What You Need to Know

  • Long-term care insurance policies help seniors pay for their care via cash payments or reimbursements. Since seniors are usually the ones purchasing long-term care insurance, many scams target that demographic. 
  • There are several different scams to be aware of, including those that sell the wrong type of insurance, policies with “watered” coverage, and fake policies. 
  • Warning signs of these scams include a lack of information or hesitation to disclose information  from the policy salespeople, a policy with benefits that are significantly better and less expensive than the market standard, and a salesperson asking you to write a check to them (instead of the insurance company) to fund the policy. 
  • Staying informed, comparing at least five policies, and purchasing from trusted providers will help protect you from scammers. 
  • If you are scammed, you can make a report with the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, and several other organizations.

Extensive long-term care needs may soon be a fact of life for many seniors who are nearing retirement or may already be a fact of life for those with disabilities, but not everyone knows how to plan for the cost of that care. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 70% of those who reach age 65 are projected to need at least one form of long-term care at some point. The type of care can vary in form, with nursing home stays, adult daycare, respite care, and assistance from home health aids all being common types of long-term care. With such a high percentage of seniors and those with disabilities likely to need care, long-term care insurance can be an important financial protection to consider. 

Long-term care (LTC) insurance often provides two to six years of coverage through cash payments or reimbursements, and it can cover a wide range of long-term care needs. However, in recent years, shopping for this insurance has become harder. Premiums have risen and numerous companies have stopped offering LTC insurance altogether. About 80 companies dropped out of the LTC insurance market in the early 2000s as a response to rising healthcare costs in the United States. With fewer options to choose from, today’s younger seniors and disabled face some difficult decisions when trying to plan for potential future care costs.

While simply trying to self-fund your long-term care might sound like the simplest option, the reality is that LTC insurance is still a better choice for many. The right policy can amplify your funds and protect against healthcare inflation. In 2020, the average annual US cost of nursing home care in a private room was $105,850, and that number is only set to rise in the next few decades. That’s why it’s so important to consider all of your options, including long-term care insurance. 

We created this guide to help you better understand your options for long-term care insurance. Below you can learn about prominent insurance companies offering long-term care policies that can offset increasingly high care costs. You’ll also find information to help you understand the basic terminology of the industry and the do’s and don’t of choosing a policy.

How We Chose the Best Companies for Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Size and National Availability: We focused our reviews on large insurance companies that offer their LTC policies in all or most states. All of the companies that we reviewed are Fortune 500 companies, indicating a high level of financial success on the national scale. 
  • Financial Rating: When looking for insurance, you want to know that a company has a track record of financial stability. We turned to the rating agency A.M. Best to evaluate  LTC insurance companies. All the companies we reviewed had an AM Best Rating of A or better. For reference, A+ and A++ policies are “superior” range, and A to A- are “excellent”. D is the worst rating that a company can get from AM Best. You can find more rating details in this guide
  • Agent Opinions: Far from taking insurance companies’ sales materials at face value, we also spent hours reading and listening to the opinions of non-captive insurance agents who have experience selling a variety of policy types. In cases where knowledgeable agents said companies had both positive and negative features, we strove to integrate multiple perspectives into our reviews, and we eliminated some companies altogether based on experts’ insights. 

The Basics of Long-Term Care Insurance

The Basics of Long-term Care Insurance

The first thing to know about long-term care insurance is that it comes in two forms: traditional and hybrid. A traditional policy centers on covering long-term care costs, so if you never need long-term care, you lose all potential benefits of having paid those premiums. Hybrid policies, on the other hand, are a combination of life insurance and long-term care insurance. If you do not use any long-term care benefits, your beneficiaries will get a death benefit when you are gone. If you do use the LTC benefits, then the death benefit will be depleted or paid out at a much lower amount, sometimes between 5%-20% of its original face value.

One of the most important differences between the two policy types is that hybrid policies almost always have “level” or “fixed” premiums, but traditional policies have premiums that may rise over time. Traditional policies sometimes have lower premiums to start with, but they can be unpredictable. 

It’s also important to note that most hybrid policies pay out benefits during the first two years of LTC needs using an “acceleration” of the death benefit (may be called the ADBR). In the remaining years of the benefit period, they will pay you for LTC needs using the long-term care benefit rider (LTCBR) portion of the policy. You’re likely to see this terminology when shopping. 

Key LTC Insurance Terms To Understand:

  • Maximum Lifetime Benefit: This is the maximum amount of money that the policy can pay you for LTC needs. It is often called the benefit pool, and if you have a hybrid policy it may or may not be equal to the policy’s death benefit. In many cases, it will be higher than the death benefit. After utilizing the maximum benefit, you will receive no more LTC benefits from the policy, regardless of age, need, or other factors.
  • Daily or Monthly Maximum: Many policies state a daily or monthly maximum amount that you can be paid for your LTC needs. If you have a reimbursement style policy, then you will submit your receipts monthly and receive up to this amount, but no more. If you have an indemnity (cash-paying) policy, then you will receive the maximum amount regardless of actual LTC spending, so long as you are still qualifying for LTC needs under the terms of the policy. Indemnity policies enable you to pay for a broader range of care types, and they also allow you to put your LTC payments towards things like your mortgage or other needs as they come up. 
  • Benefit Period: This is the number of years or months over which the policy will continuously pay you the maximum daily or monthly benefit. Depending on the policy, you may be able to tell what the lifetime maximum is by multiplying the monthly maximum and the benefit period in months. 
  • Elimination period: An elimination period is a set number of days during which you will need to cover your own LTC costs before the policy’s LTC coverage will kick in. After this period, some companies will then retroactively reimburse you for those days, but most will not. Some policies have a zero-day elimination period, but 90 days is the most common number.
  • Rider: A rider is any modification to the policy. The most popular riders are designed to protect you against inflation in the LTC industry. However, numerous other riders are also offered. Adding a rider often increases your premium rates.

The 8 Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies of 2022 

Company

Policy Types

Number of Policies
Offered

Reimbursement or
Indemnity?

Issue Ages

AM Best Financial
Rating

Traditional

1

Reimbursement

18-79

A++

Hybrid

2

Reimbursement 

30-80, varies by policy

A+

Hybrid

1

Indemnity

30-70

A+

Hybrid 

1

Indemnity

40-75

A

Traditional and Hybrid

3

Reimbursement 

35-75, varies by policy

A++

Traditional and Hybrid

2+

Both, varies by policy

30-79 

A+

Hybrid 

3

Both, varies by policy

30-75

A+

Hybrid

1

Reimbursement

35-69

A++

Northwestern Mutual Review 

Best Couple’s Discount

Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual is based in Milwaukee and has been a major player in finance and insurance for many years. This company is well-known for its life insurance products, annuities, disability insurance, and of course, long-term-care insurance. It is one of the few remaining brands that still sells traditional policies. Thanks to significant growth in 2020, this company now has the largest revenue of companies based in Wisconsin. Northwestern Mutual now ranks in 90th place among Fortune 500 companies. 

Of all the companies we reviewed, we found that Northwestern Mutual had the best discounts for couples, with discounts rates as high as 30% off in some cases. This A++ rated company’s discounts help make its respected but somewhat costly policies more affordable for those in marriages or other long-term relationships. 

Overview of Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Traditional

Indemnity or Reimbursement?

Reimbursement

Number of Policies Offered

1

Issue Ages

18-79

A.M. Best Company Rating

A++

Northwestern Mutual’s Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Northwestern Mutual only offers one long-term care policy, a traditional option called QuietCare. This plan offers a wide range of customization for total policy value, benefit period, elimination period, and maximum monthly benefits. Since it’s a reimbursement style policy, you can only receive the maximum monthly amount if you have receipts to match that amount, and you will need to submit quite a bit of paperwork each month. 

You can also further modify your policy with riders, such as inflation protection or the Automatic Additional Purchase Benefit (which allows you to buy additional coverage in the future without additional underwriting), a survivorship benefit, a paid-up nonforfeiture benefit, and more. Rider availability can be impacted by state, age, and other factors. Keep in mind that riders can dramatically increase premiums, and should only be selected if absolutely essential. 

Plan

QuietCare

Type

Traditional

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

$54,000-$864,000

Benefit Amount 

$1,500-$12,000 monthly

Benefit Period 

3 or 6 years

Elimination Period

6 or 12 weeks in all states, additional options of 25 or 52 weeks in some states

Eligibility

Between ages 18-79, subject to underwriting

The Pros and Cons of Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • Allows current customers to upgrade their policies to include newly available features.
  • Set your monthly coverage amount between $1,500 to $12,000 in increments of $100.
  • Discounts of 10-30% available for those with a spouse or companion, plus 5% discount for certain employees and memberships.

Cons:

  • Reports of having some of the highest cost LTC plans on the market.

Lincoln Financial Review 

Highest Issue Ages

Lincoln Financial, a subsidiary of Lincoln National Corporation, was founded in 1905 and named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln. Currently headquartered in Radnor, PA, Lincoln Financial ranks 172nd on the Fortune 500 list and has an A+ financial stability rating from AM Best. It is a popular choice for a variety of life insurance policies as well as for its annuities.

Lincoln Financial’s hybrid LTC insurance policies are notable for their unusually high maximum issue ages. It can be difficult to qualify for an LTC policy once you’re well into retirement, and most companies will not approve these policies past the age of 70 or 75. However, Lincoln Financial has the ability to issue some policies up to age 80, provided that the applicant is in good health and meets other underwriting expectations.

Overview of Lincoln Financial Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Hybrid 

Number of Policies Offered

2

Indemnity or Reimbursement?

Reimbursement 

Issue Ages

30-80, varies by policy

A.M. Best Company Rating

A+

Lincoln Financial Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Lincoln Financial only offers hybrid long-term care policies, and its mainstay policy is MoneyGuard III, which is a Universal Life policy. In 2021, it added the MoneyGuard Market Advantage, an indexed universal life policy, to its catalog, a policy that has asset growth potential tied to the stock market. However, growth is not guaranteed and it may also include higher fees. 

Both of the policies are available in a wide range of benefit amounts, and both can be designed as a single premium payment policy or as a policy that you will pay premiums for over time. You can opt to include a variety of riders in either policy, including:

  • 3% or 5% compound growth for inflation protection
  • Value Protection Endorsement (VPE) to help prevent policy lapses in emergencies 
  • Acceleration of the death benefit in case of terminal illness
  • Guarantee that a percentage of your premiums will be returned to you in certain situations. 

Plan

MoneyGuard Advantage

Moneyguard III

Type

Hybrid

Hybrid 

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

$50,000-$500,000

$50,000-$500,000

Benefit Amount 

Variable

Variable

Benefit Period 

NA

NA

Elimination Period

None

None

Eligibility

Ages 30-70 with streamlined underwriting

Ages 40-80 with streamlined underwriting

NOTE: The information in this table may not fully apply in California and New York State.

The Pros and Cons of Lincoln Financial Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • International benefits for up to 36 months if you move outside the US.
  • No elimination period to receive benefits, unlike the industry-standard 90 days.
  • Couples discount available even if only one person signs up.

Cons:

  • More administrative fees than typical LTC policies.

Nationwide Review 

Best Cash Benefits

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide provides insurance for automobiles, life, homes, farms, pets, and much more. In 2020, it paid $16.9 billion to its customers in claims and benefits. This company ranks 76th on the Fortune 100 list for revenue, and it also was rated number 91 out of 100 Fortune Best Companies to Work For. Since 1925, this company has been renowned for its quality and stability, and it is currently rated A+ by A.M. Best.

Nationwide’s CareMatters II policy is known as one of the best hybrid indemnity policies currently available. As a policy that pays cash benefits for long-term care needs, it allows seniors to choose how to best use their money without worrying too much about monthly paperwork. Its generous terms and flexible design make it a truly competitive option. 

Overview of Nationwide Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Hybrid

Number of Policies Offered

1

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Indemnity

Issue Ages

30-70

A.M. Best Company Rating 

A+

NOTE: The information in this table may not fully apply in California and New York State, where only an older version of Nationwide’s LTC insurance is available. 

Nationwide Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Nationwide has long offered a long-term care insurance option called CareMatters but has more recently created CareMatters II. This newer plan offers a wide range of benefits beyond that of its predecessor, although it is not available in California or New York State. CareMatters II is an indemnity plan that offers cash payments with few spending restrictions. This differs from the original plan which uses a reimbursement model, requiring monthly paperwork and offering less for long-term care needs.

CareMatters II is a hybrid policy with consistent premiums and payment of at least 20% as a death benefit, even if all LTC benefits are used. Numerous customization options are available, including a single, monthly, or annual payment option for five or 10 years or up to a specific age. Inflation protection riders and benefit periods between two or seven years also make this plan very customizable.

Plan

CareMatters II 

Type

Hybrid

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

$60,000-$500,000

Benefit Amount 

Highly variable

Benefit Period 

2-7 years

Elimination Period

90 days

Eligibility

Ages 30-70, subject to underwriting

The Pros and Cons of Nationwide Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • High transparency with detailed plan information available online.
  • Highly customizable with choices for benefit periods, inflation protection, and payment options.
  • Retroactive payment after the 90-day elimination period.

Cons:

  • Not available in California or New York, but a reimbursement payment model policy with fewer options can be purchased.

Brighthouse Financial Review

Highest Maximum Benefit for an Indemnity Policy

Brighthouse Financial is a relative newcomer in the life insurance and annuity market, but it’s quickly become a competitive option. Founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, this company began selling its policies in 2017. Brighthouse Financial ranks at 353 on the Fortune 500 list, reflecting a smaller market share than many of its competitors that we have covered. Its A rating from the A.M. Best indicates that, while it does not have quite the history of its competitors, it is still considered to be in good financial standing.

While it has never offered traditional LTC policies, BrightHouse Financial’s hybrid SmartCare option offers one of the highest benefit indemnity policies available. Its maximum benefit can be set at up to 1 million dollars, providing great coverage options for LTC as well as a significant death benefit should the LTC coverage not be used. 

Overview of Brighthouse Financial Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Hybrid

Number of Policies Offered

1

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Indemnity

Issue Ages

40-75

A.M. Best Company Rating

A

Brighthouse Financial Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Brighthouse Financial offers one LTC policy, SmartCare, which offers cash payments with a death benefit of up to 1 million dollars. Customers can opt for universal life or indexed universal life. Inflation protection riders of 5% are available for SmartCare, as well. You can pay for this policy through a single premium or you can pay over a time period ranging from two to five years.

SmartCare includes multiple phases of coverage, which it calls the Long-Term Care Accelerated Death Benefit Rider (LTC ADBR) and the Extension of Benefits Rider (EOBR). The LTC ADBR lasts for two years and will provide coverage by reducing the death benefit by up to 95%. The EOBR will then add either two or four additional years of LTC payments, depending on which option you select. Together, the LTC ADBR and the EOBR equal your benefit period. With this policy, using long-term care coverage will mean that your beneficiaries will receive very little death benefit when you are gone.

Plan

SmartCare

Type

Hybrid 

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

Up to $1,000,000*

Monthly or Daily Benefit Limit

Varies greatly 

Benefit Period 

4 or 6 years

Elimination Period

90 days

Eligibility

Ages 40-75, with simplified underwriting

*Higher amounts may be offered to certain age and health classes but will require more stringent underwriting. 

The Pros and Cons of Brighthouse Financial Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • Cash payments for LTC needs with no requirement of monthly receipt submission.
  • If benefits outpace need, the extra cash can be saved for future needs.
  • Option to “index’ the policy, tying it to the stock market for potential growth.

Cons:

  • A.M. Best rating of “A” is on the lower end of the best ratings.
  • Inflation protection rider only available at 5%.

New York Life Review

Most Experienced Company

New York Life stands out as the company with the longest history in insurance among those that we have reviewed. Founded in 1845, this insurer consistently rates it as financially stable and profitable. It is currently rated an A++ (the highest rating possible) by AM Best for its financial stability. It also ranks in 67th place among Fortune 500 companies. This company commands respect due to its proven reputation and is currently a marketing partner with both AARP and Fidelity. 

Overview of New York Life Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Traditional and Hybrid

Number of Policies Offered

3

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Reimbursement 

Issue Ages

35-75*, may vary by policy

A.M. Best Company Rating 

A++ 

*Note: In some states or for some health classes, this range may differ. 

New York Life Long-Term Care Policy Features

New York Life offers three different long-term care policies (two traditional and one hybrid). The NYL MyCare uses a monthly coinsurance model of reimbursement that is uncommon in the industry, and it has no elimination period. SecureCare, a more customizable traditional option, has a daily reimbursement limit (amount varies by policy value) and uses a deductible rather than an elimination period before coverage begins. Asset Flex is a hybrid, fixed-premium whole life insurance policy with provisions for LTC needs. 

MyCare, SecureCare, and AssetFlex all come with multiple riders and customization options, to such an extent keeping them all straight can be a bit confusing. All three policies can be purchased with inflation protection riders and a waiver of premium riders. A waiver of premium rider will allow you to continue receiving benefits without having to pay your premium if certain conditions are met. AssetFlex premiums may be paid in a lump sum or over a set number of years, and a return of premium rider may be offered to those purchasing AssetFlex.  

Plan

My Care

Secure Care

Asset Flex

Type

Traditional

Traditional

Hybrid

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

$50,000-$250,000

$50,000 to $250,000.

Up to $229,000

Monthly or Daily Benefit Limit

Monthly 80% reimbursement of your LTC costs

Has a daily benefit limit, exact amount varies

Not Specified

Benefit Period 

Not Specified

None (coverage ends when maximum lifetime benefit is used up)

Up to 7 years

Elimination Period

None

Deductible of $4,500 to $21,000.

90 days

Eligibility

Typically ages 35-75

Typically ages 35-75

Typically ages 35-75

The Pros and Cons of New York Life Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • 25% discount for couples when both members join.
  • A.M. Best rating of “A++”, the highest rating possible.
  • Three plan options, both traditional or hybrid choices available.

Cons:

  • Traditional plans come with risk of premium increases.

Mutual of Omaha Review

Best For Traditional Policies

Mutual of Omaha, a Nebraska-based company since 1909, is one of just a few mutual companies that still sell traditional life insurance companies. While not as large as some competitors, this company still ranks among Fortune 500 companies, sitting in 282nd place. It has a respectable A+ rating from A.M. Best, the 2nd best rating available, an indication of great stability. 

Many other companies have moved away from traditional policies because they are expensive for insurers to provide, but Mutual of Omaha retains two traditional policies, both of which offer a great array of customization options. We consider Mutual of Omaha as having one of the best traditional policies on the market due to its highly customizable nature and due to the fact that it can be designed to provide LTC coverage through indemnity or reimbursement payments. 

Overview of Mutual of Omaha Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Traditional 

Number of Policies Offered

2

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Both

Issue Ages

30-79*

A.M. Best Company Rating

A+

*In New York, issue ages are 30-75.

Mutual of Omaha Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Mutual of Omaha offers two traditional long-term care policies. The Secure Solution is the simplest option, and the Custom Solution offers a bit more flexibility, but overall the two policies are quite similar. Both Traditional LTC policies from Mutual of Omaha have the unique ability to be structured with either reimbursement or indemnity style payments. The amounts in the table below reflect reimbursement rates– maximum monthly payments for indemnity policies will typically be lower, yet will be far more practical for many people and may actually pay out more benefits in the long run, depending on your situation. 

Other customizations available for these policies include several different inflation protection riders, and a wide range of maximum benefit amounts, benefit periods, and elimination periods to select from. Secure Solution and Custom Solution both provide a wide range of options to make the policy your own, though Secure Solution is said to be the simpler of the two.

Plan

Secure Solution

Custom Solution

Type

Traditional

Traditional

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

$36,000-$600,000

$50,000 to $500,000 

Monthly Limit

$1,500 to $10,000

$1,500 to $10,000

Benefit Period 

Choice of 2-5 years 

Choice of 2-5 years 

Elimination Period

Choice of 90, 180 days, or 365 days

Choice of 0, 30, 60, 90, 180 days, or 365 days

Eligibility**

Ages 30-79 with underwriting 

Ages 30-79 with underwriting 

**In New York, issue ages are 30-75.

The Pros and Cons of Mutual of Omaha Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • Flexibility in traditional LTC policies.
  • International benefits available for up to one year living outside the US.
  • Discounts include 5% off if you have a spouse, and 15% off if both sign up or if you qualify for “preferred health” status.

Cons:

  • Costs of traditional policies can rise and have done so significantly over the past decade.

MassMutual Review 

Highest Rated Single-Pay Policy

MassMutual has been offering insurance options from its Springfield, Massachusetts headquarters since 1851. In the early 2000s, it expanded its services to Asian markets and set up a separate division to handle investment and estate planning services. This company currently ranks 123rd on the Fortune 500 list.

MassMutual is the only A++ (A.M. Best rating scale) company that offers a single-premium option for long-term care insurance. Single-premium policies can be an extremely convenient, simple option for those who have the liquidity to purchase them. While four other companies that we reviewed have similar options, this is the company with the highest financial stability rating to offer a single premium policy.

Overview of MassMutual Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Hybrid

Number of Policies Offered

1

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Reimbursement

Issue Ages

35-69 

A.M. Best Company Rating 

A++

MassMutual Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

MassMutual essentially offers one hybrid LTC policy, CareChoice. However, this policy is available in two versions. With the CareChoice One option, you will pay a single premium for your coverage, and with ChareChocie Select, you will pay a level premium over a 12 year period. The minimum one-time premium for a CareChoice One policy is typically $25,000, which may translate to a benefit pool of roughly $50,000+, depending on policy terms. The minimum benefit pool for a Select policy is more difficult to determine, but an agent can walk you through your options. 

Both policies offered by MassMutual are similar, providing a death benefit if the owner passes without using the LTC coverage. However, the benefit diminishes or is eliminated depending on how much coverage you need. These plans also offer inflation protection riders. While MassMutual sells policies in all states, exact policy limits can vary quite a bit from one location to the next.

Plan

CareChoice
(One and Select Versions)

Type

Hybrid

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

Minimum of about $50,000+ 

Monthly or Daily Benefit Amount 

About $1,550-$12,400 monthly

Benefit Period 

Minimum of 4 years

Elimination Period

90 days

Eligibility

Ages 35-69 (65 for tobacco users), subject to streamlined underwriting*

*In limited cases, a brief “paramedical” exam may be required as part of underwriting.

The Pros and Cons of MassMutual Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • “A++” rating from A.M. Best, the highest available.
  • Longevity, with the business starting in 1851.
  • Single-pay option, a rarity for LTC policies.

Cons:

  • Few customization options in terms of benefit periods or elimination periods.

Pacific Life Review 

Longest Benefit Period

Recognizable by its distinctive humpback whale logo, Pacific Life is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. Currently ranking as 303 on the Fortune 500 list, this company had an astonishing 1.2 trillion dollars of life insurance in force in 2020. With a rich history dating back to 1868, it’s also one of the oldest companies currently selling LTC insurance. 

Pacific Life’s hybrid long-term care options stand out among competitors due to their benefit periods. Among the companies that state a benefit period (not all do), this company offers the longest option at 8 years. Many other policies only offer benefits for a maximum of 6 or 7 years, and that extra year of coverage may make a big difference for some.

Overview of Pacific Long-Term Care Insurance

Policy Types

Hybrid

Number of Policies Offered

3

Reimbursement or Indemnity?

Either

Issue Ages

30-75

A.M. Best Company Rating 

A+

Pacific Life Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Features

Pacific Life carries a hybrid LTC policy called PremierCare. Like most hybrid policies, this whole life option pays out LTC benefits in two parts, first through an accelerated death benefit (ABD) for two years, then through a long-term care rider for an additional 2-6 years. If unused, your beneficiary will receive a death benefit when you are gone, but if used, your beneficiaries may receive a reduced amount or nothing at all. LTC benefits can be structured as reimbursement or indemnity, and inflation protection riders of 3% or 5% can also be added to the plan. In some cases, other riders or customization options may be offered.

PremierCare policies are highly customizable, and in most states, they are currently offered in the Choice 100, Choice MAX, and Choice MAX Multipay options. The first two are “single premium” policies, so they’re great for those who have a large sum already saved. Converting some of your savings into a policy can maximize its ability to cover long-term care down the road, should you need that benefit. The Multipay option allows you to pay level premiums over a time period of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. Choice 100 offers you the chance to get 100% of your premiums back should you decide to surrender (give up, stop paying for) the policy while living, but Choice MAX only offers 70% back. Potential customers should also be aware that international benefits are available for these policies, but typically only within the first two years of the total benefit period.  

Plan

PremierCare Choice
(100, MAX, and MAX Multipay versions)

Type

Hybrid

Maximum Lifetime Benefit

Variable

Daily or Monthly Maximum

Often $2,500-$25,000 monthly, will vary depending on options selected

Benefit Period 

5-8 years

Elimination Period

0-90 days

Eligibility

30-75 with streamlined underwriting

The Pros and Cons of Pacific Life Long-Term Care Insurance 

Pros:

  • Variety of options, including benefits, payment schedules, riders, and more.
  • Discounts for those with spouses or partners, regardless of if they apply, too.
  • Easy application process of about one hour and decisions made in about one week.

Cons:

  • Indemnity plan limits, offering about 20% less than that of their reimbursement policy.

How to Choose a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

How to Choose a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

Step 1: Start Looking at the Right Time

Long-term care insurance premiums are generally cheaper the younger you are, but if you sign up too early in life, then you’ll end up paying more premiums over time anyway. While many policies are available for those as young as 30 or 40, most experts suggest that you start looking for a policy in your late 50s or mid-60s. Insurance companies are currently reporting that their customers are signing up at younger ages than ever before, but the ideal age is typically when you are nearing retirement age.

Calculate Future Costs

It can be difficult to know how much care you will actually need, but thankfully there are plenty of helpful financial planning calculators that you can access for free online. In fact, most of the LTC insurance companies that we reviewed above host a calculator on their own websites along with articles that detail what kind of costs you’re likely to face. This LTC future costs calculator from Mutual of Omaha is a good tool to try since it includes location data and potential inflation in its calculations. Most agents recommend buying a policy with built-in compound interest of 3% or 5% so that the policy will keep pace with rising healthcare costs.

Stay Informed of Long-Term Care Trends and Economics 

During this initial research phase, you may also find it helpful to familiarize yourself with news articles related to the rising costs of care. If you’re young and currently in excellent health, it can be hard to grasp what care costs could look like in the future, so getting familiar with the issues at stake can inform your decision-making. KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) is a non-profit news source that can be helpful for researching specific trends or questions that you have. 

Step 2: Consider The Pros and Cons of Different Policies

Every LTC policy includes tradeoffs of one kind or another. For example, a traditional policy has a fairly simple structure, and in some cases very cost-effective coverage, but it is also often called a “use-it-or-lose-it” benefit. This is due to the fact that if you never need long-term care, then it is not possible to get any other kinds of benefits from the plan. You cannot know for sure if you will need years of long-term care coverage during your lifetime, so you cannot know if you’ll ever benefit from the premiums you pour into a traditional policy. 

Hybrid policies tend to be more complex than traditional policies and are often a less cost-efficient form of coverage since you’re essentially paying for two different kinds of benefits in one. However, these policies give you some reassurance that, if you pass without using the LTC portion of the policy, at least your heirs will benefit from your premium payments by receiving the death benefit. Even in the simple question of whether to buy traditional or hybrid, the risks and benefits are evident, and neither policy option is going to be “perfect.” Instead of thinking in absolute terms, it’s best to think about your specific financial and personal situation.

Always look for the trade-offs in policies. If one policy offers a feature that the other does not, is there a hidden cost for that feature built into the terms? An honest agent will explain how riders or special features drive up premiums or take away other benefits. Some guarantees, such as a guaranteed 100% return of premiums if you surrender (return) the policy, may sound appealing but can trigger higher monthly payments, a shorter benefit period, or other policy limits that will reduce your access to funds. Again, such a feature may be good for your peace of mind, but never assume that it will be free.

Step 3: Understand Market Pressures and Sales Tactics

When you get financial advice about a long-term care plan, make sure that you understand the person or organization’s financial incentives. For example, you should know whether or not you’re speaking with a captive agent. A captive agent is an insurance agent who is contractually obligated only to sell one company’s products. Such an agent can provide you with great details on policies, but they won’t be able to help you compare their company’s policies to what’s offered at other companies. It’s a good idea to get quotes from agents who are licensed to help you compare quotes from a variety of companies. 

You also shouldn’t hesitate to ask any agent about administrative fees and commissions associated with the policy that is being pitched to you. It can be tempting for agents to sell the most complex, fancy-sounding policies if those policies come with higher commissions, but the fees and risks associated with some policies may not be worth it for you. This may be especially true in the realm of hybrid policies that are designed as indexed universal life insurance. Indexed policies sometimes seem to promise market-tied growth with zero risks, but the truth is they may not grow as much as advertised and their fees can be high. 

Step 4: Carefully Compare Policy Terms and Choose Your Best Option

Whether you select a traditional or hybrid policy, you’re buying a financial product that has a lot of different pieces. You’ll need to get quotes from multiple insurance agencies or from an agent/broker who can pull several quotes at once for you. Try your best to compare similar policies to one another so that your comparisons reflect policy value accurately. 

With numerous time periods, benefit limits, riders, and care types to think about, it may be tempting to just skim the terms of the policies presented to you. It’s best to take your time and to go over anything you don’t understand with a financial advisor. Having a list of important questions to ask may also help you.

Key questions for determining the value of a policy:

  • Are any types of long-term care excluded from coverage, or covered at a lower rate?
  • What options are there for premium payment schedules, and does one option cost more than the other in the long run? 
  • Are these premiums “level”, or can the insurance company raise them at a later date?
  • If I qualify for long-term care coverage, will I be paid in a flat cash amount monthly, or will I just be reimbursed according to my LTC receipts?
  • What is the daily or monthly maximum benefit?
  • How many years of benefits are available once I start receiving benefits?
  • Does this policy have an elimination period? How long is it?
  • Does adding a rider to this policy reduce its overall benefit amount, raise the premium, or otherwise reduce the cost-efficiency of the policy?

After asking all these questions, it’s time to make your selection and apply for a policy. In most cases, before being approved for a policy, you will need to complete a phone interview to satisfy the insurer’s underwriting requirements. You’ll be asked various health questions, and the insurer will probably also look into your official health records. 

The process of selecting and getting approved for a policy may feel overwhelming, but it’s worth taking your time to get the right policy. You can’t count on regular health insurance or Medicare for most long-term care needs, so a good LTC plan can make all the difference for your finances and your quality of life in the future.

Long-Term Care Insurance Scams: What You Need to Know

The increase in the availability of long-term care insurance products has, in turn, led to an increase in long-term insurance scams and fraud. And since seniors are typically the ones purchasing long-term care insurance policies, many scammers target this demographic in their schemes. By educating yourself about fraud and buying your policy from a trusted provider, you can minimize your risk of being the victim of a scam. 

If you’re shopping for long-term care insurance, this information will help you understand the various types of scams, how to protect yourself from fraud, and what resources are available if you’re a victim.

Common Long-Term Care Insurance Scams

Long-term care insurance scams come in many different forms. Here are some of the most common types and how you can notice the warning signs.

  • Fraudulent Policies: One of the most prevalent forms of long-term care insurance scams is fraudulent policies. This means that a so-called insurance agent is collecting premium payments without ever offering any legitimate coverage. 
  • Overstated Benefits: Policies with overstated benefits are what you might call “too good to be true.” These policies claim to offer great coverage for a low premium, but the fine print reveals minimum coverage. 
  • Watered Coverage: Similar to policies with overstated benefits, “watered coverage” reels customers in by offering very low premiums. But they’re able to offer these low premiums because they’ve eliminated crucial parts of the policy. That means you may be denied coverage or find yourself facing extremely high out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • Policy Churning: Policy churning occurs when scammers try to convince consumers to cancel an existing policy in favor of a “new and improved” option. Unfortunately, these new policies typically don’t offer anything more than their previous policy and often have higher premiums. 
  • Dishonest Applications:In some cases, scammers will lie about the applicant’s information, like their date of birth or preexisting conditions to get a better policy or lower premiums. Not only is this practice illegal, but it will also lead to the policyholder being denied coverage, and possibly even being charged with fraud. 

Long Term Care Insurance Scam Warning Signs

As you shop for long-term care insurance, stay vigilant and be on the lookout for these common warning signs:

  • The policy seems too good to be true, whether it offers generous benefits, extremely low premiums, or both.
  • The insurance salesperson is hesitant to disclose particular information or won’t give a straightforward answer to your questions. 
  • The salesperson will not allow you to fill out your own application. 
  • The salesperson wants you to pay in cash or write a check to them, not the insurance company. 
  • You’re asked to “trade up” or “upgrade” a policy you already have. 

Tips to Protect Against Long-Term Care Insurance Scams

To help protect yourself against long-term care insurance fraud and scams, keep these tips in mind.

Protection Tip

Benefit

Research the policy fine print and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Understanding the details of the policy and any applicable restrictions will minimize the chances of becoming a victim of watered coverage, inappropriate policies, or overstated benefits. 

Compare at least five policies when shopping.

Viewing different policies will help you spot any abnormalities and red flags.

Complete your own application. 

Completing it by yourself or with the help of someone you trust will ensure that all the information is complete and accurate. 

Pay the insurance company directly with a card or check. 

This ensures you’re paying the company directly and the salesperson can’t take your money for themself.

What To Do If You are a Victim of a Long-Term Care Insurance Scam

If you think you’re a victim of a long-term insurance scam, follow these steps.

Report the Fraud

The FBI suggests reporting your suspicions of insurance fraud to your own insurance company’s fraud department. You should be able to locate this number on the company’s website and in the paperwork you received when you signed up. Be ready to give the details and dates of anything that made you suspect fraud—the more details you can provide the better. 

Next, report the fraud to your State Insurance Fraud Bureau. You can easily find your state’s contact information through the NCHAA website.

After reporting the scam to your state’s official insurance bureau, you may want to report it to other organizations. Below are additional options for reporting insurance scams, and resources for people who have experienced insurance fraud.

Organization

How It Helps

Contact

National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association

Various resources and education available, including the ability to see if an insurance provider is licensed in your state. 

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

A nonprofit dedicated to preventing insurance fraud and helping victims rebuild.

Senior Medicare Patrol

An organization that helps prevent, detect, and stop insurance fraud. 

HHS Hotline

A toll-free number where you can report fraud directly to the Department of Health & Human Services

1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477)

National Center for Victims of Crime

Provides resources that help victims of financial crimes rebuild their lives. 

Protect Yourself From Future Scams

While you can’t undo what’s already happened, you can protect yourself from a worsening situation with these steps:

  • Don’t make any further payments
  • Freeze your credit report
  • Avoid unsolicited phone calls
  • If you’ve been paying with a credit card, alert your company and freeze your card. Contact your bank if you’ve been paying with debit or checks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a long-term care insurance quote online?

In most cases, you cannot get a long-term care insurance quote online. LTC policies tend to be unusually complex, so agents prefer to have a conversation with you first to understand your needs and preferences. You can typically find brochures and articles from insurance companies online, so you can familiarize yourself with products to a certain extent that way. However, calling an agent or visiting a local office will enable you to truly learn about the rates available in your area.

What personal factors will affect my long-term care insurance costs?

With most companies, your age, gender, relationship status, and health class will all impact the premium rates offered to you. Those same factors may also impact how high of a benefit you will be able to sign up for. Those who have been tobacco users, those over 70, and those who already have severe, chronic health concerns may have trouble getting approved for policies at some companies, unfortunately. Almost universally, women will be quoted at higher rates than their male counterparts due to the fact that women tend to live longer than men do.

Where can I learn more about long-term care services?

LongTermCare.gov is an excellent resource for learning all about long-term care basics. You can click through the different parts of this government website to view statistics, learn about Medicare, Medicaid, and other government services, and find links to several different resources. This site includes informative videos as well as articles. If you’re new to the world of long-term care, you may find some of the definitions provided here especially helpful as a frame of reference when you are looking at LTC insurance policies.  

What are concierge services in long-term care insurance?

Many LTC insurance companies provide a “concierge service” for their customers. This service is often provided through a third party hired by the insurance company, and using it should be free to you. Essentially, if you become eligible to receive LTC benefits through your policy, then you can ask the concierge service for assistance in locating local care providers. They may assist you in finding a home health aide, an available spot at a nursing home, or a supplier of a home healthcare product that you need, for example.

Do all long-term care policies include a death benefit for my heirs?

No, not all long-term care policies include a death benefit. Policies that are labeled “traditional” never do. Hybrid policies always include at least some death benefit, but if you end up using the LTC benefits before your death then your death benefit will be reduced or eliminated. Whether or not a “residual” death benefit is left for your heirs will depend on how the hybrid policy is written. Some policies are designed to retain a certain percentage for your heirs, while others are not.

Answers to Other Frequently Asked Questions About Long-Term Care Insurance

How Does Long-Term Care Insurance Work?