Your Long-Term Care Insurance Plan: How to Find an Affordable Policy Without Sacrificing Coverage

A vital ingredient in any successful long-term care insurance plan is to have an affordable policy without sacrificing good coverage.

If you receive quotes from several highly rated insurers and yet find that the premiums are still too much to bear, there is no need to panic and assume that long-term care insurance costs too much. You may be able to adjust the benefit amounts of the original quotes to bring the premiums more in line with your expectations—and ensure an affordable policy.

Know the Costs of Long-term Care Where You Live

One way to lower premium costs is to make sure you know what the actual costs of care are in your area. There are many statistics used when discussing long-term care costs and often these are based on national averages. The actual cost of home care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes in your particular area may be much lower.

You can find out about local long-term care costs by either visiting the latest Genworth Cost of Care Guide or by calling a few local home care agencies and long-term care facilities to ask for comparison rates.

Adjust Your Benefit Period

Another way to lower long-term care insurance premiums is to use a shorter benefit period. Many consumers feel that unlimited benefits are necessary for good coverage. A recent study published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance in their 2009 Sourcebook revealed that only eight percent of those who buy a three-year benefit period exhaust the policy and still need care. Only a little over one percent of those with a five-year benefit period will see their claims closed due to policy exhaustion. This means that lowering the benefit period can be a practical way to lower insurance costs without sacrificing vital coverage.

Reexamine the Elimination Period

Another way to bring down long-term care insurance premiums is to increase the elimination period (the number of days after your care begins that precedes the insurance company's first payment of claims). Almost ninety percent of individual long-term care insurance policies use an elimination period between ninety and one hundred days according to the same 2009 Sourcebook referenced above. If your initial quotes used a thirty-day or sixty-day elimination period, you may be able to significantly lower the premiums by choosing a ninety-day elimination period instead.

There are other ways that an experienced long-term care specialist can help make this kind of insurance more affordable for you. If you ask for suggestions on lowering your premiums, the specialist will be happy to work with you to craft a long-term care insurance policy that is effective and affordable.

Until next time… Duane

Duane Lipham is a Certified Long-Term Care (CLTC) consultant.