Planning for your future health care does not stop if you decide to take out a long-term care insurance policy. Policies that pay for nursing home care or in-home care take different forms, so you should know if your insurance policy meets your priorities. Additionally, your policy should not cost so much that it hurts your ability to save money or pay for other living expenses.
This is why now is a good time to review your policy if you have purchased one or be aware of what different insurers offer if you are still shopping for the right policy. Kiplinger describes some provisions of a long-term care policy worth checking for.
Whether your premiums will increase
Perhaps the most important question to resolve is whether your premiums will increase. Many traditional long-term care policies have premiums that go up over time. This could be a major problem if your policy costs you so much money that it upends your spending priorities for your retirement.
It is possible to avoid premium hikes by opting for a hybrid policy that combines long-term care insurance with life insurance. You may lock in your premium rates at the time of purchase. In the event you or your spouse do not need long-term care, the death benefit in your hybrid policy may pay out the money to anyone you designate as a beneficiary.
Whether your policy pays for caretakers
In the event you wish to receive care at home in your older years, check to see if your policy will pay for a caretaker of your choice, like a family member. Many insurance policies only cover caretakers from licensed agencies and require you to receive care for no less than three or four hours a day. You may have to shop carefully for insurance that will pay for nonlicensed caregivers or nurses who provide in-home care.
Life insurance that pays for care
If you are seeking flexible policies to pay for informal caregivers and other forms of long-term care, you might shop for a life insurance policy that provides accelerated death benefits. This gives you coverage for care costs while you are alive. Depending on the insurer, you might pay extra for this offer or you may pay no additional cost at all.
Still, you should carefully examine the trigger for these benefits. The policy might not cover you if you only suffer an inability to do some daily living activities. You may have to contract a chronic illness before the benefits kick in. Reading the fine print on any policy may help you avoid problems that could hamper your care.