69 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2011 2:23 PM by pthompso

    Long-term care insurance

    jean
      This week I happened to watch the "Dave Ramsey" show and heard him advise the purchase of long term care insurance at age 60.  I'm 59 so I'm pondering the question of cost/benefit.  I will contact insurance agents for more information but I would like to hear from folks who have personal experience with long term care insurance.  For example, how do current financial assests as well as current health status enter the cost/benefit analysis I should consider.
        • Re: Long-term care insurance
          tkc
          My husband and I had the opportunity to obtain a portable long-term care and home care policy before we turned forty and continue to carry the policy today (MetLife).  We don't have children -- so want to be sure we are taken care of should we need home care or nursing home care when we get older.  The cost of the policy is reasonable and the benfits are aligned with market rates.  Our accountant thought it was a fabulous investment for our future.  Mostly, we have peace of mind knowing that any care we need will be covered without eating up our retirement savings -- particularly if only one of us gets ill or incapacitated -- The other can continue to live a full life.
          • Re: Long-term care insurance
            ff_rolemodel
            I'm not qualified to give you a cost-benefit analysis, but you can get full information at AARP.org.  My husband and I bought long-term care insurance about 10 years ago through TIAA-CREF, which subsequently sold the program to Met Life, and we still have it.  This whole area seems like a gamble.  Good luck! 
              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                li_rolemodel
                I have had a long-term care policy for about twelve years - and just got the word that my premium is being raised by 14% which seems rather steep - but I understand the rising costs of long-term care itself.   I learned 3 or 4 years ago that New York Life - and possibly others - offers a different type of long-term care policy which rolls over to a paid-up ordinary life policy if you never call on it for long-term care.  That sounded interesting but since I was settled into a scheme already, I didn't pursue it.
                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                  EJG
                  Hello, jean, tkc, ff rolemodel, li rolemodel, everyone.  I purchased my LTC policy from TIAA-Cref at age 56, benefiting  in terms of a low annual premium because of my then age.  I have kept this policy, which as mentioned has been sold to MetLife.

                  I have no children myself and want to be able to afford good nursing-home care shoujld I need it at any time from here on out without having to drastically deplete my financial assets.  My policy offers an annual opportunity to increase pay-out maximums to keep up with inflation.  I have accepted this, and a moderate increase in premium, every other year for the last four years.  I will need to think about whether I want to continue to accept this offer, i.e., whether I want to regularly increase my annual premium or whether I can allow this policy, through inflation,  to cover less than 100% of my daily nursing home expenses.  I am inclined to accept the latter in terms of my own cost/benefit position.  

                  After  reviewing my assets and their ability to withstand a possible long nursing  home stay, I chose the 'gold' or 'platinum'  version of the LTC policy as offered by TIAA-Cref [the option with the highest payouts].  And because I could conceivably cover three months of nursing home stay from my assets, in order to keep my annual LTC premium low I chose a 90-day waiting period and a three-year maximum stay..  Also important, I made certain that my policy contained a reasonable provision to cover  the cost of in-home nursing care, should this be a workable solution for me.

                  Best regards,
                  EJG

                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                  JohnVL

                  I'm 60 but my wife and I purchased LTHC a few months before turning 60.  The reason for buying it now is that if physically you are in good shape, don't take the gamble that you'll be as healthy in a year.  Should you get a heart attack or some other illness between now and then, you might not be ineligible and if you are eligible, your premiums will be much higher.

                  Look into the viability of the company and their track record over many years.  You may want to get financial rankings using AMBest. 

                  Although the policies are supposed to never raise their prices, the weaker the company the greater chance they will raise the prices.

                  We chose to get inflation protected policies which will increase with the rate of inflation forever to a maximum of 5%/year.  Most companies have the same waiting period for home health care as nursing home care (30, 60 or 90 days, whatever you choose) except GenWorth which starts the day you need it for home health care.  GenWorth is sold by AARP (they used to carry MetLife).  Suzi Orman recommends this type of policy from GenWorth, but you should check everything yourself.

                  My problem with adding additional coverage later when you need it is that the price will probably be higher then and your health probably won't be as good, giving them a reason to charge you more than they would now.

                  You're really buying peace of mind and hopefully will never need to use it.  I think that is the attitude you should have rather than how long it will take you to get back your investment once you need it.  You'll sleep better at night knowing you won't be wiped out financiall in the first few months of nursing care, and maybe you can give some of your lifetime savings to your survivors rather than a nursing home.

                  Hope this helps,

                  John VL

                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                      rr_rolemodel
                      This is one of the most difficult issues for seniors to assess. Most policies are reasonably priced at age 50 and then become impossible to pay for at age 80. It is truly a gamble on our future health. Usually they kick in if a person has hit three or four of the guidelines for coverage by long term care insurance, ie. not  able to feed oneself, toilet one self, or get into or out of bed. If  a person has so many disabilities to keep one from taking care of oneself, the policy will kick in with payments up to $100 per day. Each policy is different and should be thoroughly explained by the agent before any of us buy the policies. I would urge caution and careful assessment of the costs. Another problem with many of these policies is that they only cover a person if they use licensed agencies for services rather than paying a fixed daily amount. As a result the client has little flexibility in covering the daily costs especially if the policy requires coverage by a local health care agency which is significantly more expensive than if the family can receive a fixed amount per day and not be forced to use an agency which has lots of overhead. The moral is Buyer beware on long term care policies and do your research when you are in a mental position to do so.
                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                          2little2late

                          Unfortunately you made what appears to be a number of ill-advised choices in the purchase of your policy.  The number one reason most people are disenchanted with LTC insurance is due to cost.  Just as with homeowners and automobile insurance, if you underinsure yourself YOU WILL pay for it in the long run if you have a claim.  People can not underleverage themselves when it comes to paying for protecting their nestegg and it seems that you did just that. 

                          Don't forget that you can still get a policy to supplement your existing one if you feel that it is not enough, and if you do get another policy be sure to think long and hard about how truly important it is to protect your lifesavings and to not go cheap or your family and nestegg will pay the price.

                          And BTW, it isn't a gamble when you buy LTC insurance when you have the 'refund of premium' rider because that will pay your estate back every dollar you paid into it if you didn't need the care.  Sure its a costly rider, but you get what you pay for...

                          Best

                            • Re: Long-term care insurance
                              McD
                              Because my employer was joining with others to begin a LTC insurance optional benefit, there was a brief period of "open enrollment" when no medical questions were asked.  I thought that going for it despite the price ($350/month) was worth it because I have MS and would never be able to qualify otherwise.  But now that I'm thinking of retiring in 3 years and given the current state of the economy, that $$ might look much better in my bank account or somewhere else.  I'm not much of a risk-taker and am curious what others would do: keep the insurance (and never have any at all) or use the money for something else?
                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                  2little2late
                                  McD said...



                                  Because my employer was joining with others to begin a LTC insurance optional benefit, there was a brief period of "open enrollment" when no medical questions were asked.  I thought that going for it despite the price ($350/month) was worth it because I have MS and would never be able to qualify otherwise.  But now that I'm thinking of retiring in 3 years and given the current state of the economy, that $$ might look much better in my bank account or somewhere else.  I'm not much of a risk-taker and am curious what others would do: keep the insurance (and never have any at all) or use the money for something else?

                                  Yikes!  That's quite a situation you seem to be in.  Sure the current crisis is effecting most of us, but when making this decision please do not forget to look back on what you stated youself, "current state of the economy."  This is just that, current and will not last for very long becasue there is too much greed in the capital markets, and ya know what... greed will never sit too long on the sidelines.  You, me, everyone on this forum, mutual fund managers, state pension funds, etc., etc we all want to (get back) and make more.  Some more than others, but the fact of the matter is that this is a current issue that will one day phase out and people will pour their wealth back into the stock market.

                                  So with that said, what will you do if you drop your policy (that you are quite lucky to have gotten in the first place) and then a few years from now the markets have recoupped their losses and you have an extra $4k a year in your pocket and you, God forbid, need full blown custodial nursing care at $100k/yr?

                                  I think the answer is clear.  Keep the policy and hope you #1 never need it, and #2 be thankful that you even have coverage as I know alot of people who are declined for silly things that underwriters for insurance companies will not cover.  Be thankful and keep that policy; that's my $.02.

                                  All the best...

                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                      vs_rolemodel
                                      Hello, McD and 2little2late.  I have an LTC policy which I took out at age 54 [six years ago].
                                      Since then I contemplate whether or not to renew each year, but I always do.  I remind myself
                                      that  my annual premium is reasonable [i.e., I can afford it], and that it's a policy not just for an
                                      envisioned final-stay in a nursing home in future, but also for a possible urgent need now, or
                                      soon [heaven forbid], for a lengthy stay in a nursing home or for at-home care sooner than
                                      later.   It provides me with a small amount of peace of mind in these troubled times, in so far
                                      as the company can manage to stay out of the nightly news.

                                      Best wishes,
                                      vs_rolemodel
                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                        McD
                                        You are absolutely right.  I purposely don't look at my TIAA-CREF statements because (1) it would "freak me out," and (2) I do know that this is a temporary thing.  I'll keep the policy and, as you say, hope I never need it.  Thanks.
                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                            2little2late
                                            McD said...



                                            You are absolutely right.  I purposely don't look at my TIAA-CREF statements because (1) it would "freak me out," and (2) I do know that this is a temporary thing.  I'll keep the policy and, as you say, hope I never need it.  Thanks.

                                            Excellent McD, never drop that policy my friend.  Cheers & Happy holidays to you!
                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                Add my voice to the be glad you have the insurance and keep it group.  With MS, unless there is a cure, there is a good chance, unfortunately, that you will need it.  I have a niece with this condition and she has needed care for many years.
                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                    Civil_Servant

                                                    I am 49 and looking into LTC insurance which I feel is more important than life insurance. I am getting quotes from highly rated firms on the AM BEST and Fitch systems. Mass Mutual is A+++ for financial stability. Also Metlife and John Hancock are highly rated. Be careful you dont get insurance with a B- company. Most of my info has come from suzeorman.com insurance kit. Its very informative and you can access it free using PeopleFirst as the passcode. Hope this helps

                                                     

                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                    mollyb
                                                    YES,YES keep that policy that you were lucky enough to get.  God bless you.  Hope that you will not need it; but your health is compromised so you  will be taken care of if you do need it.
                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                    lrousos
                                                    Definitely keep the LTC insurance. I agree that it is a matter of peace of mind knowing that you will be taken care of. I think NOT having the LTC insurance is riskier overall than spending the money on it over a period of time.  I bought John Hancock at age 56 and do not worry about what will  happen if I am disabled.  My sister works in a company that had open enrollment and paid for LTC insurance. At that time she was in great health. Sometime after enrolling, she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). After that devastating diagnosis, having the insurance along with her pension and medicare has given her some comfort that she will be cared for. You never know what lies ahead. If you can afford it at all, buy LTC insurance and keep it!  
                                            • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                              jkom51

                                              The biggest uncertainy with LTC insurance is that it's private. There is no guarantee the carrier will be there when you need it. Thus, it is best to do a LOT of research (there are many great articles on the web) for this is one of the most complex insurance products ever sold. Many policies aren't worth the premiums, frankly. One of the most important things is to check with your state regulatory agency and find out which carriers of LTC insurance have the most complaints filed against them. Remember that there are companies with multiple divisions - Conseco, which recently exited from LTC insurance, had 4 different company names when you included their subsidiaries.

                                              That said, I firmly believe in it. Unless you have the money to self-insure, I know very few people who have the liquidity to pay for nursing home costs, let alone home health services. And home health services are a separate rider from licensed facilities, as is compound inflation protection.

                                              I personally don't care about return of premium. I find it costly and if you get your LTC policies before 50, your premiums can be very reasonable. An even better idea is to see if your state has an LTC partnership program - this has great tax advantages should you make a claim - and of course, with our extended life expectancies the chances of your making a claim are getting better all the time. I view LTC insurance the same way I view having sufficient life insurance, an umbrella liability policy, and homeowners/auto insurance. It's all part of overall financial planning.

                                              My DH and I each have a 90-day waiting period (self-insuring for that time, IOW), then an unlimited length payout, daily benefit with compound inflation protection (5%/annually), home health services at 50% daily benefit (new policies have 100% home health payment, but our policy is an older one, unfortunately). Currently our daily benefit is $216/daily and will go up each year. Disability definition is 2 of the 6 ADLs.

                                              We don't expect this to pay everything. Insurance is to MITIGATE risk, it does not eliminate it. What these policies do is help protect each spouse from getting socked in an unexpected crisis. We don't have enough assets to self-insure, but we have just enough that if we don't do anything, the remaining spouse could really take a financial hit. We want to try to prevent that in the most cost-effective manner.

                                              Our policies were purchased through a partnership with my DH's union, so please don't ask for our carrier's name because it wouldn't be available to anyone else outside the state. And if you are with any state agency that is part of the CalPERS system, I urge you to look into the LTC partnership program (and as stated, there are other states who also have similar programs) as it makes a lot of sense.

                                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                  daharr45
                                                  What do you think about buying Long Term Care Insurance.  I think we should and my husband thinks it is just another product for insurance companies to make money.  We are both still employed, I am 65 and he is 63.  Both in good health.
                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                      SoonerThanLater

                                                      From what I have read, if you assets are in the $200,000 to $2,000,000 range, it is generally considered a good idea to have this type of insurance. If you have less money, you probably can't afford it. If you have more, you may consider that you have enough money to self-isure yourself if/when you need long-term care (genrally a few years of it according to sale people).

                                                      I don't know who to buy it from. My mother and grandmother had policies years ago with stable premiums for a few (~5?) years, then were hit with tremendous premium increases unrelated to their health. I have purchased other insurance from one of the huge companies, but the sales person lied to me. I went through lengthy arbitration and eventually got my premiums + interest back from the years I had the policy. I am very hesitant to buy or recommend LTC insurance because I don't feel there is any guarentee that any insurance company won't do either of these things in the future.

                                                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                          jkom51

                                                          Yes, unfortunately very few people know how to buy insurance. For one thing, different agents specialize in different lines of business. The 'one size fits all' doesn't work well in insurance, where the reasons for risk mitigation differ depending on what you're buying insurance FOR.

                                                          Just as there are agents who specialize in homeowners or life insurance, there are agents who specialize in healthcare or long term care insurance. Buyers need to recognize that they are talking to a salesman - not that there is anything wrong with that! But what you want is a salesman who has experience in this line of business and can help you compare one company's policy versus another company's policy.

                                                          Not just price; but policy restrictions/limitations/exclusions/definitions. You, as the buyer, should have done your homework BEFORE talking to any agent, by Googling the Net and reading everything you can find on how to buy what is the second most complex insurance product sold (the most difficult being annuities). A good agent wants to work for good companies, so a consumer needs to do some hunting to find which agents have the strongest recommendations from customers and their own peers.

                                                          Every single state Dept. of Insurance has a record of how many complaints an insurance company has generated. It's a huge tip-off also when an insurer has multiple smaller companies so they can hide complaints behind many different names. Conseco was famous for doing this until the Pennsylvania Dept. of Insurance finally forced them into a settlement and Conseco withdrew all its companies from the LTC market.

                                                          Although it's useful to use $$ denominations in deciding whether you need LTC insurance or not, like all general guidelines it is not an absolute. This is where it either takes some personal expertise, or you may need the assistance of a good independent advisor, to decide whether you should consider the purchase of LTC insurance.

                                                          I foresee premiums for LTC insurance rising over time because the stats on 'needing it for just a few years' are based on the previous generation, not on Boomers. The relatively rapid rise in mortality virtually ensures that some sort of long-range assistance is going to be needed by huge numbers of aging Boomers, whether it's home-based or facility-based. Therefore, when we were doing our budget for retirement we had already received one class-wide premium increase (we got the insurance in our late 40's) and were not surprised when last year we received another increase (also class-wide, the only way premiums can be increased).

                                                          Nonetheless, the premiums remain affordable and ten years of paying premiums for both of us, works out to less than 6 mos. in a licensed facility for just one of us. We are not in the same health as we were 10 yrs ago and if we tried to get the insurance now, it would be difficult and possibly even unaffordable. We think it was one of the smartest purchases we ever got, and it gives us both the peace of mind that disability to one is not going to bankrupt the other.

                                                          Many people forget, when they are totaling up their assets - if they are a couple, those assets have to be divided! Medicaid rules are very strict and geared towards those who live in low-cost areas. Their limits of what's allowable to the other spouse would be unworkable and unlivable here in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has always been a notoriously high-cost region. With LTC insurance, we can stay within reach of friends and family, as well as having more options. Many CCRCs, for example, offer lower-cost plans for those with LTC policies.

                                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                            JerryD
                                                            SoonerThanLater said...

                                                                 
                                                                      

                                                            ... you may consider that you have enough money to self-isure yourself if/when you need long-term care (genrally a few years of it according to sale people).

                                                            I don't know who to buy it from. My mother and grandmother had policies years ago with stable premiums for a few (~5?) years, then were hit with tremendous premium increases unrelated to their health. I have purchased other insurance from one of the huge companies, but the sales person lied to me. ... I am very hesitant to buy or recommend LTC insurance because I don't feel there is any guarentee that any insurance company won't do either of these things in the future.

                                                                 
                                                                            
                                                            Boy! You raised some of the exact concerns I had/have. Big issues:

                                                            - Will the company stay in the business (as I understand, TIAA-CREF dropped it)

                                                            - Do I understand all of the complex, non-standardized features and what I need?

                                                            - When (not "will") will the company raise my rates and by how much and can I afford to just walk away?

                                                            - How long could I fund a stay myself for me or my spouse?

                                                            - What other alternatives do I have? (I have kids with one girl so maybe she'll ..... Or maybe we could get a live-in to help - college near us. Etc.)

                                                            All things considered, I decided that the risks are just too great to go with this insurance. Jokingly, I tell the family that if I get too bad just put me in the canoe with a big bottle of something to drink and send me downstream. Heck, the Eskimos did it.


                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance

                                                                My concern is the large increases in medical care costs that have occurred in past and are ongoing.  We have seen 10% increases for many years.  So, if I buy a LTC policy that pays $100 per day with 5% increase per year, I will consistently lose ground every year that I live. Say that I live for 20 years, my $100/day policy will provide $36,500 per year towards a nursing home bill of $120,000 per year???  Still leaves a lot of out-of-pocket costs.

                                                                I am betting that the money is better placed in my bank and I will self insure for as long as it lasts.  After that, who knows but this will occur whether I have LTC insurance or not.  With our aging population bubble (boomers), the government will have to come up with some method of housing all of the older invalids.  Otherwise, we are all in trouble as I really don't think that LTC insurance will pay enough to help much.

                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                    jkom51

                                                                    First of all, ANY insurance policy does not eliminate risk or liability from your life. It REDUCES it. The consumer has to balance risk vs cost to figure out where the "sweet spot" is - where the policy is affordable but reduces/mitigates risk and liablity to a reasonable level.

                                                                    Ever made a few auto or homeowners claims? I'll bet the policies didn't pay for everything, did they? Last time you bought a prescription medicine or had a root canal, the medical staff asked for a co-pay from you, probably.

                                                                    Let's take an actual real-life example of a LTC policy held for 11 years - mine and my DH (separate policies). We started in 1999 with $130/day. Total annual premiums were less than $2K (in our late 40's).

                                                                    That 5% compound inflation rider as of January 2011, will bring the policy up to $233/day, or $85,000/yr. I can go into a really, really, nice nursing home for that amount.

                                                                    We have a home healthcare rider, as well as a lifetime benefit period. The latter is something many companies are eliminating as unprofitable, but we will keep it as long as we can. The definition of disabled is 2 ADLs, not 3 as Medicare/Social Security require.

                                                                    As detailed in my previous posting, even with two class-wide premium increases, buying in our late 40's was a huge money-saver. Total premiums for 11 yrs are still less than the current cost of six months in a nursing home, especially since there is simply no way we could qualify for affordable premiums any longer. Annual cost for both our policies totals about $4K/yr.

                                                                    Keeping it in perspective, our earthquake insurance costs us more...and we'd still have a huge co-pay if The Big One happened, in the region of $75-100K of our own $$.

                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance

                                                                        Hello all;

                                                                        I'm new to the community, and my wife and I are still a number of years away from retirement but starting to consider many of the decisions and issues we will have to deal with.  One of those of course is shopping for LTC insurance.  Quite frankly I would rather be beat with a stick than undertake this, but I do recognize the necessity of it.  The postings in this forum have been very beneficial in providing information as well other's experiences.  I do have a few questions I wanted to pose myself.  My apologies if they have already been covered elsewhere, but I didn't seem to come across them.

                                                                        First, in most things you read about LTC coverage, it's recommended that you get a benefit period of at least three years.  Not to sound morbid, but does this mean that the actuaries have determined that most people needing to use the coverage are likely to die during this period?  Are there any statistics anyone knows about concering the number of people who use the coverage and then return to their normal day-to-day lives?

                                                                        Secondly, although I'm healthy at the moment, will family history possibly disqualify me?  My father died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and my grandfather died of brain cancer.  I am concened that this will count against me.

                                                                        Third, although I know something this important probably necessitates meeting face-to-face with an agent, I would really prefer to do as much shopping and research online as possible.  I came across a site adverstised in a personal finance magazine -- LTCQ.net -- that appears to function as an independent agency for LTC policies.  Has anyone out there had experience with this or other online resources -- positive or negative.

                                                                        Thanks in advance for all feedback.  I have enjoyed reading others' opinions and experiences.

                                                                         

                                                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                            jkom51

                                                                            >>..it's recommended that you get a benefit period of at least three years.  Not to sound morbid, but does this mean that the actuaries have determined that most people needing to use the coverage are likely to die during this period?>>

                                                                            No. It's based on the actuarial statistics with the WWII generation in nursing homes. Short term actuarial statistics are showing that with people now living longer with degenerative diseases, the degree and length of care needed will increase substantially in future years as the Boomers begin to require care in large numbers. Thus, some companies are exiting the LTC business while others feel their products are priced appropriately and there is still room for a profitable market niche.

                                                                            What you are looking for is a policy with either a generous 'cap amount' or a longer-term benefit. There are many 'hybrid' products entering the market - life insurance/LTC and annuity/LTC products - and it's very hard to compare the 'apples to the oranges' when including a plain-vanilla LTC policy for comparison.

                                                                            If you think an on-line agency can do this for you, that's fine. My experience with on-line term insurance is that they are merely referrals for regular agents. Nothing wrong with this, if you know EXACTLY what you want and what is best for your particular circumstances.

                                                                            If you are concerned with your family history, the agent can 'pre-shop' your medical history to several carriers and they will advise whether you are insurable as a Preferred or Standard risk. There is no obligation and no discussion of premium cost with this.

                                                                            Before investigating policies, you should know:

                                                                            1) What's the cost for a good nursing home in your area?

                                                                            2) What's the cost for 8 hrs/daily from a licensed home health aide? In our area a discounted rate is $300/daily. Yes, you can get 'gray workers' for less. Just put away all your valuables - I've known three people now who have reported thefts of personal possessions from long-term unlicensed aides they thought could be trusted.

                                                                            >>Are there any statistics anyone knows about concering the number of people who use the coverage and then return to their normal day-to-day lives?>>

                                                                            I know of no public release of such actuarial statistics, but that they exist I have no doubt. You have to realize that actuarial statistics are only considered valid if they cover at least a 20-yr period. Unfortunately, the increase in people who meet all three important factors: they have LTC insurance, go in (or out) of nursing homes, and are covered for home health care services - is statistically small, and not of sufficiently long past experience to be a firm 'rule of thumb' the insurers can count on, in order to price a policy with accuracy.

                                                                            Thus, pricing for these policies varies because it's being done on the basis of short-term statistics, which as anyone can tell you, aren't 100% reliable. It could be a blip....or not.

                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                cndold
                                                                                My wife and I had LTC insurance for about five years when the agent informed us that the company was not issuing new policies and would be raising the premiums on the current policies to unacceptable  levels.  We were in our late seventies at the time and were understandably concerned about our future.  Our stock broker, however, obtained single payment combined life/LTC insurance with a very large insurance company.  We paid $100,000 each for the policies or a total of $200,000.  We believe that this type of insurance has at least three advantages over typical LTC policies.   First, we are guaranteed of receiving our premium back in one form or another.  Second, the company cannot increase the premium because it has been paid in full.  Third, the earnings on our investment, like other forms of permanent life indurance, are not taxed to us.  Since we were almost 80 when we obtained this insurance, we felt fortunate to qualify for it.  We wonder how other folks feel about combned life/LTC insurance.   
                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                JerryD
                                                                                Directly pertinent to one of my fears, MetLife, one of the large LTC insurers, just announced it would stop issuing these policies. As I recall so did TIAA-CREF. IMO, it's hard to buy a service when the companies can go away on you.
                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                    jkom51

                                                                                    Let's be specific about this news. MetLife, although a large player in the LTC market, is withdrawing from writing NEW policies. All 600,000 of their current book of LTC policyholders remain 'as is' and in force. MetLife has over 9 million policyholders total, so LTC was a very small part of their business overall.

                                                                                    There are still many good companies in the LTC business - Northwestern Mutual, New York Life, Genworth, and others.

                                                                                    I think the biggest difficulty with the new hybrid products is comparing them to a straight LTC policy, as it's "apples and oranges." Again, you have to know the labor costs in your area and apply them to your situation. If you needed care and had an expected 5, 10, or 15 yr to live, what will that cost in your area?

                                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                        lmj

                                                                                        When we purchased our LTC insurance, about 20 years ago, I found that unlimited coverage was not that much more than the 3 year policy. That should tell us something. Be sure to get the inflation rider, as the costs are going up fast.

                                                                                        LMJ

                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                      daharr45
                                                                      Very helpful.  thanks John.  daharr45
                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                      cromuggin
                                                                      My wife and I are going the self-insured route for long term health care.  Our home is the asset for the self-insurance, we have no mortgage.  While the housing market is variable, for planning, we devalue the worth of the house by 20% -- which gives us 55 months of health care @ $5K/month.  My wife is 61, I am 58 and retired.  It is not a perfect solution, it is what we have the resources for.  The ideal would be we sell the home in approx. 10 years and rent, putting the proceeds into an annuity until needed for health care.  In our planning, our house is not part of the retirement income stream. 

                                                                      On average, the stay in a nursing home is approx. 3 years. Our home funds are not enough if both my wife and I end up in a nursing home, yet is what we have.
                                                                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                          JerryD
                                                                          In just the last week I have read that some of the big long term care providers are planning quite large double digit across the board premium increases. This ties in with one of my greatest fears about this insurance and that is the cost is no longer in my control once I have commited to it and have already paid in a substantial amount.
                                                                            • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                              jr1468
                                                                              That is so true. You miss one month of payments & you lose everything that you have put in, possibly decades worth.
                                                                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                  illinimike68
                                                                                  My wife and I bought long term care insurance since her family members (at least the women) live long lives but encounter fraility in their final years. You have to buy from the strongest companies, not the ones that offer the cheapest premiums,  as they will be the ones most likely to ask for rate increases. Like any insurance, the selection process used will help to reduce the risk of higer than expected payouts. You can get riders that allow for return of premiums if that is a concern. In our case, the premiums we pay, which are in a qualified plan that can be combined with medical expenses to deduct from your taxes (after the 7 1/2% of AGI standard is met), willl equal the cost of two years of care for one of us if we pay in for 30 years. Of course, this does not take into account the time value of money, but seems a reasonable price to pay for the immediate availability of the coverage. Many people need it for temporary health issues, such as accident recovery, not just terminal care. Most good policies offer coverage for in-home care and discounts for joining certain community programs, so I would shop carefully before selecting  a plan. All that said, I'm stubborn enough to hope I'll never have to use it!
                                                                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                  TomB
                                                                                  Well put. Not in control!
                                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                      RUCerius
                                                                                      Thanks for the great posts.  I recently was looking into LTC and got a couple of quotes from a couple of agents.  The prices weren't cheap but it seems like both companies were rated high enough that I didn't feel I would be just throwing my money away if they went belly up.  That being said I still decided against it.  Yes, if either my wife or I needed it within, say the first 10 years of the policy it would pay for itself.  And they try to guide you into thinking if you don't get it when you are 'fairly young' (< 60) then you might not qualify when you do want to get it.  But it is a gamble.  While my house is paid off and we have some savings put aside, a very long term stay would indeed wipe the other spouse out (financially).  But as someone else pointed out.  You could buy today and they can triple your rates tomorrow!
                                                                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                  TomB
                                                                                  My understanding is that my company (John Hancock) has applied to Maryland (among others) for a rate increase. I have not, but plan to contact the state insurance commissioner's office to argue against this 'across the board' increase. My view is that the companies should have the technical expertise to more accurately forecast the need for increases in rates, but not for loyal customers who have not in 10 years and may not ever need to make a claim. We bought a 'shared care' policy, 6 yrs each, with inflation protection, but for less than the total costs because we have lifetime incomes.
                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                    Embee
                                                                                    Has anyone thought of using term life insurance policies on each spouse?  You could cover costs out of retirement funds and replace used funds with pay-out of term life policy when spouse passes away.
                                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                        jkom51
                                                                                        >>....using term life insurance policies on each spouse?  You could cover costs out of retirement funds and replace used funds with pay-out of term life policy when spouse passes away. >>
                                                                                         
                                                                                        See Callie's post dated Wed June 29th. This is not at all unusual. Most of the medical advances made in the last 40 years are based upon keeping people alive with conditions that formerly would have killed them outright or severely curtailed their remaining lifespan.
                                                                                         
                                                                                        Nowadays you can live a very long time with a very poor quality of life, often unable to care for yourself without assistance. Term Life is not going to help with that. If you have sufficient retirement funds to manage at least ten years of nursing home care for a spouse, you might be better off funding a special needs trust and dividing assets.
                                                                                         
                                                                                        Mollyb's post, same date, saying "..We are creating an old age fund...that should have $350,000 by the time we are in our mid 80's", is a step in the right direction if you're going to self-insure, but may not be sufficient. That's only $175K for each spouse, and assumes no money is needed until the age of mid-80, which isn't guaranteed for anyone. It also doesn't take healthcare inflation into account, which reduces the value of savings considerably over a period of two decades or more.
                                                                                         
                                                                                        Our LTC policies currently pay over $81k/yr for each spouse, rising 5% compounded each yr. The benefit period is unlimited, meaning no cap on payments or length of payout. When inflation returns, I am paying premiums with dollars worth less than the year before, even as the benefit amounts automatically increase. And as Arnie points out, premium payments are suspended when receiving benefits.
                                                                                         
                                                                                        Just make certain you are buying a tax-qualified plan. Some states still allow non-qualified LTC policies, which are cheaper but you will pay income tax on any benefits received.
                                                                                         
                                                                                        Also, if you plan to move to a CCRC, they usually offer discounted fees/rent to people who have LTC insurance.
                                                                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                            lrousos
                                                                                            Absolutely, use an insurance broker who specializes in LTC policies. That's what I did. I couldn't sort through all the options of all the policies without a person explaining everything right in front of me. She came to my home with 3 different policies --all with excellent financial ratings at the time -- we went over all of them, the pros & cons, and then she left me with all the information. I called her back for more questions and then made the choice that was right for me.  My policy is with John Hancock--it's excellent and I'm so glad I did it.
                                                                                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                          Callie
                                                                                          Though the average nursing home stay is 3 years, my father-in-law was in for 12 years following a car accident before his death last Dec., and my mother-in-law is in her 7th year following a stroke.  She is healthy except that she can't speak or understand and has partial paralysis.  Going through this experience with them and that fact that we have no children has reconfirmed our decision in 2000 to obtain a good LTC policy that covers in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home.  It has a 5%/year compound in daily coverage for inflation.  At purchase, I was 56, and my husband was 50; we got a discount as a couple, and premiums for both will stop once either of us begins to use the policy.  We hope we will never need it, but the chances are we will.  We both have family histories of longevity.  Though it is an expense we'd rather not bear, we do not want to depend on Medicaid--our only other alternative.   
                                                                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                            mollyb
                                                                                            We just made the decision NOT to purchase LTCi.  We are creating an old age fund over and above what we have saved and our pension and SS,  that should have $350,000 by the time we are in our mid 80's.  That will be used for home health and nur home if needed.  My guess is that we will need home health assistance, if we live a very long life, which both sides of our families have had.   We may not reach the definition to qualify for home assistance under the LTC definition, but we do not need to worry about that since it is our own fund.  If we do not need the money then it will go to our children.  since we will set this money aside, we will have a blast spending the other funds with peace of mind that we have that sitting there for old age.
                                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                katydoes
                                                                                                Good points. A friend of mine has been paying for LTC for some years and has just been told he's in for a hefty rate increase - apparently there are more old and infirm than the company bargained for (and he's with a good company - or thought he was.) Not only that, he's struggling with cancer but can still do all those things they look at (dress himself, toilet himself, etc.) but is just tired from treatments and would like a little extra help with shopping, errands, etc. His insurance does not allow for that as he is still considered to be able-bodied. Everyone doesn't end up in a nursing home and many elderly can still get around with a little help which these policies apparently don't address. 
                                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                    sktn77a
                                                                                                    Isn't the tax deductible status also dependent on your income?  Our accountant says that we make too much to deduct the premiums!
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                      jkom51
                                                                                                      >>A friend of mine....struggling with cancer but can still do all those things they look at (dress himself, toilet himself, etc.) but is just tired from treatments and would like a little extra help with shopping, errands, etc. His insurance does not allow for that as he is still considered to be able-bodied. Everyone doesn't end up in a nursing home and many elderly can still get around with a little help which these policies apparently don't address. >>

                                                                                                      This is not precisely correct. On a basic LTC policy there are many optional riders one can pick, just as you can do with auto and other types of insurance.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      It's true that LTC insurance is aimed towards disability, illness or injury, not infirmity. However, there are specific situations where LTC insurance will pay for caretakers and living assistance. For example, our LTC pays 50% (of current daily face amount) for home health services.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      This is indeed defined by "Personal Care Assistance", e.g., assistance of a medical nature with the daily ADLs provided by a licensed/certified provider. However, in addition, anyone receiving such ADL assistance is also eligible for "Homemaker Services Incidental to Personal Care, defined specifically as "domestic or cleaning service; laundry services; food shopping and errands; meal prep and cleanup; transportation assistance to and from medical appts; heavy cleaning of the home."
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      Now, your friend may or may not qualify for this benefit, depending upon the type of LTC policy s/he carries, and the extent of current temporary disability. What some people don't realize is that they need to contact their LTC carrier immediately to not only discuss whether they are eligible for benefits, but also to "start the clock ticking" (if they are eligible) on the elimination period.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      Our LTC policies have a 90-day elimination period before benefits start, but that 90 days is cumulative. IOW, if I notify the carrier I am paying for assistance on Day xx, and it goes on for two months, that is 60 days credited to my 90-day elimination period. Thus, the next time I need assistance, when I 'start the clock' again by notifying my carrier, they will begin the countdown as day 61, then begin paying benefits on the 91st day.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      However, as far as I know there is no insurance policy of any type that is designed to help when people need 'a little' assistance. There is simply no way to underwrite such a vague and legally undefinable condition with any accuracy. My sympathies are with your friend, but I hope this clarifies the situation you outlined.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      As far as premium increases are concerned, this is the main reason why people should purchase LTC when they are still young and healthy (45 is a good age, in my book). LTC premiums are not 'cast in stone' any more than health insurance or homeowners or auto insurance are. We have had two premium increases in 12 yrs and now pay almost twice what we did originally. Nonetheless, the premiums remain affordable - the total for two of us on LTC policies is LESS than what we pay for the earthquake insurance on our home which comes with a hefty $100K deductible.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      And for those who are concerned with 'wasting money'? The total premiums we have paid on two LTC policies in 12 yrs, comes to less than what it would cost for one of us to go into a good licensed facility for less than six months. Plus, we have a graduated return of premium - 100% of premiums paid are returned if the policyholder dies before age 65, with a 10% reduction of premium return for every year until age 75. After that age, there is no return of premium.
                                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                    Arnie
                                                                                                    Unless you are very well off (assets greater than several million) or struggling (few assets), LTC insurance is a no brainer.  It is relatively inexpensive and a well designed policy can be a life-saver.  Now for the important discolsure: my wife at age 60 developed an incapacitating disability shortly after we got our LTC insurance.  We will receive over $500,000 from the insurance company over the course of her terminal illness.  The cost to me for three years of premiums, which covers both of us and is now suspended during pay out, was just $6,000.  As I said, it's a no brainer.  BTW, my policy is with Allianz ... I could not speak more highly of the people there and their policies.  They have been superb (how often can you say that about an insurance company?!!)
                                                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                      thegoose
                                                                                                       Is LTC cost tax deductible?
                                                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                        jkom51
                                                                                                        The federal tax limits on deducting LTC premiums apply to all states, I believe. It should be noted that such deductions (which increase slightly each year) apply ONLY to tax-qualified LTC policies.
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        I'm not sure if there is any co-joining limit on using an HSA account to pay LTC premiums, the amount of which is also proscribed by age: up to $260 for those under age 40, $490 if you're between 41 and 50 years, and up to $2,600 if you're 61 years or older. 
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        If your state offers a partnership LTC program, that is the way to go, especially with the growing reduction of services under Medicaid:

                                                                                                        - "The partnership program couples the purchase of long-term care insurance with eligibility for Medicaid coverage for LTC services.  With the purchase of a partnership policy, a consumer can become eligible for Medicaid coverage after using the insurance benefits without having to exhaust his or her own assets to qualify for such coverage. Assets equal to the amount expended by the insurance policy are not considered countable assets for purposes of Medicaid eligibility and are exempt from the Medicaid estate recovery provisions.  (One significant caveat:  Those with home equity exceeding $500,000 are not eligible for Medicaid even with a Partnership policy, although states may increase that ceiling to $750,000.) " 
                                                                                                        from: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14490

                                                                                                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                          GeorgeFred
                                                                                                          In regards to long term care, the point made about peace of mind is most important.  And going on Medicaid is not appealing to most of us.
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          That said, the LTC policies  are expensive not only because care is expensive, but their marketing/sales commission costs are high.  I have never seen a "payout" percentage for LTC, but suspect it is fairly low. 
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          A big problem with some LTC policies is that when you take out the policy you are entered into a class.  The premiums for the class go up with the insurance experience of the class. (The company can't lose.)  When the rates go up, some of the healthy leave the plan.  More people become unhealthy raising premiums more.  Now even more people leave the plan, rates skyrocket, and the plan class collapses.
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          Some financial literature (e.g., Fidelity) has asserted that if a person has 1.5-2.0 M in total net  invested wealth then they have enough for self insurance.  But I have never seen what  these opinions are based on.  Personally, I have a self insurance pot of enough to pay for four years of full nursing home care.  It is set aside accumulating its gains, hopefully not to be used.
                                                                                                            • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                              jkom51
                                                                                                              >>GeorgeFred said...
                                                                                                              "...Some financial literature (e.g., Fidelity) has asserted that if a person has 1.5-2.0 M in total net  invested wealth then they have enough for self insurance." >>>
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              It isn't a difficult calculation to figure out if you have sufficient liquid assets to self-insure. Every year several major insurers produce annual surveys of the annual cost of nursing care broken down by regional differences. These days those costs are trumpeted by the media as soon as they're published.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              People are well aware if they are living in a high labor cost area or a low labor cost area. Healthcare inflation can be assumed to be a minimum 5% annually or at least three points above the inflation rate. A simple Excel spreadsheet will allow entering these variables to determine if you have sufficient liquidity for at least 3-5 years of full-support facility care.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              Home healthcare generally runs 1/2 the cost of full facility care, and of course one needs to add on other medical and drug costs in addition to that.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              You are fortunate indeed to have sufficient liquidity - but most people do not. We have a substantial net worth, but not the liquidity needed in our high labor cost area. A good nursing facility is upwards of $75K/yr here.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              Our LTC policies offer each spouse substantial estate protection, especially based upon our high-risk morbidity/mortality factors. Neither one of us needs to fear the disability/illness of the other will risk bankrupting the total estate.
                                                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                acupunto
                                                                                                                The only benefit of LTC is for the CEO of the company that sold you the policy .. It is worst than the so called "medical insurance" .. How low can one  get ?..LTC is a fantasy/non existent .. only good in name ..
                                                                                                                We wish our children would provide LTC .. That is what families in Latin America do .. the elders are not sent away ..they are cared for at home .. and they die there .. The "burden" of caring for your elders is made in USA ..
                                                                                                                MMBejarano 
                                                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                    jkom51
                                                                                                                    acupunto said...
                                                                                                                    The only benefit of LTC is for the CEO of the company that sold you the policy .. It is worst than the so called "medical insurance" .. How low can one  get ?..LTC is a fantasy/non existent .. only good in name ..
                                                                                                                    We wish our children would provide LTC .. That is what families in Latin America do .. the elders are not sent away ..they are cared for at home .. and they die there .. The "burden" of caring for your elders is made in USA ..
                                                                                                                    MMBejarano 

                                                                                                                    Pardon - but what an arrogant, self-righteous post! Many of us in the US do not have family close by, or who are struggling and cannot easily give up their lives to care for others.
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    We have no children. This was a deliberate decision, because both of us had parents who were NOT good parents. Decent people, but lousy parents. And there are many people we know who are struggling - trying to help themselves, to help their children, to help their elders...all at the same time. They are unhappy, stressed, and apprehensive. 
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    We chose to help other family members, but made sure that our own aging did not inflict any burdens - yes, burdens! - on others. One of the great weaknesses of the US is its patchwork social services and healthcare network. Anyone who does not plan properly can get caught in the very unpleasant reality of being old, sick, AND poor.
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    Being dependent upon the charity of others is a weak and uncertain reed to grasp in a storm. Thanks, but no thanks. There are many kinds of insurance, and used properly for risk mitigation, it can be very useful. Or do you also propose to drive without auto insurance coverage, too?
                                                                                                                • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                  Zaidy
                                                                                                                  My spouse has been receiving custodial care in a nursing home for a few years.  The cost is now $92,000 per year for room and board only (i.e. this does not cover medical supplies, etc.).  Thank G-d we have long term care that covers the expense. Without it I would be going bankrupt.
                                                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                    sschein
                                                                                                                    I did research on this and decided that a catastrophic health insurance policy made more sense for my family. Our premiums for a $1,000,000 policy with a $25,000 deductible are very reasonable. The deductible sounds high, but fits with the purpose: to insure that catastrophic health problems do not have bankrupting consequences.  I got my policy as an alum of Brooklyn College, with no health questions, and no turn downs. (Both my wife and I carry $1,000,000 each, and it is still far less expensive than long term care insurance. It is at least worth a look at, in my opinion, to see if it fits with your situation.
                                                                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                      Jayne
                                                                                                                      Long term insurance policies often change their premiums...as well as have a 100 day waiting period... Excellent show on WBUR (Public radio about this important issue.
                                                                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                        Threecentsworth

                                                                                                                        It's all very well to talk about long-term-care insurance as though it were something one could choose or not choose to pay for. I'd love to have it. My father sold it. But I have a pre-existing health condition--auto-immune problem--and he couldn't find a company that would insure me.

                                                                                                                        • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                          Zaidy
                                                                                                                          sschein said...
                                                                                                                          I did research on this and decided that a catastrophic health insurance policy made more sense for my family.
                                                                                                                          Does your catastrophic health insurance policy cover custodial care?  Most health policies will pay only for skilled/medical care and will not cover simple room, board and daily living care in a nursing home.
                                                                                                                          • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                            Noel
                                                                                                                            Does anyone have experience with combined annunities/LTC or life insurance/LTC?  I've heard that a combined annunity/LTC has less (or no) health requirements for purchase.
                                                                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                                jkom51

                                                                                                                                Yes, it's true that annuity/LTC combo policies aren't quite as rigidly underwritten as 'plain vanilla' LTC is. However, all companies underwrite differently. It's best to use a broker who specializes in LTC. Do not use your friendly life or auto insurance agent! These are complex policies, especially when you consider the higher fees/many restrictions on annuity products. 

                                                                                                                                There are two major negatives to combo policies: the lack of inflation protection, and the loss of tax/asset protection because it doesn't fall into the classification of a 'partnership' LTC product. These are serious issues that should not be ignored. You should not purchase any policy that does not offer a home healthcare option. This is the fastest-growing segment of healthcare expenses nowadays.
                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                If your health is so seriously impaired you can't qualify for a regular LTC policy, then a combo policy may be your only alternative. Have the broker 'pre-shop' an application for you to multiple carriers, to give you an idea of whether you're insurable or not. Some may decine, some may rate you, some may be willing to accept you on a Standard basis.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                From a July 2011 WSJournal article on combo LTC products:

                                                                                                                                "...those who buy combined products often pay a single upfront premium that can be steep. A healthy 60-year-old couple, for example, would pay about $100,000 to obtain about $4,500 per month in coverage for each, payable over a six-year benefit period, says Bill Comfort, owner of Comfort Assurance Group in St. Louis, which sells long-term-care insurance and consults to advisers.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                ...Other downsides include the fact that couples typically can't share their total long-term-care benefits.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                In addition, those with combined policies can't qualify for the partnership programs several states run with private insurers, Mr. Comfort says. Under these programs, those who deplete their traditional long-term-care benefits can qualify for Medicaid and protect more of their assets than they would otherwise be able to.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                Also, he says, many people who buy these policies fail to purchase inflation protection, a key feature that allows long-term-care payouts to increase over time."

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                HTH!

                                                                                                                              • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                                Carlos
                                                                                                                                I recently bought LTC with Genworth for my wife and I. She is 38 and I am 52. Combined we pay $2200 a year for a policy with a 90 elimination period at $200/day with 5% inflation protection. I have no idea if I will need it, but one feature that is good on it is that whichever one of us passes first, the other is fully paid for.  We are both fairly healthy and I hope neither one of us will have to use it. I really thought about if I became ill, I did not want her to have to take off from work and spend all of her time looking after me. I also did not want to have my kids worrying about me. In addition, I do have considerable assests in our 403b and 401K accounts that I don't want to have to be touched if not necessary. We have a partnership program that in California seems to work. With the inflation protection, we live a while we should have a nice nest egg for health care saved up. It seems practical to me to have this type of insurance. My dad has cancer and needed for my niece to live with him to take care of him.  She moved her whole family into his house to take care of him. I would not want all of that. LTC makes sense and if you can afford it, I would strongly suggest it if you can.
                                                                                                                                  • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                                    jkom51
                                                                                                                                    I think you made a very wise decision. However, does your policy include home health care services? That's probably one of the most important options of all, especially the way Medicaid cuts have devastated county home health aide programs - like you, I live in CA.
                                                                                                                                      • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                                        Carlos
                                                                                                                                        Absolutely!  If at all possible I would love to stay at home. I live very close to a major well regarded medical facility with every kind of  doctor within walking distance. We have home and community-based care, respite care, residential care, and nursing facility care. In addition, the policy pays for caregiver training and supportive equipment like grab bars, bathroom modifications, mechanical lifts, etc.
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        I am hoping that with the 5% inflation increase each year that if I stay healthy well into my 60's I will hopefully be ok.
                                                                                                                                    • Re: Long-term care insurance
                                                                                                                                      mollyb
                                                                                                                                      I recntly purchased a LTC product as a shared policy.  We purchased 4 years of coverage @ 5% inflation protection.  I liked the shared idea because it is likely that both of us will not need the coverage.  One person can get up to 3 years worth of coverage; one year must be saved for the other spouse.  We got only $100.00 per day coverage but we can self insure the rest and with a 5% compound there will be a nice nest egg to pull from.
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      The shared coverage was a wonderful savings for us.  I am 60 and my husband is 58, we paid $2150. for the policy.