What is Long-Term Care (LTC)?
Long-term care is personal care designed to help you maintain your ability to perform what are called ADLs activities of daily living: bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring (getting up out of a chair or getting out of bed, for instance) should an accident, injury, illness or cognitive impairment due to a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease cause you to need assistance with these activities for an extended period of time. Your Long-Term Care insurance policy will help pay the costs of your care.
When should I buy Long-Term Care insurance?
Now. Two reasons why:
1. You are healthy today and may be eligible for a good health discount that stays with you for as long as you own your policy. A change in your health could increase the cost of your insurance and could affect your ability to be insured.
2. The lower your age, the lower your cost.
Do I have to be in a nursing home to receive this care?
No, you can receive your care in your home, at an adult day-care facility, in an assisted living facility (residential care facility in CA) or in a nursing home. In fact, most people receive care in their home.
Doesn’t Medicare pay for long-term care?
Medicare and most health insurance plans, including Medigap (medical supplement insurance) do not pay for custodial care.
Does Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA) pay for long-term care?
Yes, but there are many requirements for eligibility. Medicaid is a needs-based program and is intended for people with low income and few assets.
I read something about Partnership Programs. What are they?
Today, about 38 states have established Partnership Programs. Generally speaking, if you purchase a “Partnership-approved” Long-Term Care insurance policy, you can protect some assets and still qualify for Medicaid should you exhaust your insurance dollars over the duration of your policy.
What about disability income insurance?
It is designed to replace some of your income when an illness or injury renders you unable to work and ends when you return to work.
Are my premiums tax-deductible?
That depends on your individual situation. See our Tax Benefits section for more details.
If you are self-employed, the premiums you pay for yourself, your spouse and dependents are 100% deductible on your federal income tax return up to the limits in the table BUT, your premium expense does NOT have to meet the 7.5% AGI threshold in order for you to take the deduction.
Are there any state specific tax benefits?
Some states offer tax benefits. New York State, for instance, offers a 20% credit on Long-Term Care insurance premium payments. See our Tax Benefits section for more details.
Once insured, how do I receive benefits?
After a licensed health care practitioner certifies that you need help with at least two of the ADLs (Activities of Daily Living- bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring) or that you need help due to serious cognitive impairment.
Is there a deductible as in my auto insurance?
Yes, it is called the elimination period; the number of days that you receive covered long-term care services before your insurance pays benefits.
How many days is it?
You choose the number of days, generally 30, 60 or 90. You only have to satisfy the elimination period once while the policy is in force.
When I’m receiving care, do I continue paying my premiums?
No, your premiums are waived for each month you receive care after satisfying the elimination period until you no longer need care.
I know medical costs will continue to increase. Will my coverage increase also?
Yes, provided you choose inflation coverage.
My health is great. Will my premium be lower?
Yes, if you are eligible for the preferred health discount.
Is there a couple's discount?
Yes, and in many cases it can be combined with a preferred health discount for even greater savings.
Can my policy be canceled?
Once issued, as long as you pay your premiums, your policy is guaranteed renewable.
Will my premium increase?
Not due to your individual situation but premiums for all policyholders in the same class and state can increase after your state insurance commissioner approves a request from your insurer.
If I move to another state or am visiting another state, will I be covered?
Yes, you will be covered in all fifty states. Some policies offer international coverage as well.
Note: Tax information on our site is for informational purposes only. Always consult your tax professional about your specific situation.