Commonly Asked Questions About Long-Term Care

Q. What is the best way to learn how I should be looking at Long-Term Care Insurance?

A. By speaking directly with a Long-Term Care Specialist who can show you how the issue of long term care would apply to you. The Representatives from the programs being offered are Long-Term Care Specialists with a minimum of 8 years experience. They are certified for various state Partnership programs and the all hold an insurance industry designation, Certified for Long-Term Care by the Board of Standards for the Corporation for Long-Term care certification. Specialists can be reached by calling 800.LTC.2889.

Q. Why should I invest in Long-Term care insurance coverage?

A. The preceding presentation discussed the importance of protecting your retirement income and family from the costs of Long-Term care. Simply put, Long-Term care insurance provides the dollars to pay the costs for Long-Term care services; home care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, that you would otherwise have to pay for out of your own pocket.

Q. What if I never want to go to a nursing home?

A. Most people never want to go into a nursing home and would prefer to stay at home. People with chronic illnesses can be cared for in their own homes when the monies are available to pay for the care families cannot always provide. Long-Term care insurance provides the dollars to help your family provide the care you may need, where you need it - in your own home.

Q: What is the best way to calculate how much coverage I should buy?

A: You should buy only the level of coverage that you can afford. That being said, no one knows what your Long-Term care needs will be however some coverage is always better than none. Your daily benefit should equal the cost of care in the area you are likely to receive care in plus whatever portion of your income you choose to use toward the cost of care. Example – the cost of an 8 hour shift of basic home care needs in the Greater Boston area is $165. In retirement, if you could afford to pay $20 per day toward the $165 daily cost of care then the home care portion of your policy should cover at least $145.

Although not a factor in determining the amount of coverage you should have, you should seriously consider purchasing inflation protection or an option to guarantee to add more benefit to your policy later on to account for the rising cost of health care.

Q: How long a benefit period should I choose?

A: Again, it is always important to look at what premium is affordable now and in the future. Long-Term Care Specialists will always advise that it is better to have a ‘short & fat’ policy (e.g.$250 per day, 3 yr. benefit) over a ‘long and lean’ (e.g.$125 per day, 6yr benefit) policy because most Long-Term care needs last on average 3-4 years. With a ‘short & fat’ policy you have the ability to draw up to the daily amount you have chosen and if your needs are less than the daily amount, the difference stays in your policy which makes your policy last longer.  

Q: How does my health history affect the cost of the insurance?

It takes two things to buy Long-Term care insurance – good health and dollars to pay the premium. Your health history determines your ability to qualify for coverage.

Under the program being offered by your employer or association, you may be able to apply under an abbreviated health screening which would limit the health questions being asked of you to determine coverage. For a more detailed answer on if you qualify call the Long-Term care insurance service center at 800.LTC.2889.