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Long Term Care Insurance: Helping answer your questions

Should I really consider buying Long Term Care Insurance? 
LTCi is not for everyone. A certified LTC agent, who will have more training and expertise than the average agent, will be trained to help you determine whether or not you actually need LTCi. The first consideration is your current health insurance coverage, specifically whether or not you are on Medicaid. If so, search no further. You are not eligible for any LTCi program.

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The second consideration is your income level. If your income is low—below 25,000 a year, and you have no retirement, investment, or real estate assets, you not only do not need LTCi, but you cannot afford the rates. If you have a modest to above average income, with assets and investments, you definitely need to look into LTCi as you stand to lose all of that should you need care. If you are very wealthy, you may not need LTCi, but may want it as a way to preserve your legacy for your heirs.

The final consideration is your own preference. Even if your income is low, as long as you are not on Medicaid, you may want to talk over LTCi with your children and invest in it as a family. The amount your children will help you pay now will protect their future heath and finances, will give you freedom of choice, and will prevent the state from taking over your home. If you have average to above average income and assets, you should definitely invest in LTCi as you will not be eligible for LTCi until you assets have been exhausted, leaving a spouse or dependent family member destitute.

Will I have to wait until I'm admitted to a nursing home before I can actually use my policy?
When purchasing your insurance, you will have the option of including home care and assisted living care as well as nursing home care. As long as you choose those options, you will be able to receive care when you need it.

Who determines when I can start using my benefit?
This varies by company. The better companies simply take your doctor's statement without an additional company evaluation.

How long will a LTCi policy pay for care?
The length of your care is determined by the "benefit period" you choose and by the dollar amount. For example, if you choose a benefit amount of $150.00 per day for a three year period, your policy would be exhausted at the end of three years in a nursing home that charges $150 a day or more. If however, you use that same benefit at home, but only spend an average of $100.00 a day, your "pot of money" will last much longer than three years. In no case will a policy pay out faster than the pre-determined time period.

How do I know which company to use?
You can check the ratings for a company that has solid finances and a good reputation for paying claims. However, regardless of the reputation of a company overall, the reputation at the product level is also important. Usually a company that owns its own products—rather than having them underwritten by a third party—will give you a better lifetime of service.

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Looking for a reputable long-term care company? Here are the names of a few that are very popular: Allianz, CNA, GE Capital, John Hancock. Remember, price is not the only issue when seeking the best coverage / contract. Be sure to use a rating service to determine the financial strength of these, along with any other company you decide to do business with. Three outstanding rating services are: A.M. Best, Standard and Poors and TheStreet.com Ratings. Your broker/ advisor can furnish you with this type of information as well.

(please note that 1stinsurancequotes.com does not endorse any insurance companies, including those listed above)

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