Is long-term care insurance worth it?

My dad's death last year not only made me and my siblings 40-something orphans, but it also marked the end of my parents' Nursing Home Era (1998-2011). Until his death, either my mom or dad was in a nursing home for almost 11 years of that 13 year span. That blew.

It was also very expensive. My mom shelled out $500,000 cash over the years, and her place was neither shmancy nor fancy. My dad “only” paid $22,000 per year because he had Long-Term Care Insurance.

What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is insurance you buy to help pay for Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care should you ever need it. We did not have LTCI for my mom. We paid about $200/day for her care.

After my dad saw that first bill, he did what all shocked cartoon characters do. He lifted his jaw off the floor and put his eyeballs back in their respective sockets. Then he purchased an LTCI policy for himself. My dad had just turned 65 and this was 10 years before he would need to use it.

My dad paid $131/month or $1,572/year for LTCI. Therefore, over 10 years he paid out almost $16,000 for his LTCI. His policy covered $150/day for three years' worth of days. The nursing home was $210/day. That extra $60/day came to $22,000/year and was paid out of my dad's pocket. The other $55,000 per year was paid by the LTCI company.

My dad's LTCI saved him $130,000 over the 2+ years he was being cared for. Subtract the $16K my dad paid in premiums over the 10 years before he moved into a home, and my dad still came out ahead $114,000. The $114,000 return on his “investment” in LTCI was sevenfold.

Pretty sweet, right? Sounds like I'm doing a pitch to get LTCI.

Not so fast.

Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?

I looked into getting a policy for myself five years ago. I saw how nursing homes devoured my parents' life savings and thought it might be wise to get an LTCI policy while I was young. The best deal I found was comparable coverage and pricing to my dad's policy. But my dad got his in 1998 when he was 65, and I was only 42 in 2007.

My beef with buying an LTCI policy, is that I did not find any company willing to guarantee that the monthly premium would remain unchanged. In other words, it could go up. Not guaranteeing my premium price seemed fairly significant. I don't recall any time in my life when I agreed to buy something where I could get charged more later at the seller's whim.

Even my Magic 8 Ball said that my premium would go up. I would be foolish to think it wouldn't. Since I would then have to choose to pay the increase or drop the coverage and wave bye-bye to the tens of thousands I sunk into the LTCI policy, I do not have an LTCI policy.

In August 2008, my dad checked into the nursing home. We hoped it would be temporary, but soon realized he needed full time care. In November 2008, a letter came from my dad's LTCI company, Genworth. (See the letter at the end of this article.)

They noticed he had started using his LTCI and were going to raise his premium or drop his daily benefit! I'm not saying this was some devious scheme. Everyone I dealt with at Genworth was very helpful. If they were going to do this in 2008, I assumed my LTCI premiums would get jacked up before I need it 25-50 years later. After all, health care costs are not getting less expensive.

Predicting the Future

In my opinion, I don't think nursing homes as we know them will be there in 30 or 40 years. As it is now, if you don't have LTCI or enough money to pay for your care, Medicaid pays for you.

So, what should we do? Should we spend every penny we make while healthy, then ask our fellow citizen taxpayers to pay for our care via Medicaid when we are penniless? That seems to be the approach many Americans take. To be fair, this hasn't even occurred to most people.

Or do we get an LTCI policy and hope to afford it and the probable price hikes on the monthly premiums? Rock, meet hard place.

My hunch is that In-Home Care will proliferate.

Back in 1988 in Huntsville, Alabama, in one of my first weeks as a full-time professional stand-up comic, I worked with Brett Leake. Here he is backstage with Jay Leno. The Leaker is a great comic and friend. Twenty years after meeting, we often found ourselves talking about the challenges we were going through with our fathers. He and his family received the2008 Virginia Governor's Caregiver Recognition Award for their in-home care for his father.

You can read about The Leakes' situation and what they did to care for his dad at home, on Brett's website. As Brett wrote:

We use this opportunity to tell you about an extraordinary man, to say thanks, and to make the case for in-home care. If there is someone in your family who needs help and whose needs can be met outside an institution, please try to make it work at home.

Nursing homes serve a valuable purpose. Many of the caregivers are angels. But no matter how nice the institutions are, they aren't home.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Have you found an LTCI company that will guarantee that they will not raise your premiums? Have you hired caregivers?

Postscript: Here is Page One of the letter from Genworth. They told us they were going to raise my dad's policy premium 12%. We could keep virtually the same monthly premium payment we'd been paying for 10 years, but reduce the daily benefit, if my dad ever needed to use his LTCI. The reduction of daily benefit coverage would be $17/day or $6,205/year. That's kinda significant!

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Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

“As it is now, if you don’t have LTCI or enough money to pay for your care, Medicaid pays for you.” One important thing is nursing home quality. If all you have is Medicaid, then the quality of the nursing home that will take you is much lower than the one that exhausts your savings (or uses your LTCI) and then switches to Medicaid. Why more people don’t use LTCI is one of the big mysteries in health economics. Amy Finkelstein at MIT has a number of papers on the topic. She has a good paper with Jeff Brown in… Read more »

Peter Way
Peter Way
6 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Insurance is a product that everyone loves to hate. What would you do with your $2000 a year if you could enjoy it? Thanks for the MIT article source. It is fascinating that a consumer needs to go to MIT to understand how to buy this product. (I did go to MIT and it is still hard for me to understand). The thread talks about many issues regarding premium increases, and the uncertainties of needing insurance and finally not being able to use it fully when the time comes. I have friends who lived a long life and had insurance,… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
6 years ago
Reply to  Peter Way

“Honest” and “insurance company” are mutually exclusive!

Peter Way
Peter Way
6 years ago
Reply to  Peter Way

Since beginning this investigation, I found a whole life policy with level payments over 10 years (or a single premium at the beginning). Over time, a greater and greater amount of that money is yours, and it can be used for LTC payments. There is a rider premium that extends the lifetime benefits, 5% inflation adjustment on payouts, etc. Still a very complex product. This one is by State Life Insurance Company. The rider is the key. Otherwise, the whole life policy can be easily exhausted in 50 months. You really need a financial advisor you can trust in order… Read more »

G
G
5 years ago
Reply to  Peter Way

Hi peter, Have you found ” the answer”?

Ely
Ely
8 years ago

Thank you for this article, and I look forward to hearing others’ experiences. I’m currently on the fence regarding LTC insurance for my mid-50s husband, as we don’t have much savings. I understand Medicaid requires the near-bankruptcy of the spouse before it will provide care; since I am 16 years younger and much healthier than my husband, this would be a problem.

Jesse Slome
Jesse Slome
8 years ago

There are many errors in your concepts. You buy products everyday without knowing what they will cost next year (cable TV comes to mind, as does health insurance, car insurance and homeowners insurance). You can buy long term care insurance where the price is guaranteed. But that’s probably not the best way to go. Also, yes, this is a financial product and that’s how many think of it. The largest open claim paid $2500 for their coverage and the insurer has so far paid out $1.7 million. By the way, I wouldn’t consider this person or their family a ‘winner’.… Read more »

Chip
Chip
8 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Slome

This is good news! GRS readers like to cut to the facts. Please tell us which insurance companies will sell long term care policies that they GUARANTEE in writing will not increase the premium or the lower the coverage – EVER. Of course, I am not interested in some late night TV ad “Get $5,000 worth of coverage for $10/month”. I assume those are the type of policies you were referring to when you said “You can buy long term care insurance where the price is guaranteed. But that’s probably not the best way to go.” I am talking about… Read more »

Rusty Williams
Rusty Williams
8 years ago
Reply to  Chip

I used to sell long term care insurance with my previous company. I am not defending them, but hoping a view from the other side will help you understand. What if I said I want to buy a card that lets me purchase gas at a certain price (say $3.00) and will NEVER go up no matter what happens. No gas company will take that risk. How long will you be using gas? How harder will it be to produce/find gas in 35 years? What service do you provide? Would you accept doing that for the next 30 years at… Read more »

Bob
Bob
8 years ago
Reply to  Chip

Companies really cannot guarantee rates because a giant exposure they face is the ability to invest the premium in a safe security but they barely return more than 1%-so that is a huge problem. If you look at the premium vs. benefit you can buy now…you are basically paying 1% to 2% per year of the benefit pool you are purchasing. Its a great deal even if rates go up. Rates going up are not an indication of weakness or greed by the insurance company…although previously in some circumstances it was a sign of shoddy underwriting. The companies who have… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Chip

Chip, Why must lTC rates be fixed? Rtes are not fixed in stone for various forms of insurance. Health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance, etc. Any of those could go up in any given year due to no fault of the insured. The only form of insurance I can think of that generally has locked in rates is life insurance so its an exception, not the norm.

Chip
Chip
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Jim, I think you will agree that almost everyone who buys Long Term Care Insurance, is doing it for the end of their lives. Yes, it is available for use earlier, but people buy it to use when they are elderly, for nursing homes or in-home care. So, LTCI is not like auto insurance or health insurance, which I use the same year I buy it. It’s not like homeowner’s insurance which is required if I choose to have a mortgage. I have no problem with insurance companies making money. I just wish they’d print in big bold letters at… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Chip, Your main beef then seems to be that they raised the premium and you weren’t told that could happen. I see the frustration and I’d probably be annoyed too if I was in your situation. But .. Does your auto or home policy have a large print disclaimer on the front page of the poicy stating that your premium might go up in the future? Has an agent ever made apoint of telling you they might charge you more next year? No. But you know thats how it works and we all know that so its not perceived as… Read more »

Nicky at Not My Mother
Nicky at Not My Mother
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Chip, if you make a claim on your home or car insurance, I’ll guarantee the premium will then go up the next year. Despite the marketing, insurance companies are not there for your interests, they’re there to make money and don’t actually want customers who claim.

Ed Wright
Ed Wright
8 years ago
Reply to  Chip

There are 3 types of long-term care insurance policies that are guaranteed to never have a premium increase.

Here is a link to a description of two of the three types:

http://ltcshop.com/2010/08/29/how-much-and-when-can-long-term-care-insurance-premiums-be-increased/

E.W.W.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Slome

The cable tv example seems to me particularly off point. The health and car insurance ones as well. If you pay for cable now — you get cable now. With LTCI you could easily pay in for 10 or 15 years and have the premium rise to a point you can no longer afford and lose all of that money spent. You didn’t get 10 or 15 years of coverage, you got no coverage. I guess car insurance is the best example of something you might not use for years, but there you’re legally required to have it. It seems… Read more »

BobT
BobT
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I think when considering whether or not to purchase is not to think about it just in a $ and cents way, although that is a huge part of it. Particularly if you have a spouse I think its borderline irresponsible to each other if you dont have some sort of coverage. With the cost today well over $100K, almost nobody can afford a very long long term care event. Lets say you can afford it for a few years…what are the long term implications on the retirement plans of the healthy spouse(often the wife who needs to worry about… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

“With LTCI you could easily pay in for 10 or 15 years and have the premium rise to a point you can no longer afford and lose all of that money spent. You didn’t get 10 or 15 years of coverage, you got no coverage.” If you pay for LTC for 10-15 years then you get 10-15 years of coverage. So its not true to say you ‘got no coverage’. If you’d have fallen ill and ended in a nursing home during those 10-15 years then LTC would pay you. Thats not lost money. Its like me saying that the… Read more »

krantcents
krantcents
8 years ago

I bought LTC insurance four years ago. I bought my LTC insurance through my credit union. They have a history of not raising premiums and there are other benefits too.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

Wow! I love Chip’s open and honest story about dealing with his parents being in a retirement home. I never realized it could be so costly! Thanks for sharing your story and opening my eyes a little bit more.

gina
gina
8 years ago

I tried to buy through penfed, but they denied me because of “memory” problems which went away after I was treated.

Are LTC companies counting on some of their subscriber dying quickly, or needing only STC? or are they expecting to have fabulous returns? If you’re going to be putting $500/month into LTC at age 47, shouldn’t you just put that into a financial vehicle you can draw on? Or is that just too easy? I guess that may work for disciplined people?

Jesse Slome
Jesse Slome
8 years ago

Gina, at age 55, decent coverage (an immediate value of $164,000) will cost you between $100 and $150 a month (depending on your health).

The fact is that folks aren’t dying. That’s why this is so important. Memory problems (a precursor to Alzheimer’s will be an auto decline) but the health conditions vary from one insurer to another so it really is important to compare and work with a knowledgeable person.

Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
Suggest you and others may like to read 3 guides at http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance-costs/ There is no sign-in to access them.

gina
gina
8 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Slome

My memory problems were a thyroid condition. Once on the right pills, I don’t have memory problems. But that’s enough to autodeny?

George
George
8 years ago

About a month ago, my grandfather got into a car wreck and was sent to the hospital. After staying in the hospital for a week, they sent him to what was basically a nursing home for rehabilitation. Quality of care is important. To give some examples, if my grandfather pushed the button to call a nurse, it would often take a long time for them to arrive. I remember waiting 15-20 minutes once before someone showed up. Another time I was visiting, as I was pushing my grandfather in a wheelchair, we came across another man in a wheelchair looking… Read more »

Dr. Robert Weed
Dr. Robert Weed
8 years ago

Long Term Care insurance for anyone who has anything to protect is common sense. The risk of needing care is very high. According to the federal government, if you reach the age of 65 you have a 70% chance of needing care at some point down the road. 42% of all Americans who need care TODAY are UNDER the age of 65. Why are the odds so big? Simple. As medical science gets better we live longer and survive health events and accidents like never before. Long Term Care Insurance is a very affordable way to plan. It is NOT… Read more »

Jo-Pete
Jo-Pete
8 years ago

“No matter what, the premium you pay over yor lifetime is a fraction of what care will cost… and it is not much of an IF it is WHEN and HOW LONG”

This is mathematically wrong. Insurance is a for-profit business, so statistically speaking they are going to pay less money than what you give to them. Insurance can sometimes help with getting better rates from the institution providing care (because they are bargaining collectively), but at the end of the day the usefulness of insurance is in protecting against unplanned events that would be catastrophic if you aren’t insured.

Jason
Jason
8 years ago
Reply to  Jo-Pete

“This is mathematically wrong. Insurance is a for-profit business, so statistically speaking they are going to pay less money than what you give to them.”

This is what is called an underwriting profit. Many insurance companies actual lose money underwriting. They are able to make up for it by collecting and investing years of premiums before having to pay out any claims, so you’re statement is incorrect.

However, that doesn’t mean I agree with the statement you are refuting. There are many cases of people dying without requiring long term care in which case their policy would not pay out.

Adam P
Adam P
8 years ago
Reply to  Jo-Pete

I work in the insurance industry, so I feel compelled to say that what they collect in premiums can be less than what is paid in losses and expenses. You take the money before you pay the losses and invest it (typically in government bonds or something safe)…the investment income covers the profit component and the combined loss and expense ratio for some lines of business is indeed over 100% for some companies. Even if that were not true, you are forgetting that insurance is pooling risks, so that for one individual they may certainly pay out more in losses… Read more »

Janette
Janette
8 years ago

My parents had LTHI. My father worked through his after four years in assisted/ nursing care. My mother’s has come in handy for several surgeries. It paid for her rehab. Her premiums continue to go up- yearly. The helpful part is mom is used to the beat and her insurance covers what she expects.
It does not pay for independent living situations.
We do not have it yet. Haven’t wanted to part with the premiums yet. Hubby just turned 62 and I am 55.

Jesse Slome
Jesse Slome
8 years ago

Janette – glad to know your parents benefitted from their LTC insurance. Over 200,000 Americans get paid every year thanks to their policies.

One suggestion for you and your husband (because few people know this fact). Between 52 and 64 is actually the best age to start the process. After that we all start having some health issues and those can preclude you from medically qualifying for private LTC insurance.

Too many people wait and call us after they have a medical issue and can’t health qualify.
Just a point worth sharing.

Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago

I have long-term care insurance. I was really fortunate because my employer (a state U with over 10,000 employees) partnered with a company and if you signed up when it was initially offered they waived exams/medical history for everyone. Given some really horrible things that run in my family, I would probably not qualify if it weren’t for this deal, but since I was so young (31) when I signed up for it, the premiums are pretty reasonable.

elena
elena
8 years ago

My father in law had Alzheimer’s and LTCI was a godsend especially in the final year of his care. The coverage helped my mother in law keep her husband at home as long as possible in the last year of care. It covered practical things like housekeeping, respite care, and a weekly nurse visit. He wasn’t put into a nursing home until the last month before his death when he was physically incapacitated. They got this insurance when he was in his 80’s and still mentally able. PLanning ahead made all the difference. Thanks for the links to home health… Read more »

Elliot
Elliot
8 years ago

I’ll preface my comment and say I sell LTCI “Almost 70% of people over 65 need LTC” http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/index.aspx You have stated most of the reasons to buy LTCI but I think the most important which you had mentioned is that you get to maintain your lifestyle as best as you can when purchasing it. No one especially parents want to rely on a nurse or child to help them in life. They dont want to cause burden with time or with money and LTCI can help the accomplish that. Does it pay off? I say 7/10 benefit monetarily and the… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

This article, while worthwhile, only begins to touch the financial implications of nursing home/ at home care for the elderly. Medicaid law alone for the elderly is so complicated that a whole series of posts would be necessary to cover it in a comprehensive manner.

If you think that there is even a remote chance that someone in your family will need such care, PLEASE learn about the financial side of it. It’s an appalling and frightening education—but necessary.

Robert S
Robert S
8 years ago

I am helping my parents, 89 and 92, age in place for the last year in a very active role. Mom has moderate to severe Alzheimer’s and Dad had a mild stroke last Christmas. I have watched her “change”, deteriorate a great deal the last 12 months. We do have caregivers [private paid] come in, up to 16 hours per week to give me respite and them respite from my cooking. Or to take one of them to Dr. or whatever. They have Long Term Care Insurance – but reading it gives me a headache. And at one time I… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

My husband and I are childfree, so we intend to get LTHI. We don’t have kids to lean on if one of us needs the care (a high number of people ask me “but who will take care of you when you’re old?” as if they’re using their kids as their insurance policy). Frankly, I hope my parents get it.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

You can also purchase it for your parents. Sometimes this will be a reasonably good deal if your employer offers it.

Christine T.
Christine T.
8 years ago

What gives moderators? This post is starting to look like a spam magnet with all the links to AALTC

Andy
Andy
8 years ago
Reply to  Christine T.

Yea, please do something about this. I appreciate that the posters have made it apparent that they are insurance salesmen, but this website has rules against this sort of thing I’m sure. As with all insurances, it wouldn’t be offered if it wasn’t profitable and given the costs of LTC when its needed, it wouldn’t be profitable if most people weren’t on the losing end of that equation. Just like any insurance you aren’t required to get, it has its place and can be beneficial if used smartly; but, from a financial perspective, its a gamble to see if you’ll… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Christine T.

I disagree. I don’t think the moderators should censor or remove comments from an industry representative providing an opposing view or input to the topic. Its not spam for someone knowledgeable on a topic to come here and discuss the topic. And if they are affiliated with LTC industry then they are right to clearly say so. Its OK for them to respond and voice their views and its right for them to identify themselves as part of LTC organization.

Kristen
Kristen
8 years ago

We just lost my 95 year old grandmother 2 months ago. For her last four months, she had in-home hospice (and personal nursing) care. She wanted to be at home. We learned that until the sick person is destitute, all nursing care is paid on your own. When the total assets (excluding the home, apparently) reach $3,000, Medicaid/medicare? takes over payments. Our understanding was that when the assets became that low, we could continue her current in-home 24 hour CNA care and Medicaid/Medicare would cover it. We did not reach that point – she died before she reached the $3K… Read more »

Jesslyn
Jesslyn
8 years ago

My parents are in their 60s this year. My dad who has high blood pressure and cholesterol suffered a stroke earlier this year. As he is not insured, the family had forked out a whopping 100K to take care of this hospitalisation bills and to hire a caretaker at home.

The question of why he did not get himself insured is not due to the uncertain premium as what Chip has written in his article. But because he did not believe in the credibility of insurance companies.

csdx
csdx
8 years ago

The only real issue I take with the article is the false dichotomy presented at the end (pay for insurance or spend it all to rely on Medicaid later).
Why not start saving money and self insure? If you’ve got a 25 year outlook then that’s good for you. Imagine instead of spending $150/mo for insurance (that’s likely to keep going up before you’ll ever need it), put $150/mo aside and invest it for 25 years. You’ll end up with more money than that plan would pay out, and your ‘premium’ will never have once gone up in that period.

Chip
Chip
8 years ago
Reply to  csdx

I do not endorse the either-or. I was pointing out that it would seem a lot of folks are choosing that. Like you, I think the idea of saving money and self-insuring is the way to go.

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  csdx

I agree that self insuring is an option. But saving $150/month will not equate to the payout for a $150/mo LTC policy. Whats a couple years in a nursing home cost? $150k? Saving $150/mo for 25 years will only cover maybe 50% of that.

Bob
Bob
8 years ago

csdx…not true I hope you dont take this the wrong way but lets say you invest $140 per month for 25 years and you are a 45 year old. you would end up with a whopping $63,000 if you get a steady 3% return. the $140 per month would buy a 45 year old $4500 per month benefit with 5% compound inflation protection for a 36 month benefit period. Right away on day 1 you have $162,000 in benefits …in 25 years that would have grown via the inflation protection to a monthly benefit of $14,513 with a total benefit… Read more »

Chip
Chip
8 years ago
Reply to  Bob

We keep coming back to the same problem: The LTCI premium is not guaranteed to stay put. Weeks after my father started drawing on his, as you can see in the letter from Genworth, they wanted to raise his premium 12%.

Scott A. Olson
Scott A. Olson
8 years ago
Reply to  Chip

Chip,

Was the premium increase on your father’s policy directly linked to his making a claim on his policy?

Scott A. Olson

Chip
Chip
8 years ago
Reply to  Scott A. Olson

Although the timing seemed odd, I do not know what led to the increase. It could very well have been a coincidence, that is why I did not claim otherwise.

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

Had either of my parents had long term care (LTC), it would have been a waste of money as they both at different points went into the hospital and after a “short” stay where the long term care would not have kicked in they passed. However I have a few friends with the opposite situation and their parents who had long term care, really needed it and it has or is currently making things much better for them and their families. It helped them stay at home longer, and eased the transition into full time care facilities. With respect to… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

Great comment!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/21/2152085/long-term-care-insurance-rates.html I googled “long term care insurance rate increases” remembering that there were in the last year or so a bunch of articles about people getting shocking rate increases. Yup. I think the harder part though is that unless you pay much higher premiums for care that can be used in different settings (such as in-home care) you’re also playing the lottery vis-a-vis what type of care you’ll need. Personally, I’m gunning for many healthy years and then a very quick decline. A friend’s mother decided not to treat her cancer — she had about 5-6 months, only about one… Read more »

PB
PB
8 years ago

In 1980 (which was our year from hell, for a variety of reasons), my then 33-year-old husband developed juvenile diabetes. This is the kind that has nothing to do with being overweight (he actually weighed only 116 pounds at his sickest), but is caused by the pancreas calling it quits. Fast-forward to 2010: childrearing past, retirement looming, we started to get our paperwork in order and as part of this looked at our insurance. It has always been next to impossible to get life insurance for him, but LCTI companies turned us down repeatedly. It doesn’t seem to matter that… Read more »

Romeo
Romeo
8 years ago
Reply to  PB

Thanks for writing about this topic, Chip.

It really is a scary subject, as is life insurance.

It’s easy for me to think that I, or another one of my siblings, would just care for my parents in the event that they turn ill enough to require in-home care. However, such a “care plan” will not come with out ramifications.

Romeo
Romeo
8 years ago
Reply to  Romeo

Sorry, PB. My comment was recorded in the wrong location.

john
john
8 years ago

What about Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Any thoughts? I was looking at them the other day. Of course there are different types and it involves you moving typically in as independent living, then you go to assisted living and finally skilled nursing. I know there is a pricey entrance fee and then a monthly fee, but essentially you won’t have housing and some other costs anymore. The one I was looking at had these points: -Based on Type-A Contracts, provide residents with unlimited, lifetime access to independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care with little or no increase in… Read more »

P. Strout
P. Strout
5 years ago
Reply to  john

In reference to CCRC’s, my folks sold their house and used most of that investment to guarantee their continuing care option. This gave them the option to travel while they were still able, without worrying about their home. Retirement pensions and earned Social Security was enough to provide for the levels of care they have needed and when my dad passed, he was moved into Assisted Living for a short time and then into the hospital wing after a serious fall. Ther, he developed congestive heart failure and passed fairly soon after that. Mom moved to a one bedroom apartment… Read more »

slccom
slccom
5 years ago
Reply to  P. Strout

I just wanted to offer my condolences on the loss of your father and ongoing losing of your mother. Thank you for sharing their experiences with aging.

Max
Max
8 years ago

I can only hope everybody does everything they possibly can and make all of the sacrifices possible to keep their parents at home.

I recommend all people considering putting someone into a nursing home to first spend several days/weeks volunteering in one to see what really goes on.

Marwan
Marwan
8 years ago

I’ve looked into this type of coverage for my mother in the past (she turns 60 this year) in order to pay for in home care if my mom should need it in the future. I’ve been turned off by the qualifying events that need to take place in order for coverage to kick in. I’m an attorney and so I’m weary of what type of excuses an insurance company may come up with for not paying benefits. At the same time, I feel that if I found the right policy and I had confidence that benefits would be paid… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago

I can’t seem to get “Reply” to work – tech problem with my equipment, I think – so I’ll write separately. Re Amanda’s comment, about people asking childless couples “But who will take care of you when you’re old?” as if the kids were an insurance policy … Been there. That’s a crazy assumption. Both my husband and I came from families with at least 1 parent we would never, under any circumstances, look after. Maybe that’s not “nice” but not everyone comes from a decent family. My husband’s parents are both long gone now, but one of the major… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

I love this comment. If my dad needed care he could move in with us (though he’d have to move from FL to AZ to do it, which would not make him happy) – but we do not speak to my husband Jake’s parents and would not care for them or contribute money if they were in a LTC situation.

Allyson Carneal
Allyson Carneal
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

My husband and I would let my mother move in with us in a heartbeat. My mother-in-law lived with us for three months two summers ago and it was the most stressful experience of my entire life. If it had been much longer, my very happy marriage wouldn’t have survived. There were 3-4 times I broke down at work, crying. I might have cried a total of 5 times in the last DECADE.

slccom
slccom
8 years ago

It is the ripoff aspect that stops me. Insurance companies will try just about everything to avoid paying claims. Try searching the topic.

Elliot
Elliot
8 years ago
Reply to  slccom

If all insurance companies did was collect premiums and deny claims do you think they would be in business very long?

I was just rear ended and the insurance company I had to deal with made it very clear that they will pay for covered/qualifying events and thats all. This is the same with any insurance including LTCI. There are usually qualifying events required before an insured starts receiving benefits so its good that you read the contract before buying it. Generally speaking there needs to be 2 out of 6 inabilities for activities of daily living (ADLs).

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
6 years ago
Reply to  Elliot

You haven’t filed many insurance claims, have you?

deb
deb
8 years ago

I really liked this post–I’m still young (under 30) and I’ve never had to consider anything like LTCI yet (parents are still healthy). But it’s great to be given a “heads up” about these kinds of matters so when I do come across it, I’m not completely confused! Just having heard of some financial concepts before coming across them in real life takes a lot of the intimidation out of it.

Daria
Daria
8 years ago

I used to pay the bills for an elderly woman who was a retired teacher who had bought LTCI that had a 30 day waiting period for the policy to kick in and paid $150/day. She went into the nursing home at age 89 and the rate was $189/day to start and then rose to $220/day as her care increased. The nephew,who had power of attorney, was going to wait to apply for the policy to kick in. I said “Do you have history in your family of living to 100 that you want to delay activating the policy?” He… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago

My maternal grandmother died in May after nearly fifteen years of progressive decline (physical and mental). Her physical and mental problems were 90% lifestyle related (poor diet, no exercise, no social life). She had LTCI and it did make a big difference to the ability of the family to provide her with good care. However, the quality of life she had was not something I want. My paternal grandmother died several years ago after being moved into assisted living (she had Alzheimer’s). She refused food after realizing that her decline would soon remove her ability to make choices. Her health-care… Read more »

Tiffany
Tiffany
8 years ago

Thank you for tackling this practical topic. My sister and I have been wrestling with this exact issue as our 61 year old mother has been unemployeed for 3 years and drained her retirement during that time. While she is healthy now, both of her parents died from cancer and she has not taken care of herself very well during the last couple years.
I’ll be passing this on to our family.

Tawny
Tawny
8 years ago

good article – made me think about a topic I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

KSK
KSK
8 years ago

Thank you for this post and the insightful comments. I just started doing some LTCI research in the last couple of weeks for my husband who will turn 60 in October.

chris
chris
8 years ago

Important topic. Thanks for writing about something beyond the usual how I got out of debt story. Long term care insurance is difficult because you are tied into the same company for many years. When we bought our policy the co we chose was highly rated but now, not so much. You should do a fair amount of research on the company. Changing companies can raise your premiums a lot. Also look to see if they have a record of denying legitimate claims. Won’t do you any good if they won’t pay. Ask if they pay for alternative options like… Read more »

Allyson Carneal
Allyson Carneal
8 years ago

I think this article was good because (1) the writing style was very good, (3) the topic was an important one that you don’t hear enough discussion about, and (3) it sparked a lot of good comments which were also very helpful. However, to say how much his mother’s bills were without the coverage, and then turn around and say that maybe you don’t really need it because he has some hunch that nursing homes won’t be around later and you can just use Medicaid for the payment seems almost negligent. You might want to research how much in assets… Read more »

Chip
Chip
8 years ago

Hi Allyson, Sorry not to reply on this until now. I was camping for a long weekend. Boy did I missed the WWW. I agree that not having some sort of plan is negligent. I don’t suggest that people not worry about it and use Medicaid. I was being facetious when I wrote “Should we spend every penny we make while healthy, then ask our fellow citizen taxpayers to pay for our care via Medicaid when we are penniless? That seems to be the approach many Americans take.” I did not toss my blanket willie-nillie. My research was quite thorough.… Read more »

Jerryc
Jerryc
8 years ago

The one thing that I fail to see is that once coverage begins the monthly premiums stop. Seems this might have been the case with Genworth in the original article. My wife and I purchased LTC insurance early this year. I was 64 and she 62. Dave Ramsey says to buy it when you turn 60! The other thing not really covered is “who should have LTC?” To me there are two groups that should not buy it: 1) those who cannot afford the coverage and have little to protect (Medicaid is for them) and 2) those with so much… Read more »

chris swenson
chris swenson
8 years ago

My parents had LTC insurance that they bought ages ago when underwriting had no idea how to price it. The premiums then were not so onerous but have gone up considerably since the 80’s. My father died before he used it. After my father died, I convinced my Mom to move into a “Continual Care” place. Luckily, she had the financial assets and health to qualify. She started out in Independent Living (~5 years), moved on to Assisted living after a bad infection, and in the last two years of her life, she was back and forth between the “Health… Read more »

Jerry
Jerry
8 years ago

I think long-term care insurance is a must these days. You just don’t know what’s going to happen and it will lead to peace of mind for all of us as we enter our final years. And, who wants to be a burden on their families?

lois
lois
7 years ago

Owning an LTCI policy will not only protect your assets from being wiped out should you need LTC in the future, it will also spare your children the trouble of leaving their jobs to provide you 24-hour care.

Mark E.
Mark E.
6 years ago

The only way to avoid possible LTC insurance increases is to buy either a life insurance policy or an annuity with a long term care rider. http://www. lifeinsuranceltc.com . The downside to these is that they do not qualify for a state Partnership for long term care asset protection. http://partnershipforlongtermcare.com — LTC insurance companies prices today (2014) are more in line with actual claims so the policies sold today have less of a risk of a rate increase than policies sold in the past. All of these products require health underwriting, the healthier you are the more choices you have.

IamFI
IamFI
6 years ago

This article was not that insightful although I’m always happy to hear that folks have had good experiences with their families. I recently did an analysis of LTC insurance. Not with weathered anecdotes like the article has (c’mon GRS you can do better) but with a spreadsheet and with non-insurance industry experts. I figured that LTC insurance probably only pays if one expects to get early Alzheimer’s (55 or 60/65). That’s when the premiums paid in and the cost of care paid out are beneficial to the policyholder. Otherwise, it is complete bs as an expense to pay over a… Read more »

Scott A. Olson
Scott A. Olson
6 years ago
Reply to  IamFI

This statement is not factual: “I figured that LTC insurance probably only pays if one expects to get early Alzheimer’s (55 or 60/65). That’s when the premiums paid in and the cost of care paid out are beneficial to the policyholder.” Any analysis is only as good as the accuracy of the data used. What values did you use for: 1) cost of policy (premium). 2) potential premium increases. 3) policy benefits, including daily benefit and inflation benefit and elimination period. 4) projected cost of care per month. 5) projected length of care period. 6) opportunity cost. Scott A. Olson… Read more »

Allen Gumm
Allen Gumm
6 years ago

Just an FYI to fellow posters:

I find long block paragraphs like that in number 69 to be difficult to read. Breaking paragraphs up into sections make for much easier reading.

Thanks.

Livingston
Livingston
6 years ago

What about the right age to buy? Is 30 too young?

Stargazer13
Stargazer13
3 years ago
Reply to  Livingston

Yes. You’ll be paying premiums for a long time. 50’s are the prime years for buying. I’m not an insurance expert but am about to become 59 and have recently talked to a long term care specialist and done a lot of research on my own. .

Tiredofpols
Tiredofpols
3 years ago

Things to consider in the long run. Cost of Care rises about 4% to 5% per year. Those are home care, assisted living and nursing home costs. What taxes and penalties will you pay to withdrawl money to pay for your care? As states increase the minimum wage, cost of care will increase. The government cannot afford to pay for care. You are getting lower returns on your retirement savings. Needing long term care in your retirement years has the highest probability with the exception of dying. You pay $1000+ per year to insure a $30,000 car, doesn’t it make… Read more »

Marisa
Marisa
1 year ago

I just turned 30 this year and I had to start thinking about this because my dad had a bad fall this past year and broke his hip. I freaked out because he wasn’t in a good state of health and just from a fall, his health went downhill pretty quickly. My dad’s a senior now and at the time of his fall he didn’t have very good insurance and we had to wait for the Medicare to kick in. I had to sift through a lot of information on long term care and home health and personal care services… Read more »

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