- Take time to research long-term care insurance providers, your policy options and their costs.
- Insurance is a well-regulated industry, but scams and unnecessary upselling are possible.
- Your state department of insurance will list licensed and reputable insurance providers.
- Check providers’ credit ratings to help assess their financial stability.
Whether it’s because of a sudden health event or an accident, needing long-term care is an increasing reality for older Americans.
Long-term care includes coverage for health support and services you need to complete activities in daily life. It can include homemaker services, rehabilitative therapies, personal support and skilled nursing.
Whether at home or in a care facility, 70% of Americans over 65 are likely to need long-term care at some time in their lives.
To obtain the best long-term care insurance policy for your circumstances and budget, you should seek out an independent insurance agent with expertise in long-term care insurance who will present you with multiple options.
How To Compare Long-Term Care Insurance Providers
With so many choices in the insurance market, it can be hard to know at first glance which provider is best for you. Your needs and circumstances will dictate the type and depth of long-term care coverage you need. And asking the right questions will help inform your decision when choosing among providers.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that come up during your search. Long-term care insurance is an investment in your future: You have a right to know exactly what you’re going to get for your money.
For example, you’ll want to consider the following topics and questions as you compare companies and policies.
- Coverage Options
- Does the provider offer long-term care policies? What about combined life/long-term care policies? Do they add riders to health or life insurance policies?
- Premium Prices
- How much will you have to pay for your coverage? Will your payments be weighted upfront? Or will they remain the same throughout the duration of the policy? Will they (or how will they) adjust for inflation?
- Available Benefits
- What benefits do each policy and each rider offer? What comes with the basic policy and what’s considered an add-on? Is there any flexibility to your benefits?
- Benefit Period
- How long will your benefits last? Is there a time limit on how long you’ll have coverage? Is there a cap on financial benefits?
- Waiting Period
- Is there a waiting period between purchasing your policy and claiming your benefits? If so, how long is it?
- Customer Reviews
- What do customers say about the provider or their coverage? How do customers feel about the claims process? Are they satisfied with the service and support they received?
Considerations for Comparing Companies
The answers to these and other questions will help you find the right long-term care insurance provider for you and your specific needs.
What Are the Signs of a Good Long-Term Care Insurance Provider?
Besides comparing their policy offerings, you’ll also want to examine your long-term care insurance company’s financial standing and stability.
The following agencies can be helpful in assessing a provider’s strength and business reputation:
- AM Best provides global credit ratings and analysis.
- Better Business Bureau identifies reliable and trustworthy businesses.
- Moody’s shares information to help you make the best decisions.
- S&P Global Ratings empowers consumer choices with credit ratings.
Although insurance is a heavily regulated industry, the possibility of scams and fraud exists. That includes the selling of fake, unsuitable or unnecessarily upgraded policies. To be sure your provider has a license to sell insurance in your state, check with your state’s department of insurance.
Popular Long-Term Care Insurance Providers
The following long-term care insurance providers are highly rated on one or more fronts, whether for financial stability, price, breadth of policy options or customer service. This is not a complete list, but it is a solid starting point. All policies and plans may not be available in every state.
Brighthouse Financial offers a hybrid life insurance and long-term care policy called Brighthouse SmartCare®. The policy is an indexed universal life insurance policy with riders that provide long-term care benefits. Coverage for all potential long-term care costs is not guaranteed.
The policy includes a guaranteed death benefit and the option to link the policy to an index to grow the benefits with protection against market loss.
Brighthouse Financial specializes in annuities and life insurance. It does not offer standalone long-term care policies.
Lincoln Financial Group
Newsweek named Lincoln Financial Group as one of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2023. Like Brighthouse FInancial, Lincoln Financial Group specializes in life insurance and annuities and does not offer a standalone long-term care option.
Instead, the company offers Lincoln MoneyGuard® solutions, which are universal life insurance policies with a long-term care rider.
The policies and riders have exclusions, limitations, and/or reductions, so you will need to speak with a representative or the insurance company for costs and complete details. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company issues the policies. In New York only, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York is the issuer.
Mutual of Omaha
Known for reasonable pricing and discounts with multiple policies, Mutual of Omaha has more than 100 years of insurance experience.
The provider’s long-term care insurance policies come with built-in benefits, including care coordination, alternate care, waiver of premium and cash benefit.
Policyholders receive these benefits in their policy once a licensed health care provider certifies that they are chronically ill and submits a plan of care prescribing long-term care services.
For an additional cost, you can add optional benefits to your policy. Add-ons include inflation protection, shared care, security benefit and return of premium.
Nationwide sells a hybrid policy called CareMatters® that includes both long-term care and life insurance benefits. The company also sells long-term care as a rider to another policy.
According to Nationwide’s website, CareMatters® is linked to a fixed-premium universal life insurance policy and includes a death benefit as well as other perks.
For example, the product allows you to pay a family member, friend, neighbor or other informal, unlicensed caregiver if a U.S.-licensed health care practitioner deems informal care as appropriate in the plan of care. Plus, with CareMatters, once an individual has been qualified, they won’t have to submit monthly bills and receipts.
New York Life
With a combination policy, New York Life pays for long-term care at home, in a facility or provided by a family member, depending on what the policyholder needs and where they live. In the event the policyholder doesn’t use any long-term care benefits, the policy includes a money-back guarantee.
New York Life is rated A++ (superior) by AM Best, which means policyholders don’t have to worry about the company’s ability to pay.
Don’t hesitate to seek help when you have to analyze your needs and calculate your budget. It’s difficult to compare policies and prices and examine reviews and ratings. A financial advisor can help you find the right coverage and price for your peace of mind.
Here are other resources to help your search:
- The federal information page at USA.gov has examples of questions to ask when you’re looking for health insurance.
- AARP offers a long-term care calculator to give you an idea of how much coverage you’ll need.
- Insurance is regulated at the state level. Contact your state department of insurance for information or assistance finding an insurer.
- The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) shares information about long-term care costs and coverage.