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Think ahead when purchasing a long-term care insurance policy

Frank Darras Founding Partner and Disability Lawyer DarrasLaw, America’s Top Disability Firm
Think ahead when purchasing a long-term care insurance policy

Long-term care (LTC) has become an increasingly expensive proposition in the United States. With the baby boomer generation hitting retirement, the majority will face challenges they may not be fully equipped to deal with. Now may be the time to explore long-term care insurance policy options. There are many details that play an important role in these policies so when working with an expert to decide what your policy should entail, keep the following factors in mind.


Do

Do consider in your family’s medical history

If your family has a history of heart disease, cancer or other types of hereditary disabling medical issues, you may want to talk with your insurance agent soon about signing up for a policy. It is easier to purchase a policy while you are young and healthy versus waiting until your health declines.

Do know the right time to buy LTC Insurance

Think carefully about when you want to buy a long-term care insurance policy. The timing can make all the difference with the cost of premiums along with the eventual cost of care. With the cost of care increasing exponentially, purchasing a policy while you’re young can save you thousands in the long run.

Do discuss inflation options with your insurance advisor or trusted insurance attorney

As mentioned before, the cost of long-term care is increasing every year but you can counteract this with several different inflation options. One option is to tie your benefits to increase with the Consumer Price Index while another option is to tack on a 5 percent compound interest annual adjustment to your daily benefit. These are not the only options to discuss with your agent so be prepared ahead of time.
 

Do decide what your monthly benefit should be

To do this, you can take the average for a room in a nursing home and compare it with the cost of at home care. To play it safe, choose whatever the higher of the two numbers is as your daily benefit need.

Do take a good look at your income before purchasing a policy

Do you have enough assets to buy LTC insurance or do you have a low enough total assets that you will qualify for Medicaid assistance? If your assets aren’t high enough to cover a LTC insurance policy, you may be better off spending your assets down until you qualify for Medicaid. This is not the only option, however, so discuss all possibilities with your insurance agent to decide what your best choice will be.


Don't

Do not pick the shortest waiting period before your benefits kick in

Carefully decide on a waiting period or how long you can pay your own way before the benefits kick in. The waiting period is almost like a deductible but instead you are on your own with payments for a certain amount of time rather than an amount of money. Premiums can be cheaper the longer your waiting period is. A 60-day or 90-day waiting period is typically the cheapest premium choice.

Do not automatically assume Medicaid will cover everything you need

While it’s definitely great to have the Medicaid program there to help you when you need it most, do be aware that it does not leave you to make the choices. The program tells where you will go for care, which doesn’t leave you or your family members as part of the decision-making process. Since Medicaid covers medical costs and services Medicare does not, it is a last respect scenario.

Do not discount your age and health as a factor when trying to purchase a policy

Did you know you might not even qualify for a policy if you are in bad health? Insurance companies don’t want to be shelling out money to cover expensive medical bills for a health condition so the sooner you sign up for a LTC policy, the better. If you purchase a policy while you are young and in good health, the cost won’t be as high as it would be if you waited. There is also less risk of an insurance company turning you away.

Do not leave where you want to go for care as a last minute decision

As the baby boomer generation ages, the demand for nursing care facilities has jumped dramatically. Many places offer waitlists to be accepted at their nursing home, turning an immediate need for care into a long, drawn out process. By deciding on a home you would like to live in once you can no longer live on your own, you will have cut out a lot of hassle for you and your family members down the road.

Do not feel like you have to shop for LTC Insurance on your own

There are many trustworthy insurance agents with years of experience in the long-term care insurance industry that can help you find the policy you need. As with any type of insurance, there are many confusing aspects and coverage specifications that you will find challenging on your own. The sooner your you look into buy a LTC policy, the more time you will have to find an insurance agent or company that you can rely on.


Summary
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Many states offer a list of websites and companies you can go to with questions regarding a LTC insurance policy. By taking the time now to decide on your long-term care, the more stability and comfort you will have at a later point when you may not be able to make sound financial decisions. Contact a trusted insurance agent today to review your choices for your long-term care.
 


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Frank DarrasFounding Partner and Disability Lawyer

Frank N. Darras made a decision nearly a quarter century ago that would affect tens of thousands of Americans. Darras took the road less traveled to help the sick, disabled, and elderly mount a heroic fight against billion-dollar insurance compa...

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