Long-Term Care Insurance: I'm a Believer

Not all that long ago, long-term care insurance didn’t even register as a blip on my radar, but that quickly changed as my mom’s Alzheimer’s progressed. I had no idea how grateful I would be that she had the foresight to invest in a policy while she was healthy.

Sticker Shock

When it came time to look for long-term care for Mom, we were hit with an extreme case of sticker shock. We were, of course, shooting for the best care possible, and that meant private pay. Unless you’ve had prior experience in this area, it’s difficult to wrap your head around the numbers; they are staggering to say the least.

To put it in perspective, over the course of four years and a couple of months, the total cost of Mom’s care was nearly $300,000. That’s the flat monthly facility fee; it does not include medical expenses, prescription drugs, supplies, or any other extras. I’m still astounded when I see the numbers in black and white. Remarkably, her long-term care policy covered approximately 70% of that cost.

The Value of Being Prepared

My mother was more fortunate than many people in that she had a pension, but even those pension and social security checks can only go so far. Without that long-term care policy, we would have drained her savings in the blink of an eye. Bottom line, she couldn’t have had the quality of care that she had without LTC insurance. Not only that, but when the time came, we were able to focus on finding the right care without immediately agonizing over money. Sure, cost was always a concern; the policy would only pay out for three years, but it sure did beat trying to scrape together deposit plus first month’s rent during what was already a very emotional time.

And that’s why I’m a believer.

We see the ads and read the news articles about the growing importance of these policies, but I worry that many people just gloss over the statistics. Just as we often lose sight of our own mortality and take life for granted, I think we often think this information is for someone else. Think again! This pertains to all of us and baby boomers in particular. We aren’t getting any younger, and with a longer life expectancy comes a greater probability that long-term care will be necessary at some point.

Things to Consider

I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your research. Read the fine print. Talk to an expert or a trusted advisor. Don’t forget about things like inflation protection, and make sure you understand what constitutes a valid claim. Simply deciding you want to move to assisted living is not adequate! Typical policies will be very specific in spelling out what qualifies; for example, the inability to complete at least two activities of daily living (ADLs).

There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s worth taking the time to do your homework. AARP has a long-term care calculator available on their site, and A Place for Mom offers a cost of care calculator that facilitates comparison between assisted living costs in your city and the costs of maintaining a home and employing a full-time home care aide. Also, consider asking if your employer offers LTC insurance as an optional benefit. Even if your company doesn’t contribute to the cost, they may be able to negotiate better rates than you would find elsewhere.

Peace of Mind

Unfortunately, none of us has a crystal ball, and we don’t know what our future holds. In our case, the investment my mom made in long-term care insurance was obviously well worth it. The policy paid for itself exponentially and provided some peace of mind through the knowledge that we had a bit of time before we would be forced to tap into savings.

Do you have experience with LTC insurance? If so, we would love to hear your suggestions and comments!


  1. Ann Napoletan

    Another site with some planning tools. http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/index.aspx

    • Lushy

      I wish there was one store that supplied all of our incontinence needs. We use HDIS for all incontinence products including disposable bed pads. I recently found a cute jumpsuit (we now have three) from Buck and Buck online (thank you so much Denise for this resource). And, for prescriptions we go to Walmart – as an added bonus, they have a drive-thru for the pharmacy area. (:

      • Ann Napoletan

        I used HDIS for a long time – prices are high, but their customer service is excellent.

  2. Tracey Lawrence

    Hi Ann, I too am a caregiver to a mother with dementia. My parents bought LTC insurance when they were in their 70s and still relatively healthy. I bless my father’s memory every day for having had the foresight to do that. I would be in a much more difficult position in caring for my mother’s escalating needs without it. In fact, I blog about these issues too, and I am in the process of starting a business to help people plan for and cope with caregiving. Thanks for the post and good luck with your mother. Sincerely, Tracey Lawrence

    • Ann Napoletan

      Tracey, that’s wonderful. I’m going to drop you a private message. Thanks for commenting.

      • Daphne

        I took care of my mother for 3 blseesd long stressed out years. I left my 20 plus year corporate job to do so and have no regrets. Those three years were the most hard and most blseesd years. I would give anything to change the decision I made to put mom in a facility for respite care and they killed her..!! They placed her in her bed incorrectly and found her hours later and tried to cover it up. To me that was GOD’S message to change directions and become and a Senior Patient Advocate. I AM that family member who has gone through this journey with little help of resources because I did not know they were there. I am in Home Health Care and we do a lot of business with A Place for Mom as well. It takes teamwork to manage Elder care. My best advice to the caregiver is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST..!! I have the PTSD certificate to prove I did not. You MUST take time out DAILY for yourself. Blessing to all who are in the middle of caregiving, cherish it as much as you can.

        • Ann Napoletan

          Daphne, you’re filling such an important need as a patient care advocate for seniors. It’s extremely sad (and all too common) to see people in the hospital or care facilities with no one to look out for their interests. Sending you blessings.

  3. ltcfacts

    Great advice! We’re often asked “how much does long-term care insurance cost?” That’s kind of like asking, “how much does a car cost?” It depends on what kind of car you want, how old of a car, what features you want, and it can even depend upon who you buy the car from.

    Long-term care insurance is very flexible and it can be affordable for most.

    Here are 5 tips we recently shared to our readers:



  4. Julianne Manuel

    When considering long-term care insurance, also look to see if it covers in-home caregiving. My parents have a policy which covers 4 hours per day for a person who requires 24 hour care. My Mother has dementia which requires 24/7 care. I do as much caregiving as possible so that she can stay in her own home as long as possible. But, having that coverage has eased some of the burden. When I am shopping for long-term care that will be important consideration.

  5. Annika Anderson

    Just want to add some on things to consider. A person who wants to acquire long term care insurance should be prepared on asking its own question to a professional agent. Question such as: What is LTCI for? or What does LTCI cover? The LTC Policy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw-EjletLE4 should also be reviewed by the consumers to avoid the confusion.

  6. long term care quote

    Preparation is the key to a secure future and one can easily do that by purchasing coverage. I’m aware that some people are discouraged in purchasing this insurance because of its cost. Yeah it’s expensive in nature but there are variety of ways to bring down your premiums. One way is by purchasing private insurance early. You are much healthier while you are younger and since you’re healthy, insurance companies will give you low premiums. Another way is by availing spousal and group discounts. But you need to understand that there might be limitations. You can also compare long term care quotes. In this way, you’ll compare each policy type, the costs and benefits, and then you can choose the most cost-effective coverage.

  7. Patrick Schmidt

    No one knows what the future holds and that’s why people should prepare for the future by purchasing long-term care insurance. This can provide not just peace of mind but as well as financial security because of the fact that long term care is becoming more expensive. For example, a nursing home will cost you about $86,000 and an assisted living facility has a price tag of $41,000 annually. Self-insuring is not advisable because this can wipe out your entire savings. Outliving your retirement income is not an option nowadays, so get covered while it’s early and you’re still eligible for low premiums. Finding an affordable coverage isn’t that hard as long as you compare long term care insurance quotes first from reliable websites such as http://freeltcquotes.com/. Get covered now if you want to protect your assets and as well as your loved ones.

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