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Things You Should Know Before You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Long-Term Care Insurance - A long-term care insurance policy may pay most of the costs of care in a nursing home. Many policies also pay for care at home or other community settings. Since policies can vary in coverage, you should read the policy and make sure that you understand what it covers before you buy it. You should not buy a long-term care policy unless you can afford to pay the premiums every year. Remember that the company may increase premiums in the future.
  • Personal Worksheet- The personal worksheet includes questions designed to help you and the company determine whether this policy is suitable for your needs.
  • Medicare - Medicare does not pay for most long-term care.
  • Medicaid - Medicaid will generally pay for long-term care if you have very little income and few assets. You probably should not buy this policy if you are now eligible for Medicaid.

    Many people become eligible for Medicaid after they have used up their own financial resources by paying for long-term care services.

    When Medicaid pays your spouse's nursing home bills, you are allowed to keep your house and furniture, a living allowance, and some of your joint assets.

    Your choice of long-term care services may be limited if you are receiving Medicaid. To learn more about Medicaid, contact your local or state Medicaid agency.
  • Shopper's Guide- Make sure the insurance company or agent gives you a copy of a book called the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Shopper's Guide to Long- Term Care Insurance. Read it carefully. If you have decided to apply for long-term care insurance, you have the right to return the policy within 30 days and get back any premium you have paid if you are dissatisfied for any reason or choose not to purchase the policy.
  • Counseling - Free counseling and additional information about long-term care insurance are available through your state's insurance counseling program. Contact your state Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisor (SHIBA) in your area.