Long Term Care Insurance – What to Look For

When comparing different long term care insurance policies, there are many important things to take into consideration in addition to benefit amounts. A conversation with a long-term care provider should always occur after a conversation with a spouse or loved one. As you age, it is important to be on the same page about your wishes, goals and hopes for one another. Value-based decisions backed up by good research are going to produce the best outcomes for your future. We've simplified the basics into four categories of questions to take with you as you browse long-term care insurance policies and vendors.   

What types of care does the policy cover?

  • Does it cover in-home care, and if so, what types of caregivers are covered?  Non-medical caregivers?  Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)?  Licensed nurses?
  • Does it cover assisted living?  Care in a nursing facility?
  • What about care management services?

What are the limits on coverage?

  • What determines if you are eligible to receive your benefit?  Does a physician need to certify that care is needed?  Do you have to have been recently discharged from a hospital?
  • What is the lifetime maximum benefit for in-home care?  For assisted living?   For care in a nursing facility?
  • What is the maximum duration of home care services and the maximum length of stay in a nursing facility?
  • Is there a waiting period for a pre-existing condition and/or a waiting period before benefits can begin to be paid to you?
  • Is there coverage for mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias?


  • What are the premiums?
  • Is there an automatic adjustment in benefits to keep pace with inflation?  If not, is there an opportunity for you to purchase the adjustment?
  • Are you allowed to increase or decrease the amount of the coverage after you have purchased the policy?  If so, under what conditions?

Financial Ratings

It is also important to look at the insurance company’s financial strength rating.  You want to be assured that the company will be around by the time you need to use your benefit.


Published on August 18, 2014.