Long Term Care Insurance

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about "70% of people turning age 65 can expect some form of long term care services during their lives"1. "Because women generally outlive men by several years, they face a 50% greater likelihood than men of entering a nursing home after age 65"2.

Though older people use the most long term care services, a young or middle-aged person who has been in an accident or suffered a debilitating illness might also need it. "In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that 40% of the 13 million people receiving long term care services are between the ages of 18 and 64"3.


What is Long Term Care Insurance?

Long term care insurance (LTCI) helps cover the costs of custodial care, most of which are not covered by healthcare insurance or Medicare. This insurance helps you spend less of your own money on assistance services, keep more of your assets for your, your spouse’s, or your partner's use and potentially have assets to leave to your beneficiaries. Coverage often includes:

  • Daily living activities assistance
  • Care at home, and
  • Care in facilities and community settings

Is Long Term Care Insurance Right for You?

Long term care insurance can be a key part of a sound financial plan. It can help protect you against the high cost of long term care, such as nursing home care, while protecting your assets for use by your loved ones. However, the premiums can be a significant expense. Carefully weigh the costs and the benefits of purchasing a long term care policy.

The cost of your insurance policy is based on:

  • The daily benefit amount you select

  • How old you are when you buy the policy, and

  • Optional benefits you choose

You may be able to buy a life insurance policy that has a disability benefit rider or an extended care rider designed to help pay for long term care costs.

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, retrieved February 2016.

2 A Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Washington, D.C. 2013, page 3

3 A Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Washington, D.C. 2013, page 2

Tips & Resources - Long Term Care Insurance

The younger you are when you purchase this coverage, the better your rates will be but the longer you will pay premiums. Talk to a financial planner to decide the best age and plan options for you.

Looking into long term care while you are in good health may be a good idea. If you are already in poor health or receiving custodial services, you may be ineligible to purchase this insurance, only be qualified for limited coverage, and/or be charged higher rates.

Long Term Care Insurance Resources

- Learn whether long term care insurance is right for you by visiting longtermcare.gov, an independent website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

- Information on LTCI is available at www.aarp.com  and www.caring.com.

- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers an informative booklet you can order for free.

- Many states provide lists of long term care insurance providers in the insurance department sections of their websites.

- Some states offer LTCI State Partnership Programs. These programs are designed to help encourage people to purchase long term care insurance instead of turning to Medicaid. If you do purchase a partnership policy and use up your benefits, you will still be able to qualify for Medicaid. To find out if your state participates, and if your state's plan is right for you, see the Partnership for Long Term Care.