What to Look for in a Long Term Care Policy

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Long term care insurance is designed to cover expenses for those who may need care from a nursing home, assisted living facility or an at home nurse. Various types of policies exist and many insurers offer it. Unfortunately, many who purchased long term care insurance several years ago are finding that their insurance companies are denying valid claims.

Despite the controversy, long term care insurance is still a viable option for many. It’s important that consumers know what to look for when shopping for this kind of insurance. According to Consumer Reports, consumers shopping for long term care policies should:

Consider buying at a later age. Experts recommend that buying a policy while you’re in your 40’s may be too early unless you have a chronic condition that you know will require care. Many suggest waiting until you’re in your 60’s and assess your needs then.

Look for a strong insurer who will still be in business when you need them. Insurers with a strong financial record who have been in business for many years are more likely to be around in the future.

Buy a flexible policy that details several long term care options. While nobody can predict the type of care they will need in the future, a policy that provides several coverage options (nursing home, assisted living facilities, at-home care, etc.) is best. Read the fine print!

Do your homework. Currently, the annual cost for long term care ranges from $40,000 to $100,000 per year. Call facilities in your area to see what they are charging now and how much their rates have risen in the past few years. This will give you an idea of what it may cost you in the future and allow you to prepare accordingly.

When Prudent Planning Doesn’t Pay Off

Even those who have done their best to buy the right coverage from the right insurer may find themselves battling with their insurer over proceeds down the road. If that happens, it’s best to contact an attorney who knows how insurers operate and has experience with bad faith litigation. Self-representation is foolhardy. This is not an area for a novice since insurance defense attorneys are extremely knowledgeable and competent, and know all the rules and procedures associated with filing bad faith insurance lawsuits and winning. Defense attorneys have far more information than you, and, having dealt with the claim process far longer than you, know the answers really well.

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