Where can you buy long-term care insurance?
There are three main ways to buy long-term care coverage, and each one has pros and cons worth knowing. Also worth knowing is that today’s long-term care coverage may come bundled with life insurance coverage (or an annuity).
Through an Insurance Professional
Working one-on-one with an insurance advisor who specializes in long-term care insurance offers advantages such as:
- Flexibility. An insurance advisor will shop around for the best policy among several long-term care insurance companies. You’ll be able to compare long-term care insurance quotes and coverages to find the policy that works best for you. This level of flexibility is not usually available with the other two options for buying long-term care insurance.
- A personalized experience. Your insurance advisor can help you get long-term insurance quotes, answer any questions you may have and help you file a claim. Many people like having a point person like this for all of their long-term care insurance needs.
- A customized coverage solution. One of the best parts about working with an insurance professional is having the opportunity to customize a combination of features and benefits that works for your exact needs and budget. This is often not possible with the other two options for buying long-term care insurance.
- Potential good health discount. If you’re in good health, you may qualify for preferred pricing. That’s because the policy will be individually underwritten, meaning the insurance company will base its price on your personal health history rather than on a broad group rate.
Through an Employer
A second way to buy long-term care insurance is through a group plan offered by an employer. The advantage to going this route include:
- Easy buying process. An employer typically offers a few preselected plans from which to choose. This can save you the time and effort of researching many policies because your employer will have done that work for you. On the flip side, you will not have as many options to customize your coverage as you would if you bought long-term care coverage through an insurance advisor.
- Convenient billing. Your premiums are usually billed through easy and convenient direct billing.
- No gender-based pricing. Long-term care insurance is usually priced higher for women than for men since women on average live longer than men. So buying long-term care insurance through an employer could be a good move if you’re female.
- Easier to qualify for coverage. You may be asked fewer health-related questions in order to qualify for long-term coverage through an employer. This will make it easier (and often cheaper) to get long-term care insurance. That said, healthy people will often pay the same price as everyone else in their general age range. This means you might miss out on the kinds of discounts available through individual policies for being in good health.
Through an Association
A final way to buy long-term care insurance is through an association such as an alumni group, professional organization or trade group. Plans offered through an association could be similar to individual plans offered through an insurance professional or more like plans offered through employers. The advantages of going this route include:
- Discounted pricing. Plans through associations typically offer pricing discounts. Just know that you will probably sacrifice the ability to customize your coverage in exchange for these savings.
- Potentially easier to qualify for coverage. If the plan is run similar to one offered through an employer, it’s often easier to qualify for coverage since you won’t be asked as many health-related questions on the application. This can be a big benefit if you’re in less than ideal health.