Many features and characteristics need to be addressed in designing a Long Term Care insurance program. Some of the essential benefits you should look for and must be certain to understand include:
- Affordability — An LTC program should not cause you financial hardship.
- Eligible benefits — LTC programs may cover nursing home care only, or a combination of nursing home care and/or home health care. An appropriate range of services and daily benefits should be available — from skilled nursing care to intermediate nursing care to custodial care (adult day care).
- A variety of elimination and benefit periods to choose from — Elimination periods are periods where no benefits are payable. Whether or not you select one is purely a function of your personal preference and situation.
- Activities of daily living (ADL) triggers — An LTC program should clearly specify how many activities of daily living, if any, need to be evident to trigger benefits.
- Availability from various ages (e.g., from 45 to 84)
- Guarantee of premiums and renewability
- Inflation protection and premium waivers — What happens when the cost of nursing home care rises over time? Inflation protection (through a rider) can help offset any increases.