Most people know that having insurance is important, and that purchasing it can be complicated. For that reason, many people choose to work with an expert who will take the time to understand their needs, help them compare plans and pricing options and assist them so they can make the right decision. For example, the idea of long term care insurance (LTC or LTCI*) sounds good in principle, but is a fairly new form of insurance. Those considering LTCI wonder how to choose a provider, a plan, and then how to have the assurance that they’re making a smart choice. LTC Consumer is here to capture what you are looking for and provide knowledge of LTCI so you can confidently make a smart decision that is best for you.
What are my options?
Your primary decision is whether or not getting LTCI is right for you in the first place. You could do nothing, and rely on your savings, friends and family for support. Or see if you can get LTCI through your employer, or purchase your own plan.
If you’ve chosen to get LTCI, your next decision is when to get coverage. The best time to buy any insurance is the day before you need to use it. Unfortunately, none of us can predict the future. The best time to buy LTCI is when you are healthy enough to qualify and you are in a place financially to be able to comfortably pay the cost. Most buyers are in their late 40s or early 50s while we have seen buyers as young as 25 and as old as 75. The biggest mistake people make is waiting too long and then getting a medical diagnosis or condition which makes them uninsurable. On the positive side, once you are insured, your premiums cannot go up simply because you age, your health changes, or you file a claim.
The second big question is how much coverage should you get? In other words, how much money do you need it to pay you, and for how long? This varies, too and there are lots of options.
- Daily maximum payment amount
- Maximum number of days or years the policy will last
- Lifetime benefit amount (say $100,000, $200,000 or something else)
- Benefits to keep up with rising inflation (see below)
- Individual or shared policy?
Let’s say you and your spouse are both covered, but only one of you needs and receives payment until the lifetime benefit amount is reached. With shared coverage, benefits from both partners policies can be pooled and one or both partners may access the benefits until they are completed paid out.
- Tax qualifying or not?
Ask about specific policies from given providers in your state; then check with your tax advisor or refer to LTC Consumer’s 2016 Tax Guide as most policies are tax qualifying.
- Inflation growth option?
This allows your benefit amount to grow over time, to keep up with inflation. For most people, this option will not be central to the decision to choose long term care insurance; but you can learn more about it here.
- What’s covered?
Some policies are pretty specific about what they cover; others are more flexible to pay for things, as your needs change over time (once-a-week physical therapy at first, for instance, full-time caregiver a few years later).
There are also a number of possible discounts, including good health, partner\spousal, group coverage, association, and more.
It can’t hurt to get a few free quotes. It could hurt not to.
Get a free quote in seconds. You’ll receive an Estimated Annual Cost, with an option for an online Application Request. You can get as many quotes as you like, with no charge and no obligation.
If you have questions or want more information, your request will be sent to a state-licensed, professional LTC Consumer Specialist, who can consult with you by phone or email to explain how the plan works, who the top carriers are, and help you choose a plan that best fits your needs and budget. No pressure, no obligation, no cost.
LTC Consumer is a new, 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.
*We will use LTC to refer to the delivery of long term health care itself, and LTCI to refer to insurance plans designed to pay for that health care.