Source: flickr user - AJ Cann
It's a well-known fact that long-term care insurance protects assets and provides monetary resources to individuals during long-term care events. Plans cover people whether they need care at home or in a care facility up to certain policy limits. However, there are other features to long-term care insurance policies written today that may not be as well-known but offer some real value - let's take a look!
1. Guaranteed Purchase Option or Deferred Inflation Alternatives
If someone purchased a long-term care insurance policy 10 years ago, they probably bought 5% compound inflation protection and lifetime benefits. With the low interest rate environment, gender based pricing, and more costly inflation protection options the carriers have changed the way their policies are written and designed. Buyers now might consider having a higher benefit amount with less to no inflation.
2. Concierge Healthcare (Care Coordination)
This is a favorite feature and is probably the most underappreciated. If you've had to deal with the stress involved in finding care services for a loved one, you'll greatly appreciate this built-in feature. Consider a time when you called your telephone or television provider and got put on hold, disconnected, or transferred multiple times. Wouldn't it have been nice to have one person assigned to your needs the first time you called? Where they did all of the "heavy lifting" for you? That's exactly what this does. This is a great selling point for high net worth clients that can afford to self-insure. They most likely aren't the ones that make sure their bills are paid each month or that their plane tickets are booked. Why should that change when they need care?
3. Cash Alternative
Most policies sold today are reimbursement policies. This means that the insured is reimbursed for actual expenses, up to their maximum benefit amount. As advanced as technology has become, it's unlikely that they'll need to save their receipts, but what if there was an easier option? Consider the cash alternative. Depending on the carrier, you can receive 15% to 100% of the benefit in the form of cash each month.
4. Longer Elimination Periods
Like previously mentioned, the cost of long-term care insurance has gotten higher. Because of advancements in healthcare, the need for long-term care insurance has also grown. Consider having a longer elimination period (a deductible) to keep the premiums down. Consider a 180 day or 365 day versus the standard 90 day.
5. Shared Care
The days of longer benefit periods are gone. Some carriers may still offer them, but you'll pay the price as well. There are ways to lengthen the benefit period without that heavy price tag. Consider buying a policy with the Shared Care rider. This rider allows one partner to exhaust their benefits and begin receiving benefits from the spouse, essentially lengthening their benefit period. This is a cost effective way to provide more coverage.