Those with long term care insurance have more options

Long term care insurance is different than typical commercial health insurance. While typical health insurance, such as employer sponsored plans or Medicare, pays for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, etc., it does not cover regular, ongoing companion or personal care attendant levels of in-home care.  The visits covered by Medicare or typical health insurance are limited to 45 minutes or so, are not regular and last typically less than two months after a health event or hospitalization. 

What is long term care insurance?

Long term care insurance helps subsidize part or all of an individual’s charges for having a companion/caregiver/personal care attendant in the home. Having the long term care insurance often allows individuals to access care earlier in the disease or aging process, or it allows individuals to have more care than they could afford paying entirely from their savings.  

Currently, about 33% of At Home Nursing Care, Inc. clients have long term care insurance that helps them pay the cost of in home care.  The agency considers itself “expert” at helping brokers or clients to open and validate claims, and then the agency submits invoices and care notes with proof of care delivered every other week. This streamlines what can be considered a labor intensive process and helps both the insurance company and the family.

When do people buy long term care insurance?

Most clients purchased long-term care insurance when they were in their 50s and 60s, either through their work or through an insurance broker.  They paid annual premiums for years until they hit a point in life when they needed in home care.  Then the premiums stopped and the insurance coverage began, sometimes augmenting financing of the in home care and sometimes paying for all of it. 

What does long term care insurance cost?

The cost of long-term insurance varies depending on the age and health condition of the beneficiary at the time of application, along with the coverage amount and so-called elimination period. It’s common for a married couple in good health in their late 40s or early 50s to pay roughly $4400 a year for a long term care policy that will give them up to $800,000 in long term care insurance benefits. A man in his late 50’s may pay $3500 per year for $400 a day in benefits once he needs it.  New product emerge regularly with different approaches for people in different economic situations.

As with all insurance, some people pay the premiums for years and then never access the benefits of long term care insurance if they pass away unexpectedly. But families that purchase long term care insurance policies generally have less stress and more options when someone suddenly needs paid help with daily activities due to age, illness or injury.

What is an elimination period?

The elimination period is the time when in-home care or assisted living begins and is paid for solely by the beneficiary before the long-term care insurance benefits apply. Some elimination periods are as long as three months, others are as short as two weeks. It depends on the individual policy. There are also daily limits, weekly limits or monthly limits to the long term care insurance coverage, depending on what the client purchased.

Make sure your policy is protected

It’s important that someone other than the beneficiary be listed as an alternate contact on the long term care insurance policy. This ensures continuation of the policy and payments in case the beneficiary develops memory impairment or faces a health emergency. Failure to keep up premium payments can lead to cancellation of the long term care policy, despite years of premiums having already been paid.

Below is a list of long term care insurance companies that At Home Nursing Care, Inc. has worked with over the past ten years: 

Brighthouse Financial Long Term Care 

CalPERS Long Term Care 

CNA Group Long Term Care

Continental General Long Term Care 

Genworth Long Term Care 

John Hancock Life Insurance Company 


Lincoln Financial Long Term Care

Mass Mutual Long Term Care

MetLife Long Term Care

Mutual of Omaha Long Term Care 

NY Life Insurance Company – Long Term Care 

Northwestern Mutual Long Term Care

Penn Treaty Long Term Care

Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania

The Hartford Insurance Group 

Transamerica Long Term Care 

Unum Long Term Care 

Other ways to finance in home care include using VA benefits for veterans, or hiring quality care through a home health agency, but beware of the dangers of illegal pay and the resulting employment liability that can be an unintended consequence.