As people age, it’s important to consider a long-term care insurance policy. Long-term care insurance covers services that support quality of life, like daily living activities, and aren’t typically covered by life insurance.
What is long-term care insurance?
Long-term care insurance covers necessary services that regular health insurance does not for those with a chronic medical condition, a disability, or a disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. Under most policies, a person becomes eligible for their long-term care benefits when they can no longer do two out of six of the “activities of daily life” (ADLs) on their own. Some ADLs include
- Caring for incontinence.
- Getting on or off the toilet.
- Transferring from one location to another (e.g., a chair or a bed).
Once eligible, a person can receive services in their home, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or an adult day care center. Some of these policies may cover staying at an assisted living facility.
Adults who are considering long-term care insurance should start planning in their 50s as a part of their long-range financial plans. Most providers will not approve applications of those who have a pre-existing condition or are over the age of 75. Some policies have limits to the services provided or how long they last, while others extend through the policyholder’s lifetime.
Best long-term care insurance companies
Many reputable providers offer long-term care insurance, each with competitive pricing, multiple levels of coverage, and different policy types. Here are some of the nation’s best long-term care insurance companies, in alphabetical order:
Established in 1857, Northwestern Mutual is one of the best financial services mutual organizations in the U.S. and offers high-quality long-term care insurance through The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Northwestern Mutual only offers one long-term care insurance policy, but the company also provides great discounts (up to 30% off) for couples. Its traditional policy is called QuietCare, a reimbursement-style policy, and allows clients to customize their total policy value, benefit period, elimination period, and maximum monthly benefits. Other pros of this insurance policy include inflation protection, survivorship benefit, paid-up nonforfeiture benefit, and others.
With the QuietCare policy, you can also choose a maximum monthly benefit ranging between $1,500 to $12,000 in $100 increments. There are four elimination period alternatives to consider as well, including six, 12, 25, or 52 weeks.
Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group has been in business since 1905 and offers four different hybrid long-term care insurance plans with no waiting period.
Its MoneyGuard II and MoneyGuard III policies both offer zero-day elimination periods for accessing coverage to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, allowing customers to receive benefits instantly. The MoneyGuard II policy is a universal life insurance plan that has an optional long-term care benefit rider accessible from the beginning of the policy. The MoneyGuard III plan does not require medical exams or lab tests for underwriting.
Lincoln Financial Group offers the most flexibility for its customers. Its policies have couples’ discounts available, even if just one person signs up for a policy. The agency has also been known to approve applicants up to the age of 80, whereas most providers will deny customers older than 70.
Mutual of Omaha
Formed in 1909, Mutual of Omaha offers the best discounts for long-term care plans. The company has three premium discounts: 15% for partners who purchase the same policy, 15% for people in good health, and 5% for married customers whose partner is not under the same policy. The couple’s discount is only available for partners who have been married or living together for at least three years. These discounts are stackable, with these three premium discounts applied to the total premium amount and any additional ones applied to the remainder.
Unlike other insurance agencies, Mutual of Omaha offers long-term care insurance as a singular plan, exclusive from any life insurance policy. The benefit period is two to five years, and the pool of money is $50,000 to $500,000. Mutual of Omaha policies offer a maximum monthly benefit between $1,500 and $10,000 per month. The elimination period for their policies comes at either zero, 30, 60, 90, 180, or 365 calendar days.
Nationwide is one of the largest insurers in the United States, with a reputation for its high quality of customer service. Nationwide offers universal life insurance policies that have a long-term care rider — an addition to a life insurance policy that allows the insured to use the policy’s death benefit for long-term care while they’re alive. A person can pay for the long-term care services that aren’t covered by life insurance, such as a home health aide or a long-term care facility.
The benefit period to access a Nationwide long-term care rider is between 25 and 50 months. The maximum benefit will vary based on each customer’s policy, and the elimination period is 90 days.
New York Life
Founded in 1845, the New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurance agency in the United States. New York Life offers two types of insurance policies: a combination long-term care plan and a larger life insurance benefit. The combination policy provides long-term care benefits and pays out a death benefit if a policyholder passes before needing them. This plan also has fixed premiums that will never increase.
The traditional larger life insurance plan is better for those who want the most coverage per dollar. Choosing this policy will give the insured more options for care and protect their assets and income during retirement.
A New York Life plan’s benefit period lasts between two years through seven, and its maximum daily benefit ranges from $50 to $400 per day. The company offers elimination periods of 90 or 180 days, and customers can choose a waiting period of 90 or 365 days.
If you’re considering purchasing long-term life insurance or making a claim on your long-term care insurance policy to pay for senior care, contact ElderLife Financial. We can help assist in providing you or a loved one with financing for senior living expenses. Reach out today to learn how we can support you.