The Longevity Curve

What Should I Look For in Long Term Care Insurance Plans and Providers?

Quite often, the language of LTCi presents a challenge to your clients

From the Association for Long Term Care Planning (, a long term care insurance agency that provides free long term care information, resources, and expert planning advice to anyone regardless of age. Visit

Knowing what to look for in long term care insurance plans and providers can be difficult since its language is not as common or as standardized as it is for many other types of insurance plans.

How can you tell what you need in your long term care insurance plan and from its provider?

Each policy pays a specified dollar amount as a daily benefit, but that’s only one important feature you should look for when you consider buying long term care insurance.

Important features of long term care insurance plans:

Guaranteed renewable
Having the guaranteed renewable feature allows you to continue your coverage without additional medical exams.

Benefit triggers
Benefit triggers are requirements that when are met, the payment of benefits is started. Federal law mandates that benefit triggers must be included in a long term care policy if premiums are to be deducted from income taxes.

Federally mandated triggers include:
Needing assistance with at least two daily living activities
If the individual cannot perform at least two of the activities of daily living (ADLs) which are:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Moving from a bed to a chair, or any transferring action
  • Having cognitive impairment
  • Being mentally impaired with a cognitive condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease, even if physically able to take care of yourself.

Home health care coverage
The home health care coverage feature ensures your plan pays benefits for care at home as well as in an institution. Long term care insurance plans that exclusively pay for institutional care may require you to be institutionalized even if you could be cared for at home.

Estimated Average Annual Cost of Home Health Care in Future Years

Estimated Average Annual Cost of Home Health Care in Future Years
Homemaker Services
Home Health Aide

Definition of nursing home care
This feature ensures that your coverage is provided whether the nursing home you use is classified as skilled, intermediate care, respite or as a custodial care home.

Inflation riders
Having inflation riders help increase the benefit amount by either a simple or compound inflation rate each year the policy is in effect. Inflation riders are costly features, but they protect against the rising cost of long-term care.

Linked benefits
Linked benefits are combined universal life insurance and long-term care benefits into one policy.

Including these features will help you maximize your policy; however, you still need to make sure that your provider:

  • Has high financial ratings
  • Provides discounts for good health
  • Has experience in the long term care market
  • Has flexible waiting and benefit periods to meet your needs
  • Provides discounts for spouses who purchase plans together
  • Can provide daily policy benefits that meet the cost of care in your area

To be sure that you can take full advantage of your policy, remember to look for these features in your long term care insurance as well as the qualities possessed or services the insurer can provide. You can also contact our long term care insurance specialists if you need assistance.


Download our free e-book Long Term Care Insurance and Retirement: 8 Essential Questions to learn more about how the policy works.