Q:  Is there insurance for long term care?

A:  Long term care refers to assistance with medical or personal needs over a period of time. According to the financial institution, U.S. Bank, nearly 70% of people turning 65 will need long term care at some point in their life. Long term care can be expensive and many people may not be able to pay the costs out-of-pocket. Long term care insurance (LTCI) is an option that can help cover (or at least offset) the expense of long term care.

Many people assume long term care occurs in a “nursing home” type setting. Actually, 73% of people receiving long term care do so in their own home! Insurance policies for long term care have options that cover care in your home as well as in facilities.

Costs for long term care insurance policies vary with factors like age, medical history and coverage level. The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance estimates a 55-year-old couple with an initial policy benefit of $165,000 would pay an annual premium of approximately $2,080.

There are several different types of long term care policies.  A traditional LTCI policy will pay a set amount for each service– generally, with a daily or annual limit. There are newer hybrid-type plans, which consist of a universal life insurance plan with an LTCI “rider.” The hybrid plan can be used for long term care needs, but if the long-term care benefit is not used, your survivors can still receive the life insurance benefit. With a traditional policy, it’s a “use it or lose it” scenario.

Long term care insurance benefits are paid during a specified “benefit period,” generally of three or five years. You (the policyholder) are responsible for choosing what is called the lifetime maximum benefit, or the total lifetime amount you want the policy to provide.

Each long term care policy is unique and it is important to understand how to initiate a claim –and the criteria to do so. Usually, premiums cease when a claim is initiated. Other considerations include the daily and annual maximum benefit, elimination period calculation, levels of care or qualifying triggers. Confusing, right?

In Brevard, join me and Attorney Cassidy Petersen Conti with Estate Planning and Elder Law Center of Brevard for a deeper dive into long term care insurance and how to navigate your policy, during Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa on Friday, January 13th at One Senior Place in Viera. RSVP online at or call 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.