature is definitely worth it. Shared Care doubles your benefit by giving you access to your spouse’s benefit pool if you exhaust yours and need more care.

This feature typically costs you 10-15% in additional premium, but it may save you money versus buying larger benefit pools.

2. Calendar Day Elimination Period

Each LTC policy requires the insured to satisfy an elimination period, or waiting period.  This is typically fulfilled in an amount of days, such as 30, 60, 90, 180, or 365. However, these days are measured two ways: service day or calendar day.

  • Service day means only the days you actually receive care count towards your elimination period.  In the example of a 90 day elimination period, let’s say you receive home care four days a week, that would spread your elimination period out over 22 weeks (5 months).
  • Calendar day is exactly as it sounds and is typically the more desired choice.  The clock starts on your elimination period on the first day your doctor deems you unable to do two out of six activities of daily living.  In the example of a 90 day elimination period, on day 91 your policy will begin paying benefits.

Calendar day is a standard feature in some carrier LTC policies, while other carriers offer service day elimination periods with the option of adding a calendar day rider. Some may not offer the option at all. This will cost you about 15% in additional premium, but can help you access coverage faster.

3. Waiver of Elimination for Home Health Care (0-Day Home Care)

Waiver of elimination for home health care means that you waive the elimination period referenced above for home health care, creating a zero-day elimination period.  Typically, those days of home health care can count towards satisfying your facility elimination period.

Studies show 80% of claims are paid in the home, so adding this feature is definitely worth it. Some carriers have it as a built-in feature, while other LTC carriers offer it as an optional rider. This feature can increase your premiums by 15-20% but gives you access to home care sooner when you need it.

4. Inflation Coverage: 3% Compound

Good inflation protection keeps your pool of money growing year after year to keep up with the rising cost of care. While some inflation coverage options are expensive, 3% compound falls in the middle as affordable AND keeps your benefit growing at a minimum of 3% growth compounding year after year. Rates may vary, but this inflation coverage hits the sweet spot.

5. Joint Waiver of Premium

Joint Waiver of Premium can be purchased with your spouse and allows your premiums to be waived when your spouse goes on claim. This feature helps take the pressure off of one spouse still paying premiums and will cost you an additional 10-15% in premium.

Long term care insurance policies offer many additional options to build the long term care plan that’s right for you. Get an instant quote and chat with a long term care specialist today. They’ll help you decide which long term care insurance features make the most sense for you and your budget.

LTC Consumer is an independent, free online service to help consumers understand what long term care insurance is, how it works, and how to evaluate coverage options. Our mission is to provide an educational, no-pressure resource for learning about long term care planning, with the opportunity to speak with specialists who can help them.