Click on questions for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Can I buy the insurance if I have health issues?

Yes, but it depends on what the conditions are. Early stage cancer history that has been resolved for more than 2 years is almost always OK. Although lymphoma could require a longer period of stability. If there was a recurrence of cancer, that would cause difficulties. Those who have had heart attacks or bypass surgery that don’t cause long term residual symptoms, or are coupled with other types of serious issues could be considered. Diabetes is considered if under good control, although there are only a few options for those taking insulin. There are also very limited choices for those who have had a single stroke or TIA, and there is a stability period of at least 2 years, without any residual symptoms. Any type of autoimmune condition usually requires a special type of individual consideration, on a case by case basis. Some autoimmune conditions are automatically not considered, such as systemic lupus, or if there is significant steroid or narcotic use to control the condition. There are certain combinations of conditions that are automatically rejected. A few examples are if someone has any of the two following conditions: cardiac/stroke history, diabetes, tobacco use, or asthma and tobacco combined. But if only one of these individual conditions are present, there could be consideration. Height and weight are considered, but weight would have to be significantly high to be declined for coverage. If you aren’t sure about whether a condition you have would be considered, check with a long term care specialist. Don’t assume you are uninsurable without checking, if you have a condition not mentioned above.

If I become ill and satisfy my elimination period and receive benefits for a while, and then get better, what happens the next time I need care again?

With virtually all policies sold today you only need to satisfy the elimination period once in your lifetime. Some older policies may not offer that, but all the major plans today do. higher in later years if you have chosen inflation growth as one of your options. If you don’t use up all the money in four years you get to keep going until it runs out.

If I buy automatic inflation protection, will my rates go up each year that my benefits increase to cover the benefit growth?

No, the plan will cost much more because of the added inflation option, and that already covers the cost of the annual benefit increases. There is a type of inflation option you can purchase that only costs a small amount more, called either future or guaranteed purchase option. But don’t confuse that with automatic inflation. Future or Guaranteed Purchase options only allow you to opt to catch up with inflation each year if you wish to, but with each increase you select, you will pay a higher percentage of cost, based on your newly attained age at that time of selection. The cost of taking that option will continue to spiral up higher. This type of inflation has some suitable fits, but it has to be looked at very carefully.

Can my rates go up?

Yes, but the insurance company must file a request with each state’s insurance commissioner and get permission. Insurance commissioners may accept the increase, reject it, or put a cap on how much of the increase they’ll accept for that period. Older plans will have a higher likelihood of larger increases than more recent plans, but you should expect that increases will happen at some point in the future.

Is there a way to avoid rate increases?

There are a few ways. One method is to buy a plan that allows you to have your plan paid-up for life in 10 years, but most companies have stopped offering that. If you have that available in your state, just be aware that rates can go up during the initial 10 years before you are done paying premiums. This 10-pay option is very expensive, since you are basically buying up a plan that might ordinarily be paid for 25-40 years. Another way to avoid increases is to consider a hybrid or combination plan. Sometimes these are also called linked benefits. It is a combination of long term care and life insurance. Most plan require a single lump sum premium, such as $100,000. But you will have some great guarantees, such as a death benefit if you die without needing care, significant long term care coverage, and also the option to cancel in the future and have the entire premium paid refunded back to you. There are a few options to pay over a period of years with some of these plans, without a lump sum, and still have the guarantee of no rate increases.

How do I apply for the insurance and what should I expect?

The first step is to meet with an agent who understands this insurance and make sure the agent does a good job of educating you about this. When you have made a decision, complete an application with the agent, and most of the time, a deposit is required, or at least highly recommended. Even if the deposit is not required, you could gain some initial conditional coverage by leaving a deposit. More companies are requiring an in-home exam, that includes blood, urine, and blood pressure testing. There is usually a cognitive portion of the meeting for those in their 60’s or older. Medical records are almost always retrieved by the insurance company, and the application contains a medical release form that you sign to allow that. Most cases take at least a month from the date of application until the actual decision is made by the insurance company, but it could certainly take longer. The biggest delays are usually caused by difficulties in retrieving the records from medical providers.

Does a four year plan only last four years?

No. A four plan is actually based on a pot of money that you have chosen at time of purchase. It will be higher in later years if you have chosen inflation growth as one of your options. If you don’t use up all the money in four years you get to keep going until it runs out.