Long-term care insurance (LTC) can help cover the financial burden of a disability or long-term illness. This may include costs related to assisted living, nursing homes, or at-home care.
In many cases, these types of expenses are not covered by health insurance companies, Medicaid, or Medicare.
52% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their life.
According to the US Department of Health, these are the national average costs of long-term care in the United States:
- Nursing home semi-private room — $6,844 per month
- Nursing home private room — $7,698 per month
- Assisted living one-bedroom unit — $3,628 per month
- Health aide — $20.50 per hour
- Adult day health care center services — $68 per day
These costs can quickly reach upwards of $90,000 per year. One accident or illness could easily bankrupt someone. Long-term care insurance can help you get the right assistance without paying out of pocket.
Once you’re on your path to a rich life, I recommend looking into a long term care policy to help protect your future.
The 5 Best Long Term Care Insurance Providers
30 years ago, there were more than 100 insurance providers selling LTC policies. But today, that number has dropped significantly. With roughly two dozen options to choose from, these are the top five long-term care insurance companies.
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha is a well-known provider that offers life insurance, disability income insurance, Medicare solutions, financial services, and long-term care insurance.
The LTC policies at Mutual of Omaha are some of the best that you’ll find on the market today.
When you’re shopping online for a long-term health plan, Mutual of Omaha allows you to estimate your monthly premiums based on the type of coverage you want to sign up for.
Once you’re eligible for LTC benefits, you’ll have the flexibility to choose how those benefits are paid. Mutual of Omaha offers traditional reimbursement benefits or a cash benefit option.
You’ll also have access to a care coordinator. This licensed health advisor can help you arrange the services you need based on your individual circumstances.
Mutual of Omaha does waive your monthly premium while you’re receiving long-term care benefits.
It’s nice knowing that Mutual of Omaha understands how medicine and health practices are constantly changing. That’s why they provide you with alternate care benefits. This part of the policy will cover the costs associated with a service or treatment that doesn’t exist today but might be standard procedure in the future.
You can benefit from 30% savings on your premium if you and your partner get insured under the same policy. Mutual of Omaha also offers 15% discounts for buying an LTC plan while you’re still in good health.
MassMutual has a wide range of services, from life insurance to investments and retirement plans. But they also provide outstanding long-term care coverage.
This provider offers a long-term care policy with a six-year maximum benefit period, which is longer than most companies are willing to provide.
MassMutual is an excellent choice to consider if you’re also in the market for a life insurance policy. While several providers offer life insurance with long-term care supplements or living benefits, Mass Mutual has a separate policy that combines long-term care with life insurance.
The CareChoice One plan allows you to pay a single premium for whole life insurance and long-term care. There are three guarantees provided in this policy:
- LTC benefit pool
- Death benefit
- Policy surrender value
It’s worth noting that your death benefit will be reduced if you receive LTC benefits. In some cases, MassMutual will also require a medical exam before issuing a policy.
MassMutual does not have much policy-specific information on its website. Policies vary by state, and you’ll need to contact a customer service representative for more options and details.
New York Life
New York Life has been underwriting insurance policies for 175 years. They offer a wide range of services, including traditional long-term care insurance and a combination of long-term care and life insurance.
When shopping for a traditional long-term care policy with New York Life, you’ll be presented with two different options:
- NYL My Care
- NYL Secure Care
The first option is best for those of you who are looking for a simple way to purchase LTC insurance. You’ll be presented with several different product bundles based on the most popular features and benefits used by their clients.
This is one of the easiest ways to get long-term care insurance. Just browse through the plans and select the one that seems right for you.
Alternatively, you can get a fully customizable plan with NYL Secure Care. These policies are tailored specifically to your needs and have a wide range of comprehensive benefits.
You can’t get an online quote from the New York Life website, which makes it difficult to estimate your monthly premiums and coverage. They offer a resource that shows some different LTC options based on each state. But you’ll have to speak to an agent directly for more information.
Unlike some of the other providers on our list, OneAmerica does not offer standalone LTC insurance. Instead, they offer plans for:
- Life insurance with long-term care benefits
- Annuities with long-term care benefits
OneAmerica has unique options for paying LTC insurance premiums like using your IRA, a CD, or savings for a one-time-only payment. Alternatively, you can select an annual premium amount that will never increase.
Life insurance with long-term care benefits from OneAmerica can be purchased by two people simultaneously, making it a popular choice for covering married couples.
Since the policies have built-in life insurance, the death benefits will be passed to your beneficiaries if they aren’t needed for long-term care.
Depending on your policy, you can get LTC protection for a specific number of months or guaranteed benefits for life.
Benefits from a OneAmerica long-term care policy can be used for a broad range of needs. From Alzheimer’s disease to assisted living and hospice, your policy will protect you from out of pocket costs.
OneAmerica does not offer quotes or sample pricing options for these plans on their website, which seems to be a trend with long-term care providers.
LTC Consumer is not an insurance company. However, this resource is one of the most popular online tools for finding the best long-term care policy for your specific needs.
As you can see from the other providers on our list, there is limited information on the web about the prices and policy details for LTC insurance. Lots of providers just instruct you to contact an agent for more information.
But it’s tedious and time-consuming to call multiple insurance companies to compare rates and plan options on our own.
If you’re struggling to find a provider, you can turn to LTC Consumer for assistance. Simply fill out a quick form online, and they’ll match you with eligible providers that fit your needs. This is the best way to get all of your long-term insurance quotes from a single source.
Furthermore, LTC Consumer has tons of helpful resources on their website.
They offer free guides and show you the average costs of different long-term care services by each state.
While you can’t get a long-term care plan directly from LTC Consumer, it’s a valuable way to get a quick quote online. You can also speak to independent long-term care specialists about any questions you have about providers, policies, or benefits.
How Long Term Care Insurance Works
When shopping for a long-term insurance policy, you need to select the amount of coverage you want. Most policies will have a maximum payout per day, as well as a cap on the amount paid for the lifetime of the plan.
In most circumstances, you’ll be eligible for LTC benefits if you’re diagnosed with certain illnesses, or you can’t do “activities of daily living” on your own. These activities include:
- Getting dressed
- Getting on or off the toilet
- Getting in and out of bed
Once you’ve been diagnosed by a medical professional, the provider needs to complete an evaluation and approve your plan of care before approving a claim.
Most policies have an “elimination period.” This is the amount of time that you’ll have to pay for long-term care treatment on your own before the provider starts to reimburse you. An elimination period is usually 30, 60, or 90 days.
The provider will continue to pay out the daily limits until you’ve reached the lifetime maximum of your policy (based on time or value).
Some insurance providers offer shared care plans for married couples buying policies together. In these instances, you might be able to draw from your spouse’s benefits if the limits have been reached on your own policy.
How to Choose The Best Long Term Care Insurance
There are certain features and factors that you should be looking for when deciding on a long term care insurance policy. This is the methodology that we used to create this guide.
Standalone Long-Term Care Policies
Long-term care insurance is not as popular as it once was. Fewer companies are offering LTC insurance, and even less offer standalone policies.
Many insurance providers will include some long-term care or living benefits as part of a larger life insurance policy. But if you want to get full protection for long-term care on its own, you should look for a provider that offers standalone LTC products.
Just because a provider sells long-term insurance, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be eligible.
Some providers are only licensed in certain states or have other special eligibility requirements. Always look for a policy that has the widest availability and most flexible benefit options. You don’t know what your situation will be like in ten or 20+ years.
The best long-term care providers underwrite their own policies. These companies are the most reliable when it comes time to access your benefits.
The benefit period of a long-term care policy is the length of time you’ll be paid or reimbursed after a claim gets approved.
In an ideal scenario, the benefit period will last as long as you need care. But today, it’s tough to find a true lifetime policy. Most policies will have a set time period, such as two or five years, when your benefits will expire.
Alternatively, some policies use the “money pool” model. In this case, benefits get subtracted from the lifetime maximum of the policy. There is no set time period in this case.
Premiums for longer benefit periods are more expensive than smaller policies.
Share Care Options
If you’re considering getting long-term care insurance for you and your spouse, you should look for a policy with a shared care rider option. These policies allow couples to pool coverage so that the unused benefits for one person can be used on the other.
There is a bit of risk here, considering that one person could essentially exhaust all of the benefits. But it’s a way to save some money if you’d rather buy two plans with shorter benefit periods.
This is not available for all policies. But some of the best long-term care insurance providers will waive your monthly or annual premium once your benefits are activated.
The waiver will save you money at a time in your life when you might already be on a fixed income, in addition to going through difficult circumstances that require long-term care.
With such a large percentage of the population requiring some form of long term care during their lifetime, having the right coverage is essential. Start shopping for plans early, while you’re still young and in good health. This will help reduce your premiums and give you access to better benefits.