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Best Long Term Care Insurance for Seniors in 2019

Our experts have researched 12 long term care insurance providers and recommend 10 of the best options for seniors.

The 3 Best Brands
Accolades Best Overall Best Value Best Coverage
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Top 10 Highest Ranked Long-Term Care Insurance For 2019

People are living longer, and the demand for long-term care is clear. In fact, 52 percent of people turning 65 will need such services, according to AARP. Women generally spend 2.5 years in care, while men spend 1.5 years. Many people turn to insurance to help fund their needs. Unfortunately, long-term care policies tend to be 40 to 50 pages long. They can be confusing and filled with legalese and conditions, no matter which insurer you choose and which state you live in. Here’s a look at the best long-term care insurance and the companies that may meet your needs. At the end of this guide is more information on how long-term care policies work and why they’re good for seniors.
  • Mutual of Omaha - This Goliath in the long-term care insurance field offers a policy called MutualCare Secure Solution, and it’s very easy to get rate estimates online.
  • Transamerica - The TransCare III policy allows for a high degree of customization in line with many other insurers.
  • MassMutual - Little is known at this point about the new SignatureCare 600 policy, but SignatureCare 500 comes in a base version and a comprehensive version.
  • Genworth - The Privileged Choice Flex 3 plan has an informal care rider that can help seniors stretch their dollars wisely.
  • John Hancock - John Hancock is the insurer for the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program and offers an unlimited benefit period option.
  • New York Life - The NYL My Care policy is set up much like traditional health insurance with deductibles and coinsurance.
  • Fidelity - If you buy this company’s offering, you’re actually purchasing a MassMutual life insurance policy with a long-term care rider.
  • MetLife - Spinoff Brighthouse Financial currently handles long-term care insurance through the hybrid policy Brighthouse SmartCare.
  • USAA - USAA does not have an exclusive policy, turning to Genworth and John Hancock to provide long-term care insurance for interested members.
  • Mutual of Omaha - Mutual of Omaha is one of the biggest players in long-term care insurance, and its product is called MutualCare Secure Solution. The policy offers a nice number of optional benefits for plenty of customization.

How We Chose Our Top List

In creating our top 10 list of the best long-term care insurance for seniors, we looked at plans and pricing, standard and optional benefits, discounts, value, and so much more. We then put it all on the table so that you can make a wise decision for your future. After all, long-term care matters, and quality insurance makes it possible.

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Plans considered
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Experts consulted
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Plans selected
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Hours of research
1. Mutual of Omaha
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

Mutual of Omaha is one of the biggest players in long-term care insurance, and its product is called MutualCare Secure Solution. The policy offers a nice number of optional benefits for plenty of customization.

Pros
  • 30% savings if you and your partner are issued under the same policy form; 15% savings if you’re married but your partner doesn’t purchase a policy; and 15% savings for good health
  • Option to elect a cash benefit instead of reimbursement
  • Standard benefits include waiver of premium (you don’t need to pay your premium while receiving long-term care services), home health care, facility care, care coordination, respite care, hospice care, international benefit for up to 12 months and alternate care (services that don’t exist today may be covered in the future if recommended by your care coordinator)
  • Optional benefits include inflation protection, shared care, security benefit, return of premium, waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits
  • Choose among monthly maximum benefit amounts from $1,500 to $10,000
Cons
  • 90, 180 or 365 calendar-day elimination periods (unless you receive cash benefits or opt for the waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits)
  • As with practically every LTC insurer, benefits won’t be paid if you require care resulting from self-inflicted injuries or if you need care as a result of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Similarly, the policy doesn’t cover doctor’s charges, lab charges, prescriptions, transportation or personal expenses

Pricing

You can estimate the cost of your policy on Mutual of Omaha’s website. Input your age, gender, ZIP code and marital status. You must also enter the monthly benefit amount you want the policy to pay. If you’re married, indicate whether your partner is interested in coverage.

Suppose you are a single female and 55 years old. You live in the 98926 ZIP code (Washington state). Your premium estimates are as follows: $87 a month for a $1,500 monthly benefit down the road; $146 a month for a $2,500 benefit; and $204 a month for a $3,500 benefit.

Regardless of insurer, you pay less in total premiums the younger you are when you sign up.

The Bottom Line

If your aim is robust coverage, Mutual of Omaha’s many optional riders provide that at a fairly competitive price. Of course, this insurer sells a high number of policies with many standard and optional benefits. It can get overwhelming, so be sure you understand what you’re signing up for (and not signing up for). Remember to get quotes from other companies.

2. Transamerica
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

The long-term care policy from Transamerica is called TransCare III. It comes with many standard benefits and optional riders. In that respect, it’s similar to the offering from Mutual of Omaha. However, the process of getting premium estimates online is more difficult.

Pros
  •  
  • Standard benefits include cash, remain at home, home care, respite care, adult day care, long term care facility, waiver of premium (in cases such as long term care facility after the elimination period), three-year rate guarantee, return of premium upon death before age 67, accident, alternate plan of care with coordinator approval, hospice care
  • Optional riders such as various benefit increase options to keep pace with inflation, shared care, monthly benefit (for charges exceeding maximum daily benefits), elimination period credit, joint waiver of premium, return of premium upon death, nonforfeiture, one-time full restoration of benefits
  • Elimination periods of 0 days, or 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 days
  • Couples discount of up to 30%; 15% discount if married but partner isn’t applying; 10% preferred health discount
  • Pool of money ranges from $18,250 to $1,095,000, and maximum daily benefit ranges from $50 to $500 (pay more in premiums for a higher pool of money and higher maximum daily benefit)
Cons
  • Rates in California are particularly high
  • Shared care option may not save married couples as much money as they’d save at another insurer
  •  

Pricing

Transamerica does not have an online estimator and asks that you contact an agent for pricing information. That aside, premium rates vary by gender, as is typical. Because women live longer, they incur higher long-term care expenses.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance does list three TransCare III pricing estimates. A married couple, ages 61 and 60, who choose a benefit amount of $162,000 each would pay a yearly premium of $2,242. Meanwhile, a 57-year-old single male pays $989, and a 57-year-old single female pays $1,507. All three estimates are with no inflation protection.

The Bottom Line

Transamerica offers relatively affordable policies with various options. Although you can’t get a quote from its website (at least not yet), the estimates above give you some idea of what you could expect to pay.

3. MassMutual
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

MassMutual kept its LTC premium rates down for longer than many other insurance companies. In 2018, however, the company got approval to raise many of its premiums by 77 percent, and consumers experienced sticker shock. Because of this, MassMutual is dealing with more recent “bad press” for increasing rates. However, the company is much more realistic now about the considerations that go into paying for long-term care. Future premium increases should not be as steep.

MassMutual offers the SignatureCare 500 policy and has transitioned in some jurisdictions to the SignatureCare 600 policy. Not much is known about 600, so this section focuses on 500.

MassMutual also offers a combined long-term care and life insurance policy. Look into this option if you have a significant amount of wealth you’d like to preserve for your heirs if long-term care ends up not being necessary.

In any case, the standalone LTC 500 product comes in a base version and a comprehensive version. The base policy covers only facility services such as assisted living. The comprehensive policy covers home care as well.

Pros
  • Standard benefits with the comprehensive policy include premium waiver, community-based services, caregiver training, ambulance services, emergency response, respite care, alternative plan of care and some coverage outside of the United States
  • Optional riders for inflation protection, shared care, waiver of premium for covered partner, paid-up survivor benefit, home and community-based services elimination of period, home and community-based services monthly benefit, enhanced elimination period
  • Once initial elimination period is satisfied, no future period is required (if inside United States)
  • Benefit periods of two, three, four, five or six years
  • 30% partner discount if both people in a couple get insured; 15% discount if one person in a married couple gets insured; 5% discount on LTC premiums each year if you have life insurance, disability insurance or some annuity contracts at MassMutual
Cons
  • Elimination periods of 30, 60, 90 or 180 days (although there’s a rider to waive the period for home and community-based services)
  • No reimbursement for care provided by family and friends
  • Not much information on company’s website regarding pricing
  • You must talk with a MassMutual advisor to get information relevant to your situation

Pricing

Like with many other insurers, rates are gender-distinct. MassMutual prefers that you pay premiums annually or semiannually. You get a charge if you opt to pay monthly or quarterly (this is typical with many insurers). MassMutual may credit your policy with dividends that reduce the premiums you pay and expands the pool of benefits. You generally must have had your policy for at least 11 years to begin receiving dividends, and they are never guaranteed.

Daily benefit amounts for your care range from $50 to $400 a day and increase in $10 increments.

The Bottom Line

If you’d like to be covered for as long as possible, look into MassMutual for its six-year period. Otherwise, the company has good options such as the restoration of benefits rider. Your benefits can be restored more than once as long as you haven’t depleted your total benefit amount.

In addition, the enhanced elimination period rider may save money in the long run. For example, using services just one day in a seven-day period gets the full week counted toward the elimination period. This rider can be especially helpful if paying for services during the elimination period worries you.

4. Genworth
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

Genworth offers the Privileged Choice Flex 3 plan with a good variety of options. Its website has tools such as a calculator to give you an idea of how much your Genworth premiums might cost. Other tools include data on the cost of long-term care in your area and information on trends.

Pros
  • Benefit multipliers for two, three, four or five years
  • Informal care rider geared toward family caregivers up to half your maximum benefit (you could get more than twice as much care for the same amount of money with family members charging $10 an hour versus agency workers charging $22)
  • Options include shared care, joint waiver of premium, waiver of premium, increase coverage, and multiple inflation protection choices
  • Monthly maximum range is $1,500 to $9,300,and daily maximum range is $50 to $300
  • Standard benefits include caregiver training, home modifications, home assistance, respite care, hospice care, refund of premium up to age 65, bed reservation, international coverage, late payment protection and protection against lapse due to impairment
Cons
  • Typical LTC policy cons such as no coverage if your needs stem from a self-inflicted injury or from an act of war

Pricing

As with other LTC insurers, pricing is based in large part on your age when you get the policy, how long you want to be covered for care, your marital status, the elimination period and the maximum dollar amount you want to be reimbursed for. Fortunately, Genworth has a calculator that makes it easy for you to plug in various scenarios. For example, you can compare how much you’d pay for two, three, four and five years of care with different factors.

Some general cost estimates: A 55-year-old single female in Washington state with a $125 daily maximum and a three-year multiplier would pay $1,487.81 a year in premiums. In the same scenario except the woman is 65 years old, the premium cost is $2,450.51. Meanwhile, the 55-year-old would pay $2,380.50 yearly if she increased to a $200-a-day maximum. The 65-year-old woman pays $3,920.81. All these premiums are for a plan with a 90-day elimination period, 100% home and community care coverage and 100% assisted living facility coverage. It doesn’t include inflation protection and other riders.

The Bottom Line

Genworth can be especially nice if you have family members willing to provide in-home care for a fraction of the cost that an agency worker would charge. Most other insurers discourage this type of informal care, so Genworth definitely fills a hole.

Married couples should also take note with Genworth’s riders for shared care with guaranteed minimum additional benefits and joint waiver of premium. They can net couples up to 25 percent more benefits. It’s also nice to not worry about paying your premiums if your spouse requires long-term care but you don’t.

5. John Hancock
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

John Hancock has not offered individual policies for a few years, but it is the insurer for the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program. You must work for the federal government or U.S. postal service in some capacity or meet qualifying criteria if your relative is an employee. Page 2 of this book outlines your possible eligibility.

If you previously purchased a John Hancock policy, you can access the details of your plan online and contact support representatives for assistance.

Pros
  • Unlimited benefit period available
  • Informal care covered for up to 500 days if done by relatives; if performed by non-family members, it’s for the benefit period you selected
  • You can maintain your coverage even if you leave government employment
  • Waiver of premium, and you need to satisfy the 90-calendar-day waiting period only once in your lifetime
  • Features include alternate plan of care if approved by coordinators, international benefits, bed reservations, respite care, no war exclusion and multiple inflation protection options
  •  
Cons
  • No John Hancock insurance available for new policyholders unless through the federal program
  • Premium increases in recent years hit some policyholders especially hard
  • Shared care is not an option

Pricing

John Hancock offers eight daily benefit amounts ranging from $100 to $450. The company says that a two-year benefit period may be best if you want to keep premium costs relatively low and pay out of pocket for some care. You can also choose from three-year, five-year and unlimited periods.

Four prepackaged plans are available to streamline selection. They’re called Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and Plan D. Each of the plans has a 90-calendar-day waiting period and various inflation protection options. Customization is available if you don’t want any of these plans.

From the prepackaged plans, premiums are lowest under Plan A, which gives you a daily benefit amount of $150 for two years (maximum lifetime benefit of $109,500). A 55-year-old new enrollee would pay about $101.62, $133.09 or $43.130 in monthly premiums, depending on the inflation protection options chosen. A 65-year-old would pay $173.37, $208.79 or $85.62.

Now take Plan D, which offers a $200 daily benefit amount for five years (maximum lifetime benefit of $365,000). A 55-year-old would pay about $274.88, $371.63 or $104.41. A 65-year-old pays $441.27, $545.56 or $231.09. These costs are in line with what you’d pay at other insurers for similar options.

The Bottom Line

If you are single and eligible for a John Hancock plan, you should probably take it. It’s still a good idea to compare quotes from other insurers—that will never be a bad thing! Similarly, if you want an unlimited benefit period, John Hancock offers one, and it’s nearly impossible to find at other insurers.

The four prepackaged options simplify selection, and features such as informal care and 80% coverage for international care can be attractive.

If you’re married, you may still want a plan through this insurer. However, the lack of a shared-care option may give you pause, although features such as informal care and international care may make up for it.

6. New York Life
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

In 2018, New York Life rolled out NYL My Care to simplify long-term care choices alongside its 2016 NYL Secure Care product. There’s also a combination life insurance product.

The language of NYL My Care is similar to that of health insurance and may be easier for consumers to understand. For example, NYL My Care carries a one-time deductible, and it is much clearer that you draw from a pool of money instead of time periods such as two years or five years. You do still have monthly maximum benefits, and your monthly reimbursement rate is 80%. In effect, you’re paying 20% of costs yourself like you would in coinsurance. On the other hand, NYL Secure Care is traditionally designed long-term care insurance.

New York Life is a mutual insurer like MassMutual, and dividends may lead to eventual savings. New York Life says that a client enrolled in NYL Secure Care becomes eligible for dividends by year 11. After your retirement in 20 to 30 years, the dividends may actually result in no out-of-pocket premiums.

Pros
  • 25% first-year discount for couples; 10% discount for one person in a married couple who gets insurance
  • Four package options for NYL My Care to simplify the process (bronze, silver, gold and platinum); customized design also available
  • Policy riders offer inflation protection, waiver of premium, legacy benefit, shared care and other benefits
  • Reimbursement options for family and friends providing in-home care
Cons
  • 20% “coinsurance” under NYL My Care means taking a risk on expenses and perhaps doing more financial planning than you would rather undertake

Pricing

In 2018, New York Life gave pricing quotes for a 55-year-old married male covered under each of the four NYL My Care programs. In Bronze, he’d pay a monthly premium of $24.93. For Silver, it would be $49.86, and for Gold, $84.65. For Platinum, he’d pay $119.45. These figures don’t include inflation protection, and the 25% partner’s discount has been applied.

The Bottom Line

Through NYL My Care, New York Life gives consumers long-term care insurance options presented in a way that may make more sense to them.

As for the 20% coinsurance that consumers will have to pay while receiving care, there are two ways to look at it. One is that you’re already paying for out-of-pocket expenses, and what’s a few hundred dollars more a month? Another perspective is that it’s grating to have paid monthly premiums for years. Now you’re paying out-of-pocket expenses and coinsurance.

If you seek financial peace of mind that you won’t be caught by surprises, consider NYL Secure Care.

7. Fidelity
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

You can arrange for some type of long-term care insurance through Fidelity, but you’re actually signing up with another company—MassMutual for MassMutual CareChoice One. It’s a single-premium whole life insurance policy with a long-term care rider. It’s not as favorable as similar policies from Lincoln Moneyguard II or State Life Asset Care.

Pros
  • Use some of your savings for four years’ worth of care as long as you’re 35 to 69 years old (65 for tobacco users)
  • Your heirs get a death benefit if you never need long-term care
  • Dividends may extend the four-year life of your benefit to as long as five years
  • Premium is paid once—no worrying about paying every month or every year
Cons
  • You must have a minimum of $25,000 to pay the premium
  • 90-day elimination period
  • Inflation protection claim is misleading—you don’t get much protection compared with some other hybrid policies
  • Fidelity may push the plan too hard and misleadingly onto some clients

Pricing

You pay a minimum of $25,000 for the policy premium (the more you pay, the more money available later). Say that a 60-year-old female pays about $100,000 (about $66,000 for the whole life portion and $33,000 for the long-term care rider). The initial death benefit is $133,997, and she has a maximum monthly long-term care benefit of $5,583.21 for 48 months (four years).

If you no longer want the policy after already signing up, you can cancel it. You’ll get the surrender value, which may be less than the actual cash value. Alternatively, you can take out loans from the policy if you want to tap into its usefulness.

The Bottom Line

If you have the funds to pay for whole life insurance with a long-term care rider, this is definitely worth looking into. This type of approach tends to be best for wealthy, young families where the parents are in their thirties or forties (age availability starts at 35 with Fidelity/MassMutual). This approach is a way to use your savings to pay for care and to protect some of your wealth. Consult an attorney who specializes in estate planning to crunch the numbers and see if this avenue could make sense in your situation.

It does need to be said that MassMutual CareChoice One compares unfavorably with many other whole life/long-term care insurance policies. Consider policies from other insurers if you’re interested in whole life. For example, Lincoln Moneyguard II offers better inflation protection, a zero-day elimination period and six-year benefit period.

8. MetLife
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

MetLife spinoff Brighthouse Financial currently handles long-term care insurance. Policyholders who purchased their policy from MetLife itself can still check up on their policies here.

Brighthouse Financial doesn’t have a standalone long-term care insurance option. Rather, its offering is a hybrid policy called Brighthouse SmartCare. It combines an indexed universal life (IUI) policy with protection against long-term care costs.

Pros
  • Multi-pay plans—you can pay your premium just once or over a period as long as five years
  • Monthly benefit payments may be greater than your actual care expenses, meaning more money left over for personal expenses and the like
  • Options include indexed long-term care, fixed-growth and level
  • Care payout period ranges from four to six years
  • Available for clients 40 to 75 years old, and policies have face values up to $1 million
Cons
  • 90-day elimination period

Pricing

Click “Get Started” on this page to run through various pricing scenarios. For example, take a 60-year-old nonsmoking female who pays $100,000 for the policy in a single payment.

She chooses indexed growth and a four-year LTC benefit period. At age 80, she’d receive a LTC benefit of $10,074 a month, translating to $120,889 a year. It pays to ask questions, though, because this model indicates that she gets no LTC benefit at age 85. If you click on, “Download Basic Illustration,” you do see that there are payouts at age 85 and beyond.

If you choose indexed growth, your policy is linked to major stock market indices, and you can lock in your benefit amount at any policy anniversary. Choosing indexed growth may feel risky, but based on past market performance, it’s a pretty safe risk.

The Bottom Line

You must have many thousands of dollars to invest in this type of long-term care insurance. If you do have that money, it’s a great vehicle for wealth preservation. Do take a look at life insurance/long-term care options from other companies, and compare prices and benefits.

9. USAA
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

USAA membership is open to active and former military, their eligible family members, cadets and midshipmen. The organization promises competitive rates on various types of insurance such as car, home and health. It also offers long-term care insurance, although its product is not proprietary. Rather, two companies, Genworth and John Hancock, provide the long-term care insurance.

Pros
  • USAA membership is free if you’re eligible and comes with perks such as travel deals
  • You may prefer going through USAA if you already use the organization for other financial needs such as checking and savings accounts, stocks and health/auto insurance
Cons
  • Eligibility for USAA membership is limited
  • Information on long-term care products is available via phone only, with lines closed on weekends (you can research the Genworth and John Hancock/ Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program products on their respective websites, though)
  • The USAA product is not exclusive

Pricing

Refer to earlier sections on Genworth and John Hancock for pricing information and other information.

The Bottom Line

Consumers hoping that USAA offers a distinctive LTC insurance product may be disappointed to discover that USAA’s products are really from Genworth and John Hancock. However, each company has great offerings. One may make sense for you.

10. Mutual of Omaha
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing Excellent

Mutual of Omaha is one of the biggest players in long-term care insurance, and its product is called MutualCare Secure Solution. The policy offers a nice number of optional benefits for plenty of customization.

Pros
  • 30% savings if you and your partner are issued under the same policy form; 15% savings if you’re married but your partner doesn’t purchase a policy; and 15% savings for good health
  • Option to elect a cash benefit instead of reimbursement
  • Standard benefits include waiver of premium (you don’t need to pay your premium while receiving long-term care services), home health care, facility care, care coordination, respite care, hospice care, international benefit for up to 12 months and alternate care (services that don’t exist today may be covered in the future if recommended by your care coordinator)
  • Optional benefits include inflation protection, shared care, security benefit, return of premium, waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits
  • Choose among monthly maximum benefit amounts from $1,500 to $10,000
Cons
  • 90, 180 or 365 calendar-day elimination periods (unless you receive cash benefits or opt for the waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits)
  • As with practically every LTC insurer, benefits won’t be paid if you require care resulting from self-inflicted injuries or if you need care as a result of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Similarly, the policy doesn’t cover doctor’s charges, lab charges, prescriptions, transportation or personal expenses

Pricing

You can estimate the cost of your policy on Mutual of Omaha’s website. Input your age, gender, ZIP code and marital status. You must also enter the monthly benefit amount you want the policy to pay. If you’re married, indicate whether your partner is interested in coverage.

Suppose you are a single female and 55 years old. You live in the 98926 ZIP code (Washington state). Your premium estimates are as follows: $87 a month for a $1,500 monthly benefit down the road; $146 a month for a $2,500 benefit; and $204 a month for a $3,500 benefit.

Regardless of insurer, you pay less in total premiums the younger you are when you sign up.

The Bottom Line

If your aim is robust coverage, Mutual of Omaha’s many optional riders provide that at a fairly competitive price. Of course, this insurer sells a high number of policies with many standard and optional benefits. It can get overwhelming, so be sure you understand what you’re signing up for (and not signing up for). Remember to get quotes from other companies.

How Does Long-Term Care Insurance Work?

The earlier you take out your policy, the cheaper the premiums are. For instance, it’s generally cheaper to start a policy in your 50s rather than your 70s. Expect to pay less overall even if you’ve been paying for a longer period.

The process generally works like this:

  1. A licensed health care practitioner, usually a nurse, teams up with a social worker to certify that you are chronically ill, called a benefit trigger. They recommend long-term care services and submit a plan of care. In most cases, you must need help with at least two activities of daily living (or have a cognitive impairment).
  2. Wait the elimination period for benefits to begin. Your policy sets out the length, and it is typically 30, 60 or 90 days. Sometimes, there is no elimination period. When there is one, you are responsible for paying the cost of services you receive. Check what your policy says, because some mandate that you must receive paid services during this time. You can’t simply wait out the elimination period and receive unpaid care.
  3. You begin to receive benefits. Most policies pay up to a pre-set daily amount. Other policies pay a cash amount for each day you meet the benefit trigger regardless of whether you receive services. The cash policies are more flexible but cost more.
  4. The insurance policy covers your care until the policy limit is reached.

Some states have partnership programs with benefits such as inflation protection and asset disregard. Asset disregard lets you retain more assets above the $2,000 Medicaid limit if you need Medicaid after your long-term care policy has been used up.

You’re generally not expected to pay premiums while you receive long-term care, but do check where your policy stands on this before signing.

What Type of Care Does Long-Term Care Insurance Pay For?

Long-term care insurance helps consumers pay for certain services related to the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, continence and transferring. If you’re no longer able to do at least two of these activities or have a cognitive impairment, long-term care insurance may help.

Seniors receive assistance in settings such as their homes, hospice care, adult day care, respite care, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and special care facilities (for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, for example). If you receive care at home, the policy usually covers personal care (bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.), occupational, speech, rehabilitation or physical therapy, and skilled nursing care.

Some policies cover informal care by friends and family members, while others do not. Most provide some sort of caregiver training.

Why is Long-Term Care Insurance Important for Seniors?

Standalone, conventional long-term care insurance is critical for several reasons. First, it can be essential for many married couples who want to ensure that one spouse can live adequately if the other has to go into a nursing home. Otherwise, bills from the nursing home could gut the healthy spouse’s finances, leaving him or her destitute with 10 or 20 years of life left. Second, it’s a way for individuals and couples to protect some of their assets to pass on to heirs. Third, long-term care insurance minimizes the amount of money that seniors’ children and other family members spend on their care. It’s something many seniors do to make life easier on their families.

Experts generally recommend looking into long-term care insurance if your non-home, non-car assets range from about $150,000 to $700,000. Below that window, Medicaid may be the better option, even paying for a spouse who needs long-term care without draining the healthy spouse’s resources. Above that win