What determines my premium?
The major factors that determine your premium (besides your age, health, and marital status) are your policy’s:
- Daily Benefit (how much your policy will pay every day or month
- Benefit Period (the length of time over which you will be entitled to collect
- Elimination Period (how many days you must wait before being entitled to collect
- Automatic Inflation Protection (whether your policy has some type of this protection built in)
Raising or lowering, lengthening or shortening these factors, will cause your premiums to go up or down. I can give you the typical care costs in your area, actual and projected lengths of claim, describe differences between various care options, and give you other information that will make it easier for you to choose the right LTCi plan.
Do Long-Term Care Insurance policies let you choose where you get long-term care?
Yes! That’s why we like them so much! With LTCi, you or your loved ones will not have to scurry around in stress or panic, when a need for care arises. Also, you will not wind up having to default to the least desirable settings for care, because your policy will be pumping out money for you and your family.
How expensive is LTCi?
The Texas Department of Insurance does not allow us to give any references to LTCi rates on this site. Please call me for prices.
Do rates go up every year?
LTCi rates are designed to remain constant. As long as you pay your premium, your LTCi company cannot change any of the terms of your policy on its own, except that it may increase the premium you pay. This happens infrequently. If this occurs, rates increase by the same percentage for all policyholders in your class.
Does the government pay for care?
From “Medicare and You 2011” p. 110: published by the US Department of Health and Human Services:
“Long-term care includes medical and non-medical care for people who have a chronic illness or disability. Non-medical care includes non-skilled personal care assistance, such as help with everyday activities like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. At least 70% of people over 65 will need long-term care services at some point. Medicare and most health insurance plans, including Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) policies don’t pay for this type of care, also called “custodial care.” Medicare only pays for medically-necessary skilled nursing facility care or home health care if you meet certain conditions. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living, or in a nursing home. It’s important to start planning for long-term care now to maintain your independence and to make sure you get the care you may need in the future.”
From “Medicare and Home Health Care” published in 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: What isn’t covered? (p. 10)
“…some examples of what Medicare doesn’t pay for: 24-hour-a-day care at home, meals delivered to your home, homemaker services like shopping, cleaning, and laundry when this is the only care you need, and when these services aren’t related to your plan of care. See page 19. Personal care given by home health aides like bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom when this is the only care you need.”
What is covered? (pp. 8 & 9):
“Skilled nursing care, Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services, medical social services, and Medical supplies.”
It is custodial care that can lead to catastrophic expenses if care is needed for a lengthy period of time. This is type of care is what LTCi is designed to pay for.
How realistic is it to expect the government pay for the type of care we will need and want? Current methods of predominantly government-funded care are already in dire financial straits – they are simply not sustainable. And this is before a bulge of Baby Boomers start needing care in great numbers! When they do, there will be a “silver tsunami” of people needing care all at once. So in my opinion, the government will simply not be able to accommodate the need for care. Furthermore, who would choose government paid, restrictive options if they could instead access quality home health care or assisted living on their own terms?
What are the odds that I’ll need care?
High! www.ownyourfuturetexas.org is a collaborative effort between private long-term care insurance providers, their authorized agents, and state government agencies, including the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. It has tools that allow you to estimate the cost and duration of the care you may need.
If I buy a policy in TX, will it be good if I move to another state?
Yes! Every LTCi policy I’m familiar with will pay for care in all 50 states. Some will also pay for care in the US territories or Canada. If you are planning to retire in another country, there are a good selection of LTCi policies that will pay internationally.