The Right Long Term Care Insurance Policy
By: Andrew Long
When you are considering long-term care
insurance, or LTC insurance, there are many things to consider as you
try to choose the best policy to match with your personal
First of all, you should begin considering coverage at the earliest
possible age. Most LTC providers only underwrite people who are
between the ages of 40 and 80 and who don't already have impairment to
their ability to perform at least five of the six basic Activities of
Daily Living, or ADLs. So if you are at least 40 and healthy right
now, the time is now to consider buying LTC insurance, as the younger
you are when you take out a given policy the greater your amount of
options and the lower your premiums.
If you are now considering LTC insurance, it's important for you to
know the features and benefits you want to possibly pay for.
First, consider how comprehensive you want the LTC coverage to be,
which will affect your premiums. For instance, do you want to just
cover going into a nursing home, or just home-based health care
provided by a nurse, or just adult day care, or a mixture of them or
all of them?
Another factor that will affect your premiums is how much daily or
monthly coverage you want. The more coverage you select the higher
your premiums, but remember if you do need to activate the policy and
your future costs are greater than the limit you have selected you
will be directly responsible for making up the difference to the
health care providers. Also consider whether or not you want a
lifetime cap or unlimited lifetime coverage in sum total insurance
policy payouts, based on the options available to you based on your
age at the time of application.
Still another factor is benefit period. Most policies offer benefit
period limits of anywhere from two to six years, but you can also pay
to have a lifetime benefit period. Along with this, you'll have to
consider the duration of the elimination period (analogous to the
"deductible" on other types of insurance). During the elimination
period ALL accrued medical expenses that the LTC policy covers are
paid out of your pocket. It is possible to have a zero-day elimination
period, but your premiums will be quite high for this. Most policy
providers' elimination periods won't exceed 100 days.
The longer this period the lower your premiums, all other things being
equal, so this is one area where you can save quite a bit of money on
premiums if you are relatively young, as you can reasonably expect to
have enough money saved and invested in the future to finance one of
the longer elimination period options should the need arise.
Also ask the insurance agent about an inflation protection feature.
This will be very important especially if you are younger, what with
health care costs constantly on the rise. Imagine what would happen to
you if you selected a comprehensive coverage limit of $100 per day and
20 years from now you need to use the insurance but that same amount
of medical care now costs $1000 per day!
Finally, one thing in an LTC policy that can substantially raise your
premiums (even double them) BUT be extremely important is called the
Non-Forfeiture Benefit. This feature will allow you to continue
receiving the policy's benefits even if you stop paying the premiums.
If you are severely debilitated or financially destitute from paying
your part of the medical expenses and aren't able to pay the premiums
in the future, this benefit could literally save your life or prevent
your children from going bankrupt taking care of you.
About the Author:
Long writes for a series of websites about Care insurance and health
related issues. A main area of expertise and content covers
long term care
and disability insurance policies, as well as
Additional Information and
webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate