Grandparents and Long-Term Care Insurance

August 9, 2007

In 1978, when National Grandparents Day was proclaimed, today's grandparents were quite young and very few of those thirty and forty somethings were planning for Long-Term Care insurance, says Frank N. Darras, the nation's leading disability and Long-Term Care insurance lawyer. They were just too young!

Today, we are all living longer, 60 is really 40; 80 is 60; 63 year-olds are having babies and their retirement and LTC insurance needs are much different.

Darras says, "When shopping for LTC the three benefit choices are, skilled care, intermediate care and custodial care. Look for policies that pay for all three categories including care by non-professionals, such as family members or friends in your home."
Don't shop price alone because the cheap no-name company you don't recognize today won't be around to service your needs when you are older and need the benefits most.

Darras suggests:

  • Pick a company that is tough on underwriting so you can be placed in a risk pool with people as healthy as you.
  • Don't pay extra for caregiver training, ambulance rides, home modification or respite care.
  • Look for strong benefits for home care, assisted living and residential care facilities.
  • If affordability is an issue, buy a policy with a lower lifetime maximum. It is better to have all your claims paid at 100% when you really need the care, than make a little payment forever that never improves your health or your lifestyle.
  • Be sure your agent steers you away from the bad apples of the industry.
  • "Not only do you have to choose carefully, but once you have a LTC policy, you must closely monitor what your insurance company is doing, says Darras."
  • Check the due dates on your policy; most insurers require payment twice a year.
  • Sometimes, it takes 2 weeks for a check to post; make sure you send your payments in early.

On the payment coupons, often the insurance carrier name is different than the payee; make sure you make the check payable to the correct name. The payment coupons generally state "your grace period expires 31 days from due date" — this is your only notice and if you miss a payment, your policy will lapse.