Long-term care insurance is a necessity for most people. It guarantees that you can get the hands-on care you need if you become unable to fully take care of yourself; whether you’re old or young.
However, understanding what it is and where to get the right insurer and policy for you or a member of your family can be a bit complicated. There are several add-on features that most providers offer, and buying a policy that matches your financial capabilities without sacrificing the coverage you might need is a difficult task.
So, here is a guide on where to buy long-term care insurance to help you make the right purchasing decisions to secure your future.
What is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Have you ever wondered how some people manage to receive the daily benefit of in-home care, nursing home care, or other common forms of long-term care facilities without having to sell off every asset they have?
Well, that’s commonly due to them receiving benefit payments from having secured financial protection to cover the cost of care with a long-term care insurance policy.
Long-term care insurance is a form of private insurance designed to pay for long-term care services, medical costs and custodial care if you, or the member of your family insured, finds themselves unable to carry out typical daily living activities like eating, bathing, dressing, and getting around safely.
This is important. Some people qualify for Medicaid and see that as an easy option, but its coverage varies from person to person, and it rarely matches what a private insurance company can offer. It’s also only for low-income individuals, which means it may not even be an option to fall back on((3)).
So, that often leaves the elderly, disabled, and the unfortunately injured with massive out-of-pocket costs. For younger individuals who may eventually leave long-term care services, the costs can have an impact on the rest of their lives. For elderly people, the liquidation of assets often leaves them with nothing to pass down to their children.
Who is Long-Term Care Insurance for?
You likely think this is a form of insurance for the elderly. After all, long-term care is often related to needs the elderly are associated with such as assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care centers, and at-home care. However, it’s a very real possibility that younger individuals may need this long-term care help, as well. And so they may also benefit from a long-term care insurance policy.
People with certain disabilities may need skilled care in a nursing home facility or some other form of long-term living facility if their primary caregivers are no longer capable of handling the demands of caring for them, or if those primary caregivers pass away.
But younger people also frequently end up in different forms of long-term care or relying on services covered by long-term care insurance, due to accidents or poor health. These events are unpredictable, and no one is 100% safe from them.
That makes it important for younger people to consider their potential long-term health care needs not just for when they’re older, but also in case a tragic life event happens that they don’t expect.
How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
The average individual begins shopping for long-term care around the age of 55. They can expect to pay about $1700 per year in the form of a premium. However, they are unlikely to get denied coverage unless they have a pre-existing condition((4)).
At 65 and up, the cost of insurance skyrockets. If you wait until you’re this old to purchase long-term care insurance, you’re looking at annual premium payments between $2000 and $4000. That’s if you’re approved in the first place because it is far harder for people in this age group to be accepted for long-term care insurance. Specific costs can only be determined by working with an agent so he or she can generate a quote based on your specific requirements, and other inputs like your age, health, and location.
Where to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance
Choosing where to purchase long-term care insurance can be a complicated process that you should take very seriously.
While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll ever need your long-term care insurance, it will quickly become one of your most important forms of insurance. So, you want to ensure that you get a long-term care insurer and a policy that match your budget and needs perfectly.
The long-term care insurance industry has many different routes you can use, and we’ll go over all of them in the following section.
Medicaid and Medicare
Neither of these are purchasable forms of long-term care insurance, and they’re also the least optimal. So, if you can avoid relying on one of these, you should.
Medicaid is the main form of this, and it’s only available for low-income individuals. Besides that glaring limitation, it also only covers 4% of long-term care costs, and it has highly limited coverage.
Medicare is a program of medical insurance for people ages 65 and up, and it can cover up to 45% of costs. However, it still has many policy limits, and it often requires seniors to use their personal income and assets for medical expenses before they receive any coverage. Luckily, Medicare users can pair their Medicare with a private long-term care policy.
Stand-Alone Long-Term Care Packages: Private Suppliers
Your first, and probably most expensive option is to purchase your long-term care insurance as a stand-alone policy from a private health insurance company that offers it.
These plans often have premium costs that are more on top of the higher rates you’ll have to pay based on your age and health, but they offer you a bit of flexibility. You get to choose the exact plan of care you want, and you’re usually given more optional insurance coverage features than you get with other methods.
This is a great choice if your long-term care insurance is likely to be used; thus worth the somewhat extra cost of premiums.
However, another drawback is that you’ll have yet another insurance company to deal with. This is on top of your car, health, and life insurance policies, and every other policy you have to manage. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Also, not every insurance company that offers long-term care insurance will sell it as a stand-alone policy. Many bundle it in with other packages.
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Bundled With Your Life or Health Insurance from Your Current Provider
Another option that is useful for saving on policy costs and some stress is to see if your regular health insurance provider or life insurance company offers long-term care insurance packages. Don’t forget this information when applying for disability insurance.
Many of the larger insurance companies, such as Mutual of Omaha, and others offer long-term care insurance that can be bundled in with the various other individual policies you have with them. This comes with a few perks. At Policy Solver we have a strong relationship with Mutual of Omaha so we can help you get the right coverage you’d need if that’s a company you’re interested in.
First, since you’re already with the insurance company, it might be easier to get approved. This will be more and more important as you age because insurance companies are a little hesitant to provide long-term care insurance to someone with preexisting conditions or who is likely to enter a nursing home or other nursing facility within the next few years.
As health conditions typically decline as we get older, you may need a more rigorous medical exam and excellent health status to get approved with a new provider.
Second, it minimizes the number of private health insurers you need to engage with. Instead of relying on one provider for health insurance, another for life insurance, and yet another for long-term care insurance, you can get all of your health-related policies from a single provider, and even if the bills are handled separately, you still only have to pay one company. That’s a small perk, but it’s useful considering all the other things you need insurance for from separate companies.
Finally, it can help you reduce premium costs. Like anything, you can often get insurance for a little less if you buy it bundled with other forms of insurance. This can also include long-term care insurance. Don’t forget to check out what does disability insurance cover.
For example, a company that sells stand-alone insurance may charge a $1700 long-term care insurance premium for a 55-year-old male who doesn’t have a policy with the company, but they might offer a similar policy bundled with a 55-year-old male’s current health insurance for $1500. The actual costs are impossible to determine without taking all your individual insurance circumstances and various differences between companies into account, but you will generally get a lower price with a bundle.
Use a Professional Policy Consultant
Weighing your options on your own is possible, but it’s complex, and there’s a lot of room for you to make costly mistakes. You also won’t have the negotiating power and networking deals available to you that a true professional consultant will.
A policy consultation service can curate your insurance buying experience with years of expert knowledge and highly fruitful relationships within the industry; providing you with higher quality policies at lower rates.
Here are just some of the things a consultation service can provide.
Streamlined Shopping Experience:
You can slowly and ineffectively search the internet and find tons of insurance companies offering wildly different options. There are several downsides to this.
- You have to manually research what premium and benefit amounts each one offers
- You have to find and sift through hundreds of companies
- Your results vary
- Your search engine puts the biggest, most expensive, companies first
- You may not understand what each option includes or offers
You will waste time and energy looking for an insurance company on your own, and if you only go off recommendations or the most highly advertised options, you won’t have much to choose from.
A policy consultant has access to software that can quickly find companies and policies that match your criteria, and their expert staff members understand the policies on offer.
They can bring these options to you to create a curated, no-hassle, shopping experience that only makes you weigh your options between the very best choices.
Deals with Insurance Companies:
Policy consultation companies don’t just spend all day researching different insurance companies and their policies. They spend the time, energy, and resources necessary to build in-industry relationships that pay off for their customers.
They often have access to deals that give you far lower prices than you’d otherwise get by going to the same company on your own, and you don’t have to sacrifice anything to get those low prices. The policy consultant already did all the heavy lifting.
Captive insurance agents:
Some agents just work for one insurance carrier and therefore can only sell that long-term care insurance company’s product offerings. So, these captive agents might not be able to guide you towards the best solution for your needs, but rather might be limited by their offerings.
However, that’s might not be what’s best for you.
A policy consultant isn’t getting a commission from your policy, and they don’t have any incentive to sell you a policy beyond helping you in your time of need. More importantly, they’re professionally trained to understand the ins and outs of insurance policies, and they can tell you exactly what to expect from your policy without all the confusion you’re likely to experience by analyzing it on your own.
Should You Get Long-Term Care Insurance?
If you’re at a stage in your life where you can pay bills and afford insurance, you should really consider long-term care coverage. It’s not just for older people, and if something unpredictable happens, you’ll be relieved that you can make a long-term care insurance claim and take advantage of the long-term care benefits it provides.
Also, you now know that there are many ways and places for you to purchase a long-term care policy that is customized to meet your needs. So, you’re not forced to purchase something that is frankly too much for your circumstances.
The Best Way to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance
As you can see, there are multiple ways to get long-term care insurance. However, only one way ensures that you get optimal coverage at a price that meets your budget: A policy consultant.
However, just any old policy consultant will do. An inexperienced service, or one that doesn’t have a lot of industry connections and the latest tech to leverage, can still provide subpar results.
At PolicySolver we have years of experience helping people just like you to find the long-term care insurance policies that can provide the best coverage for your unique needs.
Don’t sign a contract or commit to an insurance policy on your own. Contact us today and see how we can help.
Julia Kagan, taken Jan 7, 2022, What is Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance? https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/ltcinsurance.asp
Casey Kelly Barton, taken Jan 7, 2022, What Long Term Insurance Covers and What it Doesn’t, https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2017/06/what-long-term-care-insurance-covers-and-what-it-doesnt/
Senior Care Counsel, Taken Jan 21, 2022, https://www.seniorcarecounsel.com/blog/how-much-does-medicaid-pay-for-long-term-care
Adam Shell, taken Jan 21, 2022, Buy Long-Term Care Insurance at the Right Age to get the Best Value, https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/info-2019/when-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance.html