How to Choose a Long Term Care Insurance Policy

Experts estimate that at least one of every two Americans will require some sort of long term medical care at some point in their lives. How you pay for this care is something you should consider now, before you need it, and for many people purchasing a long term care insurance policy helps guarantee peace of mind.

But how do you choose a long term care insurance policy? Purchasing any kind of insurance can be uncomfortable for many people, but purchasing long term care insurance might be harder because it forces you to consider many important decisions that you’ve never faced before

According to the independent Long Term Care Guide, long term care insurance, may cover your daily in-home or nursing care needs in the event you need it. You might get injured and require long term care, or suffer a long term illness. As you age, you might simply need help with daily tasks either at your home or in a nursing home. This type of long term care can be expensive, prohibitively so for many people, but for those that need to use their coverage, long term care insurance can prove to be invaluable.

So how do you choose a long term care insurance policy?

First, consider the insurance company. Since it could be many years or decades before you need your benefits, make sure the company you choose has been around for some time and will reliably be around when you need it. Be sure to check their Best rating for financial soundness.

Consider some details of the insurance policy. How long of an elimination period do you want? An elimination period is how long you will pay your expenses out of pocket before your insurance company will start paying your expenses. When purchasing a long term care insurance policy the choices are generally 90 days, 60 days or 0 days. You can choose to have an inflation adjustment option. You also have the choice of the length of coverage. The average length of a nursing home stay is 2.5 years, so you can choose the average length of stay for coverage, or some other coverage period. It might be an unlimited number of years, or you might choose just 2 years, or as many as 5. This is an important determination in choosing your insurance. Balance the costs and risks of outliving your long term care insurance carefully.

Another choice you might make when purchasing long term care insurance is how long your insurance company will provide coverage overall (a set number of years or for an unlimited period of time).

Finally, think where you might get care. Make sure the policy will cover all types of care, whether provided in a skilled nursing facility, a nursing home or in your own home.

It’s important to consider the various options when purchasing long term care insurance. Be sure to read the policy to understand the benefits and limitations of the coverage and its cost. Any insurance agent you are working with can also help with questions you have about purchasing a long term care insurance policy.

By Mitchel Harad
Published: 7/2/2006


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