Long-Term Care Insurance

Overview

More and more Americans recognize the need to save for retirement. But few are aware of the need to protect their savings against the steadily growing costs of long-term care services. Long-term care insurance can cover the costs of long-term care services and protect lifetime savings. It enables you to maintain financial independence and gives you the dignity of choice by covering a wide rage of services in a variety of settings.

High Risk, High Costs

A lifetime of retirement savings can be wiped out by an unexpected need for nursing home, assisted living, or at-home care. This happens more often than anyone expects--about 70 percent of Americans age 65 and older will need long-term care services at some point in their lives.

Yet, many people are unable to save enough on their own to cover the costs of long-term care. Today, the median cost of a one-year stay in a nursing home is $92,378 for a private room. In 30 years, the same stay is expected to reach $224,226. Home care is less expensive, but still costly: a visit by a home health aide can cost $3,861 a month.

Sources to Pay for Long-Term Care

Health insurance seldom pays for long-term care services and the government provides only limited coverage through Medicare and Medicaid: Medicare provides skilled nursing-home care only for a short time following hospitalization and limits help at home to those who need skilled nursing care and rehabilitative therapy; Medicaid is for the poor, however middle-income individuals may qualify for benefits, but only after spending down their savings.

Long-term care insurance, however, pays for care needed to cover help with activities of daily living--bathing, eating, dressing, using the toilet, or transferring from bed to chair. It is an affordable way to protect against the risk of having to use your savings to pay for long-term care, and covers services in a variety of settings.

Because consumers have demanded greater choice and help in maintaining their quality of life, insurers now offer policies covering services that promote independent living including adult day care, assisted living, in-home care, care management, support for caregivers (respite care), and home modifications, in addition to institutional care.

Long-term care insurance is sold to individuals or through a group plan offered by an employer. Coverage is purchased for a period of time, such as one or six years, or for lifetime coverage.



Types, Features and Tax Treatment

Consumer Protections
Tax Treatment
Costs and Fees
Buying Tips

Publications & Resources

Long-Term Care Crisis, 03/06/2015. ACLI’s Andrew Melnyk discusses life insurers’ role in providing long-term care solutions for a growing elderly population in a New York Times Letter to the Editor.

Who Will Pay for Our Long-Term Care? Report and Infographic. The increasing cost of long-term care is expected to continue its upward trend. A growing number of seniors requiring long-term care and a greater cost per recipient will result in a 64 percent increase in total long-term care expenditures by 2030 ($392 billion). Download the report and the infographic to learn more.

A Woman's Guide to Long-Term Care. For women, the risk of needing long-term care is quite high. Learn about the risks and how long-term care insurance can help protect your savings from the high cost of services.

Long-Term Care Insurance Brochure: Protection for Your Future. Saving for retirement is only half the story. A lifetime of retirement savings can be wiped out by an unexpected need for nursing home, assisted living, or at-home care. Long-term care insurance can cover the costs of those services and protect lifetime savings. This guide answers commonly asked questions about long-term care insurance and provides a checklist for selecting a policy. Available in English and Spanish.

Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Checklist. Use this checklist to help you compare policies offered by different companies, or different policies offered by the same company.

State Insurance Department Directory. The State Insurance Department Directory, with contact information for 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes names and phone numbers for key personnel and specific subject contacts.

National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information. External site.