How do you know which Long Term Care Insurance Company is right for you? In addition to premium, benefits and term you also need to consider how each company will underwrite your specific health history. Working with an independent insurance agent will save you a lot of time and make sure you’re matched with the company that is best for you. The service of an independent agent is 100% free to you. The long term care insurance company pays the agent and you get the exact same price regardless. When it comes to Long Term Care underwriting everyone has some type of health history. However, some companies will treat certain conditions or past health issues differently. An independent agent can help you determine which company will fit your needs and health history the best.
Having a long term care plan in place will give you the following:
- Peace of mind. Having your retirement years as relaxing and worry free as possible is most likely a goal for all of us. Knowing your long term care plan is in place can you give you great comfort for you, your spouse and your family.
- Having a long term care plan keeps your options open. A good plan will have benefits for home health care, assisted living and nursing home. Most people will want to stay in their home as long as they can. A long term care plan gives you the home health care benefits you need to achieve this but also gives you the benefits of more care when you need it.
- Asset Protection. You have spent a life time working, saving and investing in order to have a good retirement and possibly to leave something for family. A long term care plan will protect those assets so you will not spend your life savings on care.
The 10 best long term care insurance companies:
- Mutual of Omaha Long Term Care Insurance– They have been serving policy holders for more than 100 years. A strong and stable company with an “A+” (Superior) rating from A.M. Best. Some of the great features they offer are:
- Cash benefit with no elimination period. Choosing to receive your policy benefits in cash can come in handy if you have a neighbor or family member that is assisting you. You may want to cover some of their costs in helping you. You can use the cash to pay for services to support your needs.
- Calendar day elimination period. A policy will have a waiting period before your policy benefits will begin. This period starts the day you are chronically ill and you receive a covered service. You will have several options to choose from such as 60, 90 or 180 day elimination period.
- Inflation protection and other optional riders such as shared care. The cost of long term care will be higher when you need it versus the day you buy your policy. Electing to have inflation protection will mean your monthly benefit will increase as time goes on. You can choose 3 percent, 4 percent and even 5 percent inflation protection and have it compound over time.
- Shared Care is another optional rider that you may want to consider. If you run out of benefits but still need care you and your spouse can decide to use your spouse’s benefits to continue to cover the cost of your care. In addition, if either partner passes away while both policies are in force, the surviving spouse receives the deceased spouses remaining policy limit without having to pay the premium of the deceased.
- Different benefit periods and benefits to choose from or you can design your own. You can elect to have benefits for 24, 36, 48 or 60 month period. The monthly benefit amount can start at $1,500 to $10,000 per month. Your initial benefit will grow if you have an inflation protection rider with your long term care plan.
- Consistently competitive in rates and premiums.
- Home Health Care included in the policy. Benefits are provided to help you stay at home as long as possible. This can include personal care to help with daily living activities, help with grocery shopping, meal preparation and housekeeping. In addition to professional services of a registered nurse or home health aide.
- Assisted living Care included.
- Nursing home included in the benefits.
- Discount on premium when you and your partner get a policy together.
- A monthly benefit amount vs a daily allowance which gives you more flexibility on how you use the long term care benefits.
- Transamerica Long Term Care Insurance– Everyone knows of the pyramid shaped office building in all the commercials and movies. The company dates back to 1928 but has roots going back to 1904 starting out as a bank. The company has an A.M. Best rating of “A+”. Here are some of the benefits:
- Remain at home benefit- This benefit can help pay for services that can help you remain at home for Qualified Long Term Care.
- Rate guarantee- Your policy includes a 3-year Rate Guarantee for the premiums you pay for your policy. Premiums like with all companies can increase in the future.
- Return of premium upon death before age 67- If you are younger than 67 when you die, this benefit would allow your estate or a beneficiary named on your application to receive a lump-sum payment totaling the sum of all premiums paid to date for your policy, less the amount of any claims paid. Premiums paid would exclude any waived premiums, with no interest paid on the accumulated amount. The Return of Premium Upon Death Before Age 67 Benefit is not available for purchase with your policy if you are over age 67.
- Waiver of premium- Premiums are the recurring cost you pay for your policy. The Waiver of Premium benefit waives your premiums while you are receiving certain policy benefits such as the Long Term Care Facility Benefit, Accident Benefit, or Hospice Care Benefit, subject to any applicable Elimination Period.
- Genworth Long Term Care Insurance– Helped pioneer Long Term Care insurance in 1974. Headquartered in Richmond, VA. The company wrote its first insurance policy in 1871 as the Life Insurance Company of Virginia. It also has offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Genworth Life Insurance Company has a rating of B++ (good) by A.M. Best.
Genworth offers a pure long-term care insurance policy. The Company sells its LTC policy under its Privileged Choice Flex 3 product line.
The different elimination periods available range from 30 days, 60, 90 or 180 days. You can choose calendar day elimination periods or service day elimination periods. Calendar day reflects a true 30 days; whereas service day only counts on days you receive LTC services.
Inflation protection is available. You can choose 2, 3, 4, or 5% compound interest growth or 5% simple interest growth. You can also elect the Future Purchase Option, which allows you to increase your LTC coverage every three years by 3%.
The Shared Benefit Rider provides a shared pool of money for covered long term care expenses that you and your spouse can both use.
Home Assistance Training provides a friend or family member with training to help care for you at home.
In October 2016, Genworth announced it would be acquired by China Oceanwide Holding Ltd, a privately-held investment firm. Genworth reported a loss of $1.24 billion in 2014 and $615 million in 2015, mostly because of its LTC business. They have been aggressively raising premiums on its older policies, but its steady increase of reserves is evidence that it will have to eat many of those claims.
The closing deadline for China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co.’s proposed purchase of Genworth Financial Inc .has been extended for a second time, to April 1, 2018 to allow them to satisfy a U.S. review on foreign takeovers, they said on Wednesday.
The $2.7 billion transaction has been held up by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency panel that vets such takeovers for national security.
- John Hancock Long Term Care Insurance– Founded in 1862 it now operates as the U.S. unit of Manulife which is a Canadian based company. They have an A.M. Best rating of “A+”. Some of the benefits offered are:
- Third Party Notification- This feature provides added protection against an accidental policy lapse. You will have the opportunity to designate a person(s) to receive a notice of cancellation in case of nonpayment, at any time. If your policy terminates because you did not pay your premiums due to a physical or cognitive impairment, your policy may be reinstated within 5 months of termination.
- Timely payment of claims- John Hancock understands that efficient processing of claims is an extremely important aspect of our service to you. The vast majority of our claims are paid within 15 days, but in the unlikely event that a claims payment takes longer than 30 days to process, we will pay the policyholder an interest penalty of 1%24 of the claim amount per month.
- They are paying over $2.8 million in Long Term Care Insurance claims per day.
- They have over 1.3 million Long Term Care insurance policies.
- New York Life AARP Long Term Care Insurance– New York Life entered into an agreement with AARP to use the brand to market their Long Term Care Insurance products. A gimmick that works for some brands to attach their product to the AARP logo. That’s all it is. New York Life is also expensive in comparison to other Long Term Care Insurance companies and they have had some big premium increases.
New York Life Premium Examples
If you are a 58 year old healthy married couple living in Plano, Texas would you pay $13,500 a year for a policy that you can purchase for $5,400 year? Would you pay $7,500 a year for a policy you can buy for $3,900? Would you pay twice as much premium to a company that also has a history of asking for 40% rate increases on in-force policies over the past several years.
- Mass Mutual– Founded in 1851, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company is an American mutual life insurance company serving 5 million total clients. Unclear how many of those are long term care insurance policies.
MassMutual Signature Care provides a stand lone LTC option. Signature Care allows you to choose from two base policy options: Facility Services Only Plan and Facility Services and Home and Community Based Services plan. Around 75-80% of people prefer to remain at home, so the second LTC plan is generally the more desired one. However, a cash indemnity benefit rider is available on the Facility Only Plan that pays you your daily benefit amount no matter your actual expenses.
- Northwestern Mutual– Founded as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin in 1857. In the 1990’s the company began offering a long term care insurance plan. Throughout much of the 20th century the insurance company focused on life insurance products. However, in 1969 the company began offering disability income insurance, its first non-life insurance offering. Within the next few years, a series of retirement annuities were introduced for the employee benefits market.
- Nationwide Life Insurance Company- Nationwide’s linked benefit long-term care insurance is marketed under its YourLife CareMatters. Then policy is hybrid universal life with a LTC indemnity benefit. As an asset based policy, it provides cash indemnity for long-term care services and a lump sum life insurance death benefit. Issue ages available from 40-75.
- Lincoln Financial Group– In 1905 a group of Fort Wayne business leaders came together to form The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company now known as Lincoln Financial. In 1987 the company started offering a long term care rider that could be attached to its life insurance products.
Lincoln Moneyguard II was introduced in many states. With the launch of this current hybrid life-long term care policy series, Lincoln has made a few changes. Lincoln Moneyguard II does not offer immediate 100% Return of Premium. Policyholders may now elect either a 100% Return of Premium option with a 5 year vesting schedule or an 80% Return of Premium option. With Moneyguard II, clients may select a variety of funding options with either a single premium option or payments funded over a flexible period of up to 10 years. Care coordination services are also now included within the Moneyguard II policy to allow policyholders access to local specialists that may assist in helping the policyholder chooses between a variety of informal and formal care options.
Effective April 17, 2017 Lincoln Moneyguard II will be introducing a price increase for new sales of the Lincoln Moneyguard hybrid long term care insurance policy, pending state approval. The premium increase averages 10%.
- One America- The State Life Insurance Company, a OneAmerica® company, offers specific products, based on life insurance and annuities, which can provide long-term care benefits if care is needed.
Funding long-term care costs with annuities or life insurance may not be a suitable strategy for everyone. For example, your assets may not be sufficient to cover all of the costs associated with long-term care. In addition, long-term care insurance may provide certain protections that asset based long-term care does not. You should consult with an independent insurance agent to determine if this product is right for you.
Long Term Care insurance products are constantly changing. What might be the best option for your neighbor last month may not be the best option for you next month.
If you call one of these companies they will only be able to give you a proposal for their product without any regard to what is the best fit for your specific situation, health history and budget.
A good long term care plan will have home healthcare, assisted living and nursing home care included. It also needs to have an answer for how it will deal with the rising costs of care. A fixed benefit plan will not work for a policy you will likely need 20 or 30 years from now.
If you would like to explore what a Long Term Care policy would look like for you please click the link to run a quote.