Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Nursing Home Costs?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Given the rising healthcare costs and an aging population, the question “Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Nursing Home Costs?” is crucial and timely. However, the answer isn’t as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ It depends on the type of insurance, the coverage plan, and various other factors. Let’s break it down by the most common types of insurance people generally consider for nursing home care.

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What Types Of Insurance Pay For Nursing Home Care?

Before you assume your current insurance will cover a long-term nursing home stay, let’s dissect your options. Trust me; you’ll thank yourself later for knowing this now.

Health Insurance

In most cases, standard health insurance plans offer limited coverage for nursing home care. They may cover short-term stays that are medically necessary, often following hospitalization for surgery or an acute medical event, but they usually won’t cover long-term or custodial care.

Example: Jake had private health insurance and assumed it would cover his mother’s Alzheimer’s care. He learned the hard way that it didn’t, and the out-of-pocket costs were staggering.

Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Nursing Homes


Medicare provides some coverage for nursing home care but is entirely restricted. Under Medicare Part A, you may be eligible for up to 100 days of skilled nursing facility care under specific conditions, such as after a qualifying hospital stay. After the first 20 days, you’ll also have a co-payment.

Example: Mary had a fall and broke her hip. Medicare-covered her rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility but stopped paying after 20 days, leaving her to cover the remaining cost.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is the most comprehensive option for covering nursing home costs. This type of insurance is tailor-made for extended nursing home stays, among other long-term care options.

Example: Bill had a long-term care insurance policy, and when he had to move into a nursing home due to Parkinson’s disease, his policy covered most of the costs.


Medicaid, the joint federal and state program for low-income Americans, can also cover long-term nursing home stays. However, to be eligible for Medicaid, you must meet specific income and asset requirements, which vary by state.

Example: If you have limited income and assets, Medicaid may cover the cost of a long-term stay in a Medicaid-approved nursing home facility.

Does Ltc Insurance Cover Nursing Home

What Is Generally Not Covered

  • Custodial care, or help with day-to-day activities like bathing and dressing, is usually not covered by private health insurance or Medicare.
  • Pre-existing conditions might exclude you from being eligible for long-term care insurance.
Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Nursing Home

Pros And Cons Of Using Long-Term Care Insurance To Pay For Nursing Home Care

Like anything, long-term care insurance has its ups and downs.


  • Financial Relief: This is the big one. Long-term care is expensive, folks.
  • Choice of Facility: You’ll have more options on where you or your loved one can receive care.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you’re covered can lift a mountain of stress from your shoulders.


  • Costly Premiums: The payments can be a heavy lift for many.
  • Limited Coverage: There may be caps on daily benefits or the duration of the coverage.
  • Example: Karen had a long-term care insurance policy but was surprised that it only covered $150 per day, while her nursing home costs were over $200 per day.
Does Ltci Cover Nursing Home

Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Nursing Home Costs: Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and you’re now armed with the facts to make an informed decision on nursing home care insurance. The reality is that relying solely on Medicare or private health insurance to cover long-term care costs is a dicey proposition. While not perfect, long-term care insurance offers the most comprehensive coverage available. It gives you options and keeps you in the driver’s seat, precisely where you want to be when making life-changing decisions like this one. It’s your future, after all. Why leave it to chance?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does long-term care insurance cover all nursing home costs?

No, long-term care insurance typically doesn’t cover all nursing home costs. Coverage depends on the policy’s terms and benefits. Some costs might be out-of-pocket, and there could be daily or lifetime limits on benefits. Always check the specifics of an individual policy.

How can I determine if my long-term care policy will cover a specific nursing home?

Review your policy details or consult with your insurance provider. Ensure the nursing home meets the policy’s defined criteria and is not listed under any exclusions. Some policies might also have preferred networks or require specific certifications for coverage.

What happens if I never need nursing home care but have a long-term care policy?

If you never need nursing home care and have a long-term care policy, you typically won’t receive any benefits. Some policies, however, may offer a return of premium or death benefit. It’s essential to check your policy’s terms or consult with your insurance provider for specifics.

How long does coverage last for nursing home care under long-term care insurance?

Coverage duration for nursing home care under long-term care insurance varies by policy. Typical durations are 2, 3, 5 years or even lifetime coverage. The specific length will depend on the policy’s benefit period chosen at purchase. Always refer to your policy for precise terms.

Are there any exclusions or limitations to nursing home coverage under a long-term care policy?

Yes, long-term care policies often have exclusions or limitations. These include pre-existing conditions, waiting or elimination periods, and specific mental disorders. Additionally, some policies might only cover certified facilities or those meeting specific standards. It’s crucial to read your policy’s terms to understand these limitations.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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