Your Insurance Matters: Long Term Care Insurance Should Provide These Benefits

Your Insurance Matters
Long Term Care Insurance Should Provide These Benefits
by Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU, Hagerstown, MD

Long term care insurance should provide these benefits. The benefits provided by long term care plans can vary greatly. As you and your insurance professional shop for plans, you'll want to evaluate and compare options very carefully.
The long term care plan you finally decide to buy could affect your financial security well into the future so it is vital to understand your options. Be sure to ask about these provisions.
First and possibly foremost, ask for inflation protection. Today, many companies offer a variety of inflation options. Recently, a couple reviewed their long term care contracts with me. They had bought them while still residing in Oregon. Their daily benefit amount might have been sufficient back in 1998 when the plan was issued, but in no way would it be sufficient in today's dollars.
Without inflation safeguards, the value of your benefits may not cover increases in the costs of care. Don't forget that your need for care may not come for many years into the future. And, care costs increase at a rate far greater than the general rate of inflation.
Ask for the discounts! For example, there are substantial discounts for couples. This can apply to married as well as unmarried couples, relatives and partners. There are many business discounts and there are discounts for good health.
Ask for payment option comparisons. There is always the continuous pay method but there are payment options where you can finish paying by age 65. There are also ten-year pay periods available.
Ask about the waiting periods (the time before benefits start up) and the benefit periods available. There will be a wide range of choices.
What's best? Sometimes, it's a really difficult decision. I've seen long term care claims extend over many years. There are also situations where care is required for only a brief period of time.
Ask for cognitive illness coverage, including Alzheimer's disease. As we are well aware, cognitive issues are on the rise throughout our country. Many carriers will offer benefits for Alzheimer's and other cognitive issues, like dementia, but be sure to check the provisions carefully.
Ask for coverage for both skilled and unskilled (informal) care. While long term care plans will often cover skilled cre, some may not offer benefits for the unskilled care. This informal care can encompass a wide range of services like household chores, incidental medical checks, and others. Visiting home aides, health care aides, and other personnel may be used here.
This wide assortment of home-based services can go a long way toward assuring that people can stay in their own residence in a comfortable and safe manner.
Ask for benefits for home care as well as care offered in facilities like nursing homes or assisted living centers. Not all plans are the same so check provisions.
Ask whether your plan will actually cover the costs of care in your part of the country. The expenses of care vary markedly in different parts of the country. It's worth spending some time investigating the costs of care in your region. You'll know for sure that way if your plan will cover the costs for each type of care.
As you can see, your independent insurance professional will play an essential role in shopping for your long term care insurance plan. But you will help to assure you are obtaining full value for your purchase.

Since 1982, Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU of Hagerstown, MD has been serving individuals, corporations, and nonprofits with independent retirement and insurance services. She can be contacted at 301-791-9427 and slamdan@lamdanselect.com.