Your Insurance Matters: Long Term Care Insurance

Your Insurance Matters
Long Term Care Insurance

Long term care insurance can help protect assets and help pay for care. How can shoppers for these plans become more informed consumers?
First, let's highlight some trends. Americans are living longer than ever. The number of people who are 100 years old or older in the U. S. has climbed to about 50,000! The Journal of the American Medical Association even published an article about their healthy aging!
About 70% of today's 65 year olds will need some form of care eventually. This assistance will be furnished in their own residence or at a facility (usually an assisted living center or nursing home).
Family can help when simple assistance is required. In fact, family involvement can help seniors continue to live independently. Where family support isn't available or not sufficient, seniors may use professional at-home services or enter a facility.
Those staying longest in assisted living or nursing home facilities tend to be women, single, older than 80, and diagnosed with dementia. Frequently, these women have already provided their husband's care. Their husbands have passed away and then the women, themselves, need assistance. Unless there is family to help them live independently, these women may have to enter a facility.
Will Medicare or Medicaid help pay for long term care? Medicare pays for only certain types of care and for specific time periods. Medicaid pays only after people have depleted most of their assets.
To learn more about long term care and long term care insurance, two sources of objective information are: (a government website) and "A Shopper's Guide to Long Term Care Insurance" from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (
Take time for detailed discussion with your insurance agent to help him or her understand your needs. Ask to review plans and financial ratings from at least two major insurers.
Select an inflation feature. There are many to choose from. Without inflation protection, the value of the insurance benefits may erode over time. Since many people won't need their insurance right away, their plans must keep pace with inflationary trends as much as possible.
Plans that may be more useful are those where benefits begin as soon as possible for care at one's own residence and as soon as possible for facility care. Savings can be wiped out paying for care if insurance benefits don't start early enough.
Consider plan designs where premiums end by retirement when income may be lower.
Before selecting actual benefit dollar amounts, check out and "A Shopper's Guide to Long Term Care Insurance". Some shoppers telephone and visit care providers for additional information on pricing and quality of care.
Shopping for long term care insurance definitely involves information, planning, and collaboration with a caring insurance professional. Studies show that individuals who are financially successful are those who have planned ahead.

Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU. Shirley Lamdan of Hagerstown, MD has been serving individuals, corporations, and nonprofits since 1982 with independent retirement and insurance services. Her email is and the telephone is 800-628-3449 or 301-791-9427.