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Long-term care insurance is a specialty type of insurance that helps pay for costs that are typically associated with long-term care (LTC). These costs can include things like care given in a hospital, nursing home services, medical services provided in your home, and treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The best long-term care insurance will be offered by reputable providers with high ratings and positive overall reviews. It will offer competitive prices, multiple types of coverage, and discounts. Some providers will also provide discounts and won’t require any waiting periods.
Best Overall : New York Life
New York Life offers a choice of plans, flexibility of care, high daily coverage limits, and a money-back guarantee.
In business since 1845
Plans offer protection against inflation
LTC and combination LTC and life insurance policies
No online quotes
Must work with an agent to get pricing
Waiting periods on all policies
Founded in 1845, New York Life is one of the top-rated long-term care insurance providers in terms of overall financial strength. It has received the highest ratings for financial strength by the top rating services, including an A++ from AM Best. It wins our nod for overall best due to this strength and an innovative long-term care and life insurance policy.
Named one of the best life insurance companies of 2023 by our team at Investopedia, New York Life offers two types of long-term care insurance. Its combination long-term care insurance plan offers—as the name suggests—a combination of long-term care (if needed) or a larger life insurance benefit. Long-term care coverage is offered for the expenses related to a range of choices, including care from a facility, care at home, or care from a family member.
New York Life offers a combination policy that provides long-term care benefits if you need them and a death benefit if you don't. In the event that no long-term care is needed, there's also a money-back guarantee. Extra features include fixed premiums that will never increase. The company's traditional long-term care insurance plan is a better choice for those who want to get the most long-term care coverage per dollar, the broadest range of options of care, and protection for your assets and income during retirement.
When selecting a plan with New York Life, customers can choose the facility's maximum daily benefit—between $50 to $400 per day. Covered facilities include nursing facilities and assisted care living facilities. There's also a choice of benefit periods from two years to seven years. For home and community-based care, customers can choose from 50% to 100% daily coverage. Lastly, customers can select their specific waiting period—the time individuals will have to pay for services out of pocket before coverage kicks in—with a choice between 90 or 365 days of waiting. Additional riders are available at an extra cost.
Best for Discounts : Mutual of Omaha
With three types of discounts offered (the potential for up to 15% in savings), Mutual of Omaha is our top pick for those looking for discounts on their long-term care policy.
Three premium discounts
Strong financial ratings
In business since 1909
Inflation protection costs extra
Premium refunds cost extra
Only one long-term care plan
Founded in 1909 and with an AM Best rating of A+ (Superior), Mutual of Omaha offers one long-term care base plan. It has built-in features that can be customized as needed. As part of the standard plan, customers can get:
- Cash benefits instead of being reimbursed for actual costs
- Access to a care coordinator who can assess your needs, develop an individual care plan, and arrange services as needed
- Waiver of premium, which means customers don't have to pay for their monthly premiums while receiving LTC
- Coverage for alternative care that may not yet exist
Additional benefits are available for an extra cost, such as inflation protection, shared care (allowing partners to share benefits if needed), and a return of premium for any benefits not used.
A married 60-year-old female can expect to pay between $160 and $319 per month for $2,100 to $4,100 in monthly benefit amounts, while a married 70-year-old female can expect to pay between about $249 and $497 for the same coverage amounts. A married 75-year-old female can expect to pay between about $363 and $726 monthly.
The company stands out with its two discounts that benefit couples whether legally married, in a domestic partnership, or otherwise in a serious, committed personal relationship with a shared residence for the past three years or more. Couples, where both partners sign up for Mutual of Omaha, can receive 15% off their policies. In situations where only one partner of a long-term relationship has a policy with the company, a 5% discount applies. There's a third discount available to customers for being in good health regardless of their relationship status; eligible customers can save 15% from their bill.
Best for No Waiting Period : Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group offers four plans with no waiting periods and it also provides benefits to those living abroad.
No waiting period
Strong financial ratings
International benefits available
No online quotes
Must contact agent for pricing details
Need to wait six years for return of premium
In business since 1905, Lincoln Financial Group has earned an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best. The company rises above the competition and is best in our review for no-waiting period plans. These are its MoneyGuard II and MoneyGuard III policies, both of which offer zero-day elimination periods for accessing coverage for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Other companies on this list generally require a minimum of 90 days before granting coverage for such services.
With MoneyGuard II, a universal life insurance plan with an optional long-term care benefit rider, premiums are locked in from the start. Customers can get tax-free reimbursements for qualifying LTC costs, and there's no waiting period.
Some of the key features of the company's other no-elimination-period plan, MoneyGuard III, include no medical exams or lab tests required for underwriting, a couple's discount, choice of a range of inflation protection options, and a death benefit ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. The company's terminal illness rider allows for a one-time claim of 25% to 75% of the death benefit up to $250,000 in the event of a terminally life-threatening condition.
Best for Easy Benefits Payout : Brighthouse Financial
The company is best for easy benefits payouts because it doesn’t require receipts and dependents can receive payouts.
No receipts needed
Strong financial ratings
In business since 1863
No online quotes
Need to contact agent for plan specifics
Only one plan
Dating back to 1863, originally as part of Travelers Insurance Company, Brighthouse Financial has over two million customers and a A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. The company's hybrid life insurance and long-term care insurance plan offers customers LTC coverage if needed or dependents can receive a payout. A unique feature of this plan is the option to link it to the market indices—giving customers the chance to grow LTC benefits, with built-in protection during economic downturns and the option to lock in the value at any time.
Because the plan doesn't require customers to provide receipts or track expenses, this is a no-hassle option for receiving benefit payments which is why it gets our nod as best for easy benefits payout. Customers can also take a loan against the policy at any time and surrender the policy for its full cash value at any time.
Brighthouse Financial also offers a guaranteed death benefit and terminal illness benefit, with a payout of 50% of the policy's value capped at $250,000. As with many other plans, there is an elimination period. In this case, it is a 90-day wait time. No labs or exams are required for customers ages 40 to 75, and no medical records are required for those 40 to 65, except in the event of a significant medical condition.
If you need long-term care insurance, all of the best long-term care insurance providers on our list are viable options depending on what you need. Some companies don’t require waiting periods and others offer convenient online quotes without having to speak to an agent. However, we recommend checking out New York Life first. The company has been in business since 1845, has a money-back guarantee if long-term care isn't needed, and you can choose your benefit periods.
Compare The Best Long-Term Care Insurance
|Company||No. of Policy Types||Coverage Limit||Price||Waiting Period|
|New York Life Best Overall||2||Up to $400 per day||Contact agent||Yes|
|Mutual of Omaha Best for Discounts||1||Varies||$160+/month||Yes|
|Lincoln Financial Group Best for No Waiting Period||4||$500,000||Contact agent||No|
|Brighthouse Financial Best for Easy Benefits Payout||1||$250,000||Contact agent||Contact for details|
Guide to Choosing the Best Long-Term Care Insurance
Do You Need Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance?
Thinking about things like long-term care insurance is never easy, but it’s better to be prepared. When deciding if you need LTC insurance, assess your needs and inquire whether your current insurance will cover long-term costs such as in-home healthcare, nursing home costs, and adult daycare.
Keep in mind that Medicaid and private insurance often do not cover the costs of long-term care or any of the LTC-related costs, making a specific LTC insurance policy a good idea if you think you may need coverage.
Comparing Long-Term Care Insurance Providers
It’s always advisable to compare insurance providers, and the same is true with LTC providers. You will want to know the policy limits, maximum coverage amounts, and deductibles so you can fairly compare providers. Keep the following important factors in mind when making comparisons:
- Types of coverage: Know what types of coverage is offered and if it can be customized. Research policies and what they include so you can properly compare them to other policies.
- Pricing: How much is the deductible? Is there a refund policy? How much are your premiums? Know all the costs and what you get for those costs.
- Discounts: Research available discounts for things like bundling and ask for additional discounts to help you save money wherever you can.
- Exclusions: It’s important to know what the policy excludes. You don’t want to sign up for a policy and find out the coverage you need is excluded.
Selecting A Long-Term Care Insurance Policy That Works For You
After you have decided that LTC insurance is right for you and you have compared providers, you’re ready to select a policy that best suits your needs. In addition to coverage options, you’ll need to assess policy costs, payment due dates, and acceptable forms of payment such as checks, debit and credit cards, and auto-pay from a bank account. You might also want to know if you can manage your account or file claims through a website or mobile app.
You can usually apply for a quote online or with an agent over the phone, and if you have questions, you can speak with the agent or customer service to get more details.
What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care (LTC) insurance is a policy that can help cover the expenses associated with long-term care, such as stays in nursing home facilities or home health care provided by a professional. The costs of long-term care can add up. On the high end, nursing facilities charge $108,405 annually (or more), and on the lower end, families can expect to pay about $62,000 annually for 44 hours of in-home care per week.
That's why people choose to invest in long-term care insurance, which can help cover some of these costs, usually up to a specific dollar amount per day spent in a nursing facility or a portion of each in-home visit. While Medicare covers the cost of medical services provided by long-term care facilities like nursing homes, it does not cover the cost of staying in them—or the cost of in-home help for daily activities like bathing or getting dressed.
What Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
LTC premiums average about $2,700 annually, or $225 per month, a cost that many may not be able to afford. Age, location, plan features, and maximum benefit selections are all factors that can affect the overall cost. These costs increase with age, as seen with online quotes from Mutual of Omaha. A married 60-year-old female will pay $160 and $319 per month for $2,100 to $4,100 in monthly benefit amounts, which jumps to $249 and $497 for the same coverage amounts for a married 70-year-old female and $363 and $726 for a married 75-year-old female.
Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?
Long-term care is historically expensive, which is why people avoid buying it. Some may have savings or home equity to pay out of pocket for the expenses associated with long-term care. Others may be able to keep costs to a minimum by being looked after for free by loved ones.
Medicaid is an option, but only for those who meet certain financial eligibility requirements. Yet for many without these options, LTC insurance is a way to reduce the costs of potential long-term care.
When Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?
Due to the cost of premiums, people often put off investing in long-term care insurance for as long as possible. There's a tradeoff between avoiding (or paying) the expense over many years and locking in lower rates, which are usually cheaper the younger you buy it. Experts recommend looking for insurance between the ages of 60 and 65 to balance these factors.
To select the best long-term care insurance, we considered each company's history and financial strength ratings, the types of coverage offered, specific policies, pricing, and what types of discounts are available.