Brighthouse Financial is a life insurance and annuity carrier operating under MetLife. Formed in 2017, Brighthouse Financial offers various products to help Americans plan and manage their financial futures. One of Brighthouse Financial’s most popular insurance offerings is SmartCare, a hybrid life insurance and long-term care (LTC) policy. In this guide, we’ll provide an in-depth review of Brighthouse Financial’s hybrid LTC offerings and help you decide if Brighthouse Financial is the right carrier for you.
Brighthouse Financial offers one life insurance plan with an LTC rider, known as SmartCare, but this plan can be customized to maximize growth potential and meet your needs. With SmartCare, you get both a guaranteed death benefit and automatic monthly cash indemnity if you require any of the following:
Your LTC benefits are paid out as soon as you become eligible to receive payments, which is 90 days from the date that your LTC begins. You receive the maximum monthly benefit applicable to your plan, regardless of the cost of your care. Since you aren’t required to provide receipts and are reimbursed with cash, you can use these funds to pay for LTC, housing, utilities, or any other expenses that arise. You can also set aside any unused funds for the future. Most hybrid LTC insurance carriers don’t offer a cash indemnity benefit, but Brighthouse Financial and Securian are two exceptions.
Additionally, every SmartCare hybrid plan comes with the following standard benefits:
While you don’t have to provide receipts to be reimbursed for LTC, you do need to provide proof from your physician that you meet the LTC requirements. That means your doctor will need to verify that you’re unable to perform at least two of the six activities of daily living (ADLs). Brighthouse Financial reserves the right to get a second opinion before your LTC period can begin, which may cause further delays.
FYI: If you want to compare the top hybrid LTC insurance carriers on the market, read our guide to the best hybrid LTC insurance for seniors.
SmartCare is best for older adults who don’t want to jump through hoops during the underwriting or claims processes. Once your eligibility for LTC care is confirmed, you can start getting your benefits within 90 days. Plus, those benefits are paid out up to your monthly maximum via a cash indemnity, meaning that you can use the funds as you see fit.
Brighthouse Financial offers riders aimed at increasing the value of your plan and ensuring that your LTC benefits keep up with the rising costs of care. Without any riders, your LTC benefit amount will stay the same over time. Alternatively, you can pay a higher premium to enjoy one of two different LTC benefit growth options:
You can also add riders related to your benefit period:
Like many LTC insurance carriers, Brighthouse Financial doesn’t offer much pricing transparency. You can’t get a quote online, and Brighthouse Financial doesn’t offer a cost calculator. Instead, you’ll need to contact Brighthouse Financial directly and begin the application process to receive an estimate. For comparison, if you purchase a Mutual of Omaha LTC plan, you can get an online estimate of your LTC insurance premium in seconds.
FYI: If you want to learn more about the cost of acquiring an LTC insurance plan, read our guide on the cost of long-term care insurance.
SmartCare plan costs can also increase based on the riders and payment period you choose. You can pay all of your premiums at once or spread them out over a period of up to five years. Even if you don’t choose additional riders and pay your premiums all at once, you can generally expect a hybrid policy to cost more than a comparable stand-alone LTC plan. According to data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the average annual cost of a stand-alone LTC plan for a 65-year-old could range anywhere from $1,700 to $7,225.1
Brighthouse Financial has a fast and simple underwriting process, particularly for applicants who are 65 years old or younger. First, you’ll undergo a phone interview. During the interview, you’ll need to provide the basics of your medical history and finances, as well as more detailed information about specific medications you use and the care you’ve received over the past 10 years.
After the phone interview, you’ll receive an electronic application that should take somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes to complete. This application requires you to provide clarification about any information that was unclear during the phone interview, plus your signature and HIPAA authorization. Once you submit the electronic application, you should expect a decision within 24 hours.
Brighthouse Financial offers SmartCare to applicants between the ages of 40 and 75, but if you’re 66 or older, the process is a little more involved. Along with the steps outlined above, you’ll need to undergo a cognitive assessment. This is an additional phone interview that may take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. During this screening, you will be tested to assess and identify any impairments related to attention, memory, learning, decision-making, and problem-solving. Depending on your age and medical history, you may be required to obtain an Attending Physician’s Statement as well. In this case, it might take up to four weeks to receive a decision.
Pro Tip: Not sure if you qualify for Brighthouse Financial hybrid LTC insurance? Check out the carrier’s prequalification checklist to assess your eligibility.
Though Brighthouse Financial’s underwriting process is a bit more time-consuming for older adults, it’s still comparatively simple and inclusive. For example, LTC carriers like Nationwide often require a full medical exam for all age groups and may deny applicants based on a wide range of preexisting conditions.
Brighthouse Financial has gotten mixed reviews from consumers, though it has received high marks from many third-party agencies. Here are a few ratings to consider from relevant agencies:
While these ratings indicate that Brighthouse Financial has stable finances and generally high trustworthiness as a business, it’s important to note that Brighthouse Financial doesn’t yet have a rating from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This is due to the fact that Brighthouse Financial is still relatively new, since it was founded in 2017. According to a study conducted by J.D. Power, Brighthouse Financial also ranked last out of 21 major insurance carriers for overall customer satisfaction.2
Did You Know? According to the Administration for Community Living, roughly 20 percent of older adults will need long-term care for five years or more.3
Brighthouse Financial makes it easy to apply for a hybrid LTC insurance plan and receive a quick decision from the carrier. Though all of its hybrid offerings fall under the umbrella of the SmartCare plan, there are plenty of ways to customize your coverage and grow your benefits over time. Limited pricing transparency can make it difficult to determine if a SmartCare plan works for your budget, but Brighthouse Financial gives you enough payment and customization options to keep your costs as low as possible.
When evaluating hybrid LTC plans, we focus on pricing, coverage, optional offerings, long-term value, and the benefits offered to older adults. We then compare these criteria to plans from other carriers. An LTC hybrid insurance policy should help reduce financial stress if you require care in the future, and offer a guaranteed death benefit if you don’t. If a plan offers solid coverage without breaking the bank, we believe it’s worth considering. If you’re currently looking for a quality LTC insurance plan (hybrid or stand-alone), visit our guide to the best long-term care insurance plans!
MetLife separated its U.S.-based life insurance offerings and formed Brighthouse Financial to provide these products to American consumers.
Brighthouse Financial has strong ratings from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s, indicating that there is a very low chance of bankruptcy or other financial trouble within the coming years.
No, SmartCare and other Brighthouse Financial insurance products are not FDIC-insured.
Brighthouse Financial offers term, whole, and hybrid life insurance policies.
Administration for Community Living. (2023, Aug 31). How Much Care Will You Need?
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. (2022). Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Costs.
J.D. Power. (2021, Oct 14). Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds.