Long-Term Care Insurance

How to Choose LTCI

Becoming familiar with the foundational features and options of a good long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy requires taking the time to educate yourself before making your final decision. This will help ensure that you get the policy that will best fit your particular needs.

The next step is to find the insurance provider that will suit you best. Since there are a number of LTCI carriers to choose from, here are a few suggestions for selecting a company that offers a quality product and is worthy of your trust in the many years ahead.

The Big News You’ll Never Read in the Media

Among the companies that offer LTCI, there are a few that have an outstanding reputation. By that, I mean these companies have distinguished themselves over a long period of time as financially solid, rate-stable carriers with an excellent customer service record. Unfortunately, we see so many stories in the media these days of other LTCI companies whose record in these areas is being seriously challenged. It’s been reported that some have appeared to excessively deny claims in order to make a profit. Others have had to request hefty premium increases due to a much higher number of claims than they had projected. While these stories may hold some truth, what we don’t hear is the good stuff: LTCI companies that really adhere to their claims of the customer being #1.

Finding an LTCI Company That is Worthy of Your Trust

The June 18, 2007 issue of Newsweek magazine recommended the following four companies as being major carriers that can be worthy of your consideration: Genworth, John Hancock, MetLife, and Allianz Life.

Of course, that does not mean that there aren’t other fine companies represented in the LTCI field, but the four carriers identified by Newsweek are among the oldest and financially strongest in the industry. They also have extremely favorable records of customer satisfaction.

Health Factors to Consider Before Buying an LTCI Policy

Genworth, John Hancock, MetLife and Allianz Life are all fine choices if you are in excellent health. However, if you have health issues that are not serious enough to render you uninsurable, but will most likely disqualify you for “preferred” rates, the company you choose can have a significant impact on your premium.

The reason for this is that each company has its own underwriting procedures that it uses for rating policyholders. These procedures can vary greatly from one company to the next. For instance, one company will not issue a “preferred” rating to anyone who uses even a single blood pressure medication, while others will allow the use of up to four of these medications and still award the highest rate classification.

If you have more serious health conditions, the difference in the way individual carriers treat those issues can be even more dramatic. In other words, some health conditions that one carrier may accept may be cause for rejection by another provider.

Here is where having the assistance of a knowledgeable, experienced agent who can choose from several top companies in the LTCI field, can be a real asset in finding the company that is not only trustworthy and reliable, but also best fits your particular needs and health history.

Until next time...Duane


Duane Lipham is a Certified Long-Term Care (CLTC) consultant. You can get more free information, news and articles regarding long-term care and aging at The Long Term Care Consumer Guide Web site and The Long Term Care Review Blog.

almost 2 years ago, said...

Great topic :). The devil can be in the details. Let me break some of it down. First, most long-term care insurance contracts have what are called "riders". Now I can see everyone's eyes glazing over but stick with me. "Riders" are features. Think of it like a car. Do you want a sunroof? How about heated seats. Riders tell you things like how the payout for care will be made. If there is inflation protection? What type of care will be covered (e.g., can a family member provide the care and get paid)? Take a look at what Ron Lieber and his personal finance team at the NYT are writing about this topic. Its a great place to start to clear up what is meant by riders. Then you'll know what to choose! You'll be all set.

over 2 years ago, said...

Insightful article. I agree with the part about smaller LTC insurance companies that are doing good, but are not reported in media. If you're seriously considering long-term care insurance, I think the best way to go over your purchase is to not just rely on what you read on the news, but also do your own research. You can read about the LTC company's ratings from reputable ratings companies like Moody's. Here are a couple of sources to check: http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/company-ratings.php, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/08/long-term-care-insurance/index.htm, http://www.freeltcquotes.com/Long-Term-Care-Basics.aspx