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Best Long Term Care Insurance in 2020

Our experts have researched 13 long term care insurance providers and recommend 10 of the best options for seniors.

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Top 10 Highest Ranked Long-Term Care Insurance For 2020

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.

Best Long Term Care Insurance Plans for 2020

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.

13
Plans considered
2
Experts consulted
10
Plans selected
25
Hours of research
  • 1. Mutual of Omaha
    Ease of use Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing

    Mutual of Omaha is one of the leading companies in long-term care insurance. Its product is called Mutual Care Secure Solution. Mutual of Omaha’s policy offers many optional benefits, allowing seniors to truly customize to suit individual needs.

    Pros
    • Monthly maximum benefit amounts range from $1,500 to $10,000
    • Option to choose cash benefit over reimbursement
    • Standard benefits include facility care, respite care, hospice care, care coordination, home health care, alternate care, international benefit for up to 12 months, and waiver of premium (no need to pay premium while receiving long-term care services)
    • Optional benefits include return of premium, shared care, security benefit, inflation protection, and waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits
    • 15% savings for good health, 15% savings if you are married but your partner doesn’t buy a policy, and 30% savings if both you and your partner are issued under the same policy
    Cons
    • Policy does not cover doctor’s charges, transportation, personal expenses, lab charges, or prescriptions
    • 90, 180, or 365 calendar-day elimination periods unless you choose cash benefits or waiver of elimination period for home health care benefits
    • Benefits won’t be paid if you need care resulting from self-inflicted injuries

    Pricing

    Get a rough estimate cost of your policy on Mutual of Omaha’s website by sharing your age, gender, zip code, and marital status. If you are married, indicate whether your partner is also interested in coverage. Finally, be sure to input the monthly benefit amount you want the policy to cover. Keep in mind that regardless of insurer, you will pay less in total premiums the younger you are when you sign up.

    Bottom Line

    If you are looking for an insurance company that offers a plethora of standard and optional benefits, then Mutual of Omaha may provide the robust coverage you are seeking. On the other hand, having so many different options available to you can get overwhelming. Before committing, be sure to gain a clear understanding of what you are and aren’t signing up for, and get quotes from other companies as well.

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

    Transamerica’s long-term care policy is TransCare III. Similar to Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica offers plenty of standard benefits and optional riders. However, unlike Mutual of Omaha, it is more tedious to get premium estimates online.

    Pros
    • 10% preferred health discount, 15% discount for married individual with partner opting out, up to 30% discount for couples with both individuals on the plan
    • 0, 30, 60, 90, 180, or 365-day elimination periods
    • Benefit amounts range from $18,250 to $1,095,000, with maximum daily benefit ranging from $50 to $500
    • Standard benefits include hospice care, home care, adult day care, respite care, long-term care facility, three-year rate guarantee, accident, alternate plan of care with coordinator approval, waiver of premium, return of premium upon death before age 67, and cash
    • Optional riders include nonforfeiture, joint waiver of premium, return of premium upon death, elimination period credit, shared care, monthly benefit, one-time full restoration of benefits, and the ability to increase options to keep up with inflation
    Cons
    • California rates are especially high
    • The savings for shared care (for married couples) may not be as great as other insurers

    Pricing

    For pricing information, you will have to get in touch with an agent. Unlike Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica does not have an online estimator. One thing to note is that premium rates vary by gender. Since women tend to live longer, they have higher long-term care expenses.

    While costs are not found on Transamerica’s website, The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance lists three TransCare III pricing estimates. A married couple aged 60 and 61 with a benefit amount of $162,000 each is responsible for paying a yearly premium of $2,242. On the other hand, a single male who is 57 years old pays $989. A single female the same age pays $1,507. These estimates do not factor in inflation protection.

    Bottom Line

    If you live outside of California, you can expect Transamerica to provide relatively affordable policies with a good amount of options to choose from. Even though it’s not possible to get a quote from Transamerica’s website directly yet, you can get a rough idea of costs with the estimates above.

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

    MassMutual had very attractive LTC premium rates for a very long time, but raised many of its premiums by 77%, resulting in expected shock from consumers. However, the company is mindful and more realistic about the considerations that go into affording long-term care now. This means that future premium increases should not be as steep.

    The company is most known for their SignatureCare 500 policy. This policy comes in a base and comprehensive version. The base policy covers only facility services like assisted living, while the comprehensive one covers home care, too.

    MassMutual offers a combined long-term care and life insurance policy, which is ideal for seniors with lots of wealth and assets that they want to preserve for their heirs if long-term care doesn’t end up being necessary.

    Pros
    • 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6-year benefit periods
    • No future period is required in the USA once initial elimination period is satisfied
    • Standard benefits with comprehensive policy include respite care, emergency response, caregiver training, ambulance services, community-based services, premium waiver, alternative plan of care, and some coverage outside of USA
    • Optional riders include shared care, inflation protection, paid-up survivor benefit, home and community-based services monthly benefit, community-based services elimination of period, waiver of premium for covered partner, and enhanced elimination period
    • 5% discount on LTC premiums per year if you have life insurance, disability insurance, or annuity contracts at MassMutual, 15% discount if one spouse in a marriage is insured, 30% discount if both spouses in a marriage get insured
    Cons
    • Pricing information is not readily available on the MassMutual website
    • Care provided by family and friends do not get reimbursed
    • To get properly insured, you must consult with a MassMutual advisor to discuss your situation
    • 30, 60, 90, or 180-day elimination periods (though there is a rider to waive period for home and community-based services available)

    Pricing

    Similar to other insurers, rates are highly dependent on gender with MassMutual. The company prefers that seniors pay premiums either semi-annually or annually. There is an additional charge for people who choose to pay monthly or quarterly. MassMutual may credit your policy with dividends that lower the premiums you’re responsible for, and expand the benefits pool. However, they are not guaranteed, and it’s typical that you must have had your policy for at least 11 years to start receiving dividends. Daily benefit amounts for care ranges from $50 to $400 per day and increase in $10 increments.

    Bottom Line

    Seniors looking for long-term coverage may take advantage of MassMutual’s 6-year period offering. Otherwise, there are plenty of other options to consider. Keep in mind that your benefits can be restored more than once as long as you have not used up your total benefit amount. The enhanced elimination period rider may save you some money in the long run. For example, if you only use services for one day in a seven-day period, you can get the full week counted towards the elimination period.

  • 4. Nationwide
    Ease of use Above Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing

    Nationwide provides reliable long-term care coverage that can give seniors peace of mind and help whenever needed in the future, even in the comfort of their own homes. Their policy, CareMatters is a long-term care coverage that is linked to a fixed-premium universal life insurance policy. It includes a death benefit. People love Nationwide because it provides flexibility, choice, and control when it comes to covering potential long-term care costs.

    Pros
    • Informal caregivers such as family, friend, or neighbor can be paid
    • Once qualified, you don’t have to submit monthly bills and receipts
    • Guaranteed to receive 100% of your monthly cash benefit, and you can pay for your care as you see fit
    • Beneficiary will receive 20% minimum death benefit, guaranteed – even if you use every dollar of the money allotted for long-term health care costs
    • If you end up not needing long-term care, your beneficiary will receive policy’s full death benefit, which is equal to or greater than the premiums you paid
    Cons
    • No clear pricing information available on website
    • Must speak with an agent to get pricing

    Pricing

    To find out information on pricing, you will need to speak with a Nationwide agent. From there, you’ll determine whether it makes sense to get long-term care coverage, and how much that will be. You can call to get a quote.

    Bottom Line

    If you are looking for long-term care insurance that is flexible, consider Nationwide’s range of long-term care solutions. From riders on life insurance policies that accelerate the death benefit to a comprehensive long-term care insurance linked benefit in excess of the policy’s death benefit plus an inflation protection benefit – you will be covered!

  • 5. Aetna
    Ease of use Above Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing

    While Medicare has been the standard insurance for aging individuals, it does have limitations. This is where Aetna Medicare Supplement insurance comes in, to cover deductibles and other costs that are not covered by Medicare. Aetna has five distinct plans to cover skilled nursing care, medical expenses, and hospital costs. Three of the five plans extend coverage outside of the United States.

    Pros
    • Five different plans to suit different needs
    • Range of prices to accommodate every budget
    • Supplemental Medicare plans, which means that Medicare supplement policies can never be cancelled regardless of your medical conditions
    Cons
    • Cannot enroll online
    • Written letter must be submitted to cancel policy
    • Must call local agent or the number on Aetna’s website to apply for Medicare Supplement Plan

    Pricing

    Aetna has Medicare supplement policy rates on their website. On Aetna’s Medicare supplement plan state search page, pick your state to see if they offer a plan in your area. If they do, click on the state and scroll down. Select the state again to get a PDF document outlining the pricing in your area. On average, Aetna’s rates are slightly lower than the national median.

    Plan costs will vary depending on different things like state of residence, age, health status, and whether you choose to bundle benefits like vision and medical discount plans with a Medigap policy.

    Bottom Line

    Retirees with chronic medical conditions can avoid having their unexpected medical bills wiped out from their retirement savings by choosing Aetna Medicare supplement insurance. With five different plans to choose from, you’ll likely be able to find the right balance of affordability and coverage.

  • 6. OneAmerica
    Ease of use Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing

    OneAmerica’s Asset-Care is a hybrid long-term care insurance policy with useful benefits for seniors. For example, there is a tax-free death benefit for survivors if you only use some of the benefits, or none at all. It also pays for quality care wherever you need it, including in your home! Coverage extends beyond the home in settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day care centers. You may also get access to respite care, hospice care, supportive equipment, and caregiver training. It is possible to purchase a policy for yourself individually, or as a couple if you are married.

    Pros
    • There are several payment options
    • Death benefit goes to beneficiaries if you don’t use the insurance
    • Customer portal is easy to use on their website
    • Tax shelter
    • Asset-Care long-term care insurance benefits will never change, and premiums will never increase
    Cons
    • No sample pricing on their website
    • Asset-care quotes not available on OneAmerica site

    Pricing

    Long-term care insurance costs vary from state to state, so OneAmerica’s website provides state-specific long-term care expense data. To find out specific costs where you live, you will have to speak with a representative to get a quote for Asset-Care policies that will meet your needs.

    Using Asset-Care to pay for your long-term care expenses is a smart alternative to relying on your savings or paying out of pocket. Below are some sample costs of a 65 year old couple looking to ensure long term care is available when they need it, without totally sacrificing their retirement income.

    A report by OneAmerica Long-Term Care Protection Studies indicated that having long-term care insurance can significantly reduce out-of-pocket medical costs. For example, someone relying solely on savings with a long-term care total cost of $765,949 would be responsible for that full amount with no potential death benefit. Someone with that same amount under traditional LTC insurance would pay $256,765 out-of-pocket, which is much lower than the full $765,949. Finally, someone with asset-care LTC insurance would be responsible for $237,566 with a potential death benefit of $125,000.

    Bottom Line

    OneAmerica’s long-term care insurance plans are designed to ease the financial and emotional burden that comes with expensive long-term care for seniors and their loved ones. For most, getting older means deteriorating health in the later years. Having long-term care insurance in place helps to manage costs for care and assistance.

  • 7. Lincoln Financial
    Ease of use Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Average
    Pricing

    Lincoln Financial offers both life and group protection insurance, annuities, retirement planning services, and long-term care insurance. Their MoneyGuard II long-term care insurance is a hybrid life insurance policy combined with long-term care benefits. The great thing about this policy is that the payout is available to your beneficiaries if you don’t use up all or any of your long-term care benefits. In other words, if you are an active, healthy senior, but still want to have long-term care insurance to be on the safe side, you won’t have to worry about getting no return on your premiums if you stay healthy until death.

    Pros
    • No medical exam required
    • Federally tax-qualified
    • 98% of claims paid within 3 days
    • Residual death benefit or return of premium options available
    • Caregiver training is covered
    Cons
    • Hybrid plans tend to be more expensive than long-term care-only plans

    Pricing

    The costs associated with long-term care insurance with Lincoln Financial varies on a variety of factors like age, gender, marital status, and benefits selected. The company is currently in the process of rolling out Lincoln MoneyGuard III, which is going to replace MoneyGuard II. The new policy will be priced higher, between 5% and 18% depending on the factors mentioned. To lock in Lincoln MoneyGuard II pricing, applications must be submitted by November 1, 2019.

    Bottom Line

    Naturally, many retirees start to worry about the costs for long-term care. The significant expenses associated with it puts seniors at risk of losing their savings, and even placing burden on their kids if they have any. The good news is that Lincoln Financial’s MoneyGuard II prepares seniors for their future long-term care needs with the option of a death benefit, or premium returns if you don’t end up needing to use the benefits.

  • 8. National Guardian
    Ease of use Average
    Service & Response Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing

    National Guardian Life EssentialLTC offers two options when it comes to long-term care. Seniors can look into either getting insurance for facility care or comprehensive care, depending on their needs. Facility care would entail benefits for services received in settings like assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Comprehensive care is more flexible with where you receive care. Both of these plans have benefit length options for two or three years. Extension riders bring the benefits up to four, five, or six years, or a lifetime.

    Pros
    • Inflation protection and strong premium return options
    • Caregiver training provided
    • No tax on long-term care distributions
    • Flexible choices for home care or facility/community care
    • Reimburses up to $50 per month for a medical alert system
    Cons
    • Non-duplication of benefits clause applies

    Pricing

    National Guardian’s EssentialLTC long-term care insurance plan can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. You also have the option of making a one-time lump sum payment if that is preferred. Keep in mind that the availability of this insurance plan may or may not be available depending on where you live, and costs may vary depending on factors like state of residence, age, and gender, for example. To see whether National Guardian’s EssentialLTC long-term care insurance plan is right for you, contact your financial professional.

    Both facility and comprehensive care is available with National Guardian Essential LTC long-term care insurance. Both of these options are federally tax qualified, have premium returns, and shared benefits. The daily benefits for facility care range from $50 to $300 in $10 increments, while the daily benefits for comprehensive care range from $50 to $300 in $10 increments. Facility care covers the reservation cost of a facility bed for up to 30 days per calendar year. However, it does not include the first day home or community care rider, while these services waive the elimination period if you opt for comprehensive care.

    Bottom Line

    The costs for long-term care has gone from $30 billion to $225 billion in the United States between 2010 and 2015. This goes to show that the elderly definitely need reliable insurance to manage the hefty costs for long-term care. National Guardian Life EssentialLTC is designed to help mitigate financial stress and tackle healthcare costs for retirees. It even offers discounts and special pricing for clients looking for joint coverage.

  • 9. New York Life
    Ease of use Average
    Service & Response Average
    Features & Tech Average
    Pricing

    If you are looking for a long-term care insurance policy with lingo similar to that of health insurance, New York Life My Care may be worth considering. Compared to other insurers, their policy may be easier to understand. NYL My Care has a one-time deductible. Insured seniors draw from a pool of money instead of time periods like two or five years. You still get monthly maximum benefits, and a monthly reimbursement rate of 80%. In other words, you would be responsible for paying 20% of costs out of pocket, just like you would in coinsurance.

    Similar to MassMutual, New York Life is a mutual insurer. This means that the dividends may lead to eventual savings. Clients enrolled in NYL Secure Care become eligible for dividends by the 11th year. The dividends may end up in no out-of-pocket premiums after your retirement in 20-30 years.

    Pros
    • Four package options available (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum)
    • 10% discount for one person in a marriage who gets insurance, 25% discount for the first year for married couples with both parties getting insured
    • Policy riders include waiver of premium, shared care, legacy benefit, inflation protection, and more
    • Family & friends providing in-home care can receive reimbursement
    Cons
    • There is a 20% coinsurance under NYL My Care, requiring seniors to take on more financial planning than totally necessary

    Pricing

    New York Life gave pricing quotes in 2018 for a 55-year-old married male covered under each of their four programs. In Bronze, he would be responsible for a monthly premium of $24.93; in Silver, he would pay $49.86; in Gold, it would cost $84.65; in Platinum, it would be $119.45. Keep in mind that these rates do not factor in inflation protection, but does factor in the 25% partner’s discount.

    Bottom Line

    Seniors are partial to New York Life because their long-term care insurance options are easier to understand and follow. NYL Secure Care ensures that older people have financial peace of mind, while receiving the care they need to thrive in their final years.

  • 10. John Hancock
    Ease of use Average
    Service & Response Average
    Features & Tech Average
    Pricing

    John Hancock offers long-term care insurance exclusively for seniors that either work or have worked (retired) for the federal government or U.S. postal service in some capacity, or meet qualifying criteria if your relative is an employee.

    Pros
    • Keep your coverage even if you resign government job
    • There is an unlimited benefit period available
    • Informal care via relatives covered for up to 500 days
    • Satisfy 90-calendar-day waiting period only once in your lifetime and take advantage of waiver of premium
    • Standard features include international benefits, respite care, multiple inflation protection options, bed reservations, no war exclusion, and alternate plan of care if approved by coordinators
    Cons
    • There is no shared care option
    • New policy holders won’t be able to go with John Hancock for insurance unless they get it through a federal program
    • Recently, premium increases hit some policyholders hard

    Pricing

    There are eight daily benefit amounts ranging from $100 to $450 if you go with John Hancock. If you are looking to keep premium costs low and pay out of pocket for some care, then consider their two-year benefit period. There are also three and five-year, and unlimited periods.

    There are four John Hancock plans to choose from (Plans A, B, C, D). Each has a 90-calendar-day waiting period and different inflation protection options. If none of these plans suit you and you prefer to customize, you can do that too.

    Premiums are lowest under the prepackaged Plan A, which includes a daily benefit amount of $150 for two years, with a maximum lifetime benefit of $109,500. A new client who is 55 years old can expect to pay approximately $101.62, $133.09, or $43.13 in monthly premiums, depending on the inflation protection options selected. A 65 year old senior would be responsible for $173.37, $208.79, or $85.62.

    Plan D has a higher premium, but offers a daily benefit amount of $200 for 5 years, with a maximum lifetime benefit of $365,000. A 55 year old individual can expect to pay approximately $274.88, $371.63, or $104.41. A 65 year old senior would be responsible for $441.27, $545.56, or $231.09.

    As far as pricing goes, John Hancock is pretty reasonable, and competitive with other insurers.

    Bottom Line

    If you are single and qualify to get long-term care insurance with John Hancock, it is probably going to be a pretty solid bet. Another big plus with this company is that they offer an unlimited benefit period, which is almost unheard of with other insurers. John Hancock has four prepackaged options that make it easier for people to decide which is best for them, along with features like informal care and 80% coverage for international care.

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