National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL) entered the long-term care (LTC) insurance market to give adults a chance to anticipate and better manage long-term care expenses. After all, they can get expensive! Long-term care has a median cost of $4,500 to $9,034 per month in the U.S.1 NGL’s EssentialLTC product helps cover the expenses of in-home and out-of-home care that are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other benefit programs.
Below, we’ll take a look at what National Guardian Life Insurance Company’s long-term care plan offers, including some pros and cons, the cost, and your options.
Did You Know? Long-term care is more than just nursing home stays. Read our guide to long-term care for seniors to learn more.
NGL’s long-term care product is called EssentialLTC. You choose how comprehensive the policy is based on your needs.
You must decide if you want:
Comprehensive Care covers care and services inside and outside of your home; for example, adult day care, nursing home care, assisted living, hospice care, and hiring a home health aide. Facility Care Services Only is just what you think. It covers only the care that you receive in a facility, such as a nursing home.
The Facility Care Services Only policy is available in most states that National Guardian Life serves. To see what’s available in your state, view the product brochure by state or the policy variations by state on the NGL website.
Both plan types pay out benefits when the policyholder is deemed chronically ill by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Then, you’re eligible for reimbursement of up to the Daily Benefit Amount that you choose for all covered services. However, you can’t double dip. So, if Medicare covers your nursing home stay, your long-term care insurance policy pays a reduced amount.
The issue age for this plan is 40 to 79. Other companies, such as Mutual of Omaha and Thrivent, offer more flexible issue ages. For example, Mutual of Omaha starts at 30.
All base policies include:
FYI: Want to learn more about emergency response systems? Take a look at our top recommendation for medical alert systems in 2023.
The following benefits are also included in your policy, but you must choose exactly what you want.
If you choose EssentialLTC, you can add a number of different riders to your policy. This feature really sets EssentialLTC apart! Let’s take a look at what’s available:3
FYI: An insurance rider increases or decreases your policy’s coverage. It lets you customize the policy to best meet your needs.
Unlike other providers we’ve reviewed, such as Mutual of Omaha, National Guardian Life doesn’t offer transparent pricing. There isn’t an online cost estimator tool or example quotes available online. Instead, you’ll need to contact the customer service team or work with an independent agent or broker.
That being said, National Guardian Life does have a reputation for offering competitive pricing. Specific riders and benefits you choose, your medical history, your age, and other factors all affect the cost of your LTC policy. For example, a non-smoker typically pays less for long-term care insurance than a smoker.
Plus, you should keep in mind that the Essential LTC product is a stand-alone long-term care insurance policy. It’s not a hybrid policy with a death benefit, such as a bundled long-term care and life insurance policy. That means if you never need long-term care, you lose out on all of the premiums you paid. There won’t be a refund or a death benefit sent to your beneficiary unless you add a rider that adds those benefits.
To help make your plan more affordable, National Guardian Life offers several flexible payment options:
If you sign up for a policy with a spouse or sibling who resides in the same house, you might be eligible for a joint discount.4 Under the joint pricing structure, the premium that covers both of you would be similar to what one person would pay individually. This makes National Guardian Life an enticing choice for couples!
FYI: Entering your later years with a partner? Take some time to learn about different senior living options for couples. Even if you have different care needs, you can still age together!
National Guardian Life undergoes a thorough underwriting process. Underwriters evaluate your functionality, cognitive ability, and medical history. They’re assessing how risky it is to take you on as an insured client. If you’re currently facing health issues or struggle with activities like climbing stairs or grocery shopping, you could find yourself paying a higher premium.
The whole process takes an average of 35 days and includes the following key steps:
Specific factors that NGL underwriters look at are:
The majority of individuals who qualify as insurable are part of the Premier rate class. NGL estimates that 90 percent of applicants qualify for this rate class, which would be the lowest premiums available. The other 10 percent of qualifying applicants might receive coverage with an increased premium.
Companies put their best foot forward on their own website, so it’s always a great idea to see what third parties have to say. National Guardian Life ranks well on sites like A.M. Best, NAIC, and the Better Business Bureau, indicating that it’s able to meet its financial obligations, like paying out your benefits. Below, we’ll compare National Guardian Life’s ratings to those of other popular LTC carriers.
|National Guardian Life||Mutual of Omaha||Thrivent||Northwestern Mutual|
|A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating||A (Excellent)||A+ (Superior)||A++(Superior)5||A++ (Superior)6|
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||A+||A+||A+||A-|
|NAIC Complaint Index Report||0||0.21||0.08||0.03|
Although the company ranks well with its financial capabilities, its customer service may not be as consistent. Customer reviews of National Guardian Life indicate some issues with communication and timely responses.
NGL offers a customizable LTC policy that’s especially cost-effective for couples. It’s no wonder it made our list of best LTC policies in 2023! With EssentialLTC, you have control over the benefit period, the daily benefit amount, the elimination period, and riders. Making these choices might be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with insurance jargon and policies, but the freedom of choice can ultimately help ensure that you get and pay for what you need. And, since NGL works with a network of independent agents and brokers, you can speak with an expert to help you create a policy that fits your budget and needs. Overall, it’s a solid choice for older adults who are looking to prepare for their care needs later in life.
When reviewing National Guardian Life Insurance Company’s EssentialLTC product, we looked at the built-in and optional features, as well as the numerous riders. We also considered the underwriting process, discounts, availability, cost transparency, and ease of application. Together, our findings informed the star rating out of five and helped us determine how well EssentialLTC can meet the needs of older adults.
Yes. The comprehensive plan or facility-only plan covers 100 percent of qualifying nursing home costs up to your daily benefit amount.
EssentialLTC policies are for those age 40 to 79, although the age range may differ between states.
No. Joint pricing is available to couples who reside in the same household, as well as relatives who belong to the same generation; for example, siblings who live in the same home.
The elimination period for your LTC plan can vary from 30 to 180 days. It’ll depend on what you choose or what options are available to you based on underwriting or what state you live in.
Genworth. (2022, Jun 2). Cost of Care Survey.
Internal Revenue Service. Certain Exchanges of Insurance Policies.
National Guardian Life. (2022, Jun). Long Term Care Insurance Coverage.
National Guardian Life. (2022, Feb). Joint/Shared Benefits Brochure.
AM Best. (2022, Jun 29). AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
AM Best. (2021, May 6). AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and Its Subsidiary.