Long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies are very different from most other kinds of insurance. As a result, even the foundational features of these policies require taking some time to understand before making your final decision. But what about all the other options and features that are not built into the policy and require you to pay extra to get them? In my opinion, LTCI policies are best kept simple. If you have done your homework on setting up the foundational features of the policy, you have already done 90% of the work in most cases. It’s a good idea to explore those other options if you feel that you can afford to spend more on your care, but you should also examine whether they are truly going to be cost-effective in your case. A good way to accomplish this is to narrow down your selection to the two to three carriers that you feel most comfortable with and get quotes on a straightforward policy setup with no extras or options added.
Next, add on the options that you may be interested in one at a time and get a new quote. This will tell you exactly how much extra you can expect to pay for these options. If you have all those figures, then it is much easier to decide if the choices you are considering are really worth pursuing further. Here is a list of some of the most popular options in LTCI or Long Term Care insurance policies:
1. Return of Premium – This will give you the option of allowing you to recieve back some or all of the premiums that you pay into the policy if you either decide to cancel the policy or if you die without using all of your benefits. This is often a very expensive option.
2. Survivorship – For this option, the benefits differ from one carrier to another, but typically it says that if the policy premiums have been paid for a specified period of time, often ten years, and one spouse dies, the surviving spouse’s policy is considered paid up with no further premiums required.
3. Restoration of Benefits – This provision restores all of the benefits paid out for care if a policyholder fully recovers and does not suffer a relapse for a specified period of time (usually six months).
4. Waiver of Home Health Care Elimination Period – This option reduces the elimination period (the amount of days that you pay for your own care before the insurance company starts to pay) to zero. This only means that it starts to pay from the very first day of services made if the care is recieved at home. There are other options that can be considered when shopping for LTCI too, but in my own experience, the most common problem is getting bogged down in these extra features that do not really impact the quality of your future care nearly as much as the foundational features.
That’s why having a knowledgeable and experienced agent help you with the process can often reduce much of the confusion surrounding these options so that you can select the policy and features that suit you best.