Long-Term Care Insurance

Feb 01, 2024

Buying insurance under normal circumstances is a tricky business. You don’t know how much coverage you need. Plus, you don’t know if and when you will need that coverage. That’s how the insurance game works. You pay a certain amount for protection when you do go through medical injury or surgery and need care. The insurance companies make their money from your premiums and pay out claims as required by the policy when medical injury or surgery needs approved coverage.

Is there such a thing as insurance for long term care? How does insurance work for long-term care? These are great questions. Yes, there is such a thing as purchasing insurance for long-term custodial care. This type of insurance covers the costs accrued by caring for chronic illnesses or various disabilities. The claims pay for everything from home health care to skilled nursing care for months or even years.

This sort of insurance works like regular insurance—you pay a premium and claim the insurance when you or your loved one is diagnosed with the chronic malady or disability—to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as home health care or skilled nursing facilities. There is usually a waiting period of 90 to 120 days that is used like a deductible, where you have to wait to receive the out-of-pocket benefits.

According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the average couple, age 60, should expect to pay an average of $3,335 per year to pay out on a plan that gives $150 of coverage per day over a three-year period. Prices and pay outs go up as the recipients get older. A 65 year old couple would expect to pay an average $4,433 for the same coverage.

This insurance does show some benefits, particularly to individuals who have no children, are 60 or older, and have little or no retirement savings—as long as any chronic illness can be treated within the time frame allotted by the insurance company.

Why is it so expensive? Insurers don’t know how much a claim is going to be—how much time and care is needed for a long-term care patient. Generally, these plans pay out only over a three-year period for that reason. You should also consider that many of these plans don’t have surrender clauses, where you would get money back if you never need a claim during the period of insurance. You might pay and pay, only to see no return if you don’t qualify for care.

There is also the issue of rate hikes that some people who have the insurance, cannot continue paying. Should they continue to scrape to pay for the potential benefits, or get rid of the insurance and have no benefit at all?

If you are looking for such an option, consider carefully whether you should invest in retirement accounts, like a 401K, reverse mortgages, or a long-term care plan.

The Family Caregiver’s Newsletter articles are created for Active Daily Living by leading experts in aging and also The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, a nationally recognized leader addressing the most important issues of aging through service, research and advocacy. As a champion for older adults, BRIA works to advance their health, independence and dignity. The organization has established itself as a trusted resource for people who counsel, care for and advocate on behalf of older adults throughout the U.S. – See more at: http://www.benrose.org