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How to Identify Important Benefits in Long Term Care Coverage Print

While there are many competitive Long Term Care insurance products available today, not all products are equal. Before you buy a Long Term Care policy be sure you have carefully considered what you want out of the product. Most importantly, make sure that you work with an insurance company you trust and an agent who understands Long Term Care insurance.

The following list captures some of the key aspects of Long Term Care insurance you should keep in mind when selecting a Long Term Care insurance policy.

Financial Strength

Because Long Term Care insurance, like life insurance, is much less expensive if it is purchased at a younger age, it is not uncommon for an individual to purchase a policy 20 or 30 years before they expect to need it. Therefore, it is very important to consider a company's financial strength ratings when selecting a carrier. A Long Term Care insurance policy is a long-term investment and buyers should be confident that their carrier will be there in the future if they need them.

The following agencies provide financial strength ratings of the major Long Term Care insurance companies:

  • A.M. Best
  • Fitch Ratings
  • Moody's
  • Standard and Poor's

Stable Long Term Care Insurance Premiums

Long Term Care carriers have the right to raise premiums. The policies are "guaranteed renewable" which prevents a carrier from singling out individuals for rate increases, but they may raise premiums for a "class" of policyholders. Beware of carriers that are priced substantially below the competition. Again, ask your representative if the proposed carrier has ever increased in-force premiums.

Long Term Care Insurance Claims

Ask your Long Term Care representative about their company's claims process. This is the most important aspect of a Long Term Care policy and yet the most ignored.

Questions to ask would be as follows:

  • Describe the carrier's claims process.
  • How much has the carrier paid in claims?
  • What documentation is needed to pay a claim?
  • Once the documentation has been received, how fast are claims paid?

Covered Care

Be sure you understand what types of care are covered under the policy you select. Most people today want to be covered for in-home care. As a result many Long Term Care insurance policies offer coverage for in-home care, in addition to nursing home care and assisted living.

Some policies will even pay benefits for care provided by friends and family under certain conditions. Policies that provide benefits for all of the types of Long Term Care you might need will give you the most peace of mind and the most options if and when you should need to use your policy.

Care Coordination

A care coordinator can be a huge help when a need for Long Term Care services arises. A care coordinator is a trained, medical professional (usually a registered nurse). An independent care coordinator may be chosen by the insured if they elect not to use the care coordinator provided by the insurance company.

The care coordinator works with the insured and his or her family to create a plan of care. If the insured is able to receive care at home, the care coordinator helps the insured obtain the care providers and medical equipment the individual needs.

Conversely, if the insured needs to spend some time in a nursing home, or an assisted living facility, the care coordinator can help develop a plan for the insured's transition into the facility, as well as the care services the insured needs.

Be sure and ask if the insurance company's care coordinators are employees of the company or if they are contracted independently. An independent contractor is preferable.

Premium Discounts

In some states, insurance companies are permitted to offer premium discounts when spouses buy separate Long Term Care insurance policies at the same time. Discounted Long Term Care plans may also be available to you through your employer or any associations to which you belong. Some Long Term Care insurance companies also offer preferred premium rates based on health status. Be sure to shop around and determine if you qualify for any discounted or group plans.

 

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If you are interested in purchasing Long Term Care Insurance, we will connect you with a licensed Long Term Care Agent who will answer your questions, assess your needs and offer advice in an understandable manner. Our goal is to make sure you get the right policy at the best price and make planning for your Long Term Care needs an easy and enjoyable process..

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