What Is Private Long-Term Care Insurance, and Do You Need It?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

The crescendo of our life’s symphony often echoes with challenges we hadn’t anticipated. One such challenge, especially in our golden years, is the pressing need for long-term care. While government programs and personal savings might be your first thought, have you considered private long-term care insurance? By the end of this guide, you will know what it is, how it functions, and if it’s the safety net you’ve been seeking.

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The ABCs of Private Long-term Care Insurance

If you’re new to the concept, “What is private long-term care insurance?” might be the first question on your mind. At its core, private long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term services and support systems, ranging from personal to custodial care. Whether in-home care, a community organization, or a different facility, this insurance ensures you’re not footing the bill alone.

Example: Imagine Sarah, a retired schoolteacher. She’s been fiercely independent all her life but has recently been diagnosed with the condition that needs regular therapy and assistance at home. With her private long-term care insurance, she’s not constrained by financial burden, letting her choose the care she’s comfortable with.

Private Long-Term Care Insurance

The Mechanics: How Does Private Long-term Care Insurance Work?

It’s one thing to know about private long-term care insurance and entirely another to understand its workings. But, like any insurance, you pay premiums. In return, should you ever need long-term care, the insurance helps cover the costs. But remember, policies can vary, and it’s crucial to choose one that aligns with your potential needs.

Example: Let’s consider Mike, a 55-year-old businessman. He opts for a policy where he agrees to pay premiums for ten years. If Mike requires long-term care when he’s 70, his chosen policy will cover a specified daily amount for his care, thus relieving his family from potential financial stress.

What Is Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Deciphering the Need: Who Needs Private Long-term Care Insurance?

While we all hope to age gracefully without needing additional help, life can throw curveballs. The decision to invest in private long-term care insurance isn’t universal, but here are some indicators that might nudge you toward it:

  • Family health history: If your family has a track record of illnesses in their later years, you might want to be prepared.
  • Financial landscape: You might skip the insurance if you have substantial savings. But if an unforeseen long-term care need might strain your finances, insurance could be a safety blanket.
  • Personal preferences: You may have specific wishes for your later years, like a care facility or at-home assistance. Insurance can help ensure you get precisely what you want without compromising.

Example: Think of Lucy, a single woman with no children. She’s always been a planner, and while her savings are robust, she knows an unexpected long-term illness could destabilize her financial future. She also has a history of Alzheimer’s in the family. For Lucy, private long-term care insurance is less of a choice and more of a necessity.

Private Long-Term Care

Private Long-Term Care Insurance Carriers

Numerous insurance companies are offering private long-term care insurance policies. Some of the most reputable companies in the industry include:

When selecting an insurer, consider the financial stability, customer service, and claim approval rates.

Next Steps

Private long-term care insurance isn’t a mere financial decision—it’s a testament to how you envision your future. By understanding its essence and mechanics, you arm yourself with the knowledge to make an informed choice. Whether you opt for it or not, the aim remains the same: a future where the weight of your wallet doesn’t dictate the quality of care.

And remember, like all things in life, private long-term care demands you do your research, ask questions, and introspect about your needs. It’s not just about the now but about crafting a future where uncertainties are met with preparedness.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do only a few million people carry private long-term care insurance?

The low number of people with LTC insurance can mainly be attributed to the increasing premiums and decreasing policy benefits. As an illustration, individuals aged 55 to 64 paid an average annual premium of $1,900 in 2005, which rose to $2,600 in 2015.

Is long-term care insurance a waste of money?

For most people, getting a long-term care insurance policy is a good idea because it helps protect against the cost of the nursing home, assisted living, or custodial care. You could pay over $54,000 per year for these expenses if you don’t have coverage.

What is the downfall of long-term coverage?

Like all types of insurance, the most significant disadvantage of long-term care insurance is the possibility of paying premiums for many years without ever needing to use the coverage.

Who is the largest insurer of long-term care in the US?

New York Life Insurance Company, established in 1845, is the US’s most prominent mutual life insurance company. The company provides traditional long-term care insurance and plans to combine life and long-term care benefits.

What is the most expensive type of long-term care?

One of the reasons why people do not stay for an extended period in SNFs is their high cost, which is understandable given the skilled medical services and comprehensive care provided.

What percentage of your income should you spend on long-term care insurance?

The premium is no more than 7% of your monthly income to ensure affordable long-term care insurance. For instance, if you make $4,000 monthly, your long-term care insurance premium should not exceed $280 monthly.

Who pays the most for long-term care insurance?

To receive Medicaid coverage for long-term care services, your income must be below a specific level and meet your state’s eligibility criteria. Medicaid covers the majority of long-term care expenses.

Do long-term care premiums increase with age?

When you apply for long-term care insurance, your premiums depend on age. So as you get older, costs will go up on your birthday. Generally, in your 50s, the annual rate increases are around 2-4 percent, but once you reach your 60s, the rate jumps to 6-8 percent yearly.

What are four reasons people may purchase long-term care insurance?

The reason for taking action is to safeguard their financial resources from the expensive expenses of long-term care. In addition, they aim to secure their children’s inheritance, access affordable long-term care services such as home health and custodial care, increase their options, and cover nursing home care expenses if required.

Why might someone consider getting long-term care insurance?

Long-term care insurance is a policy that financially supports you when you require extended medical care due to a chronic condition or disability, like Alzheimer’s disease. It typically includes coverage for care provided at home and other healthcare facilities.

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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