This is a short primer on long term insurance. To begin, what is it? Basically it’s an insurance policy which covers the often ridiculous prices associated with end of life care. A good policy will cover costs associated with home health care, adult day care, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities.

Sure, there is a chance your patients will never need this sort of care. Or that this can’t happen to you. Well, we all know we’re living longer than we were a few generations back. In fact your chances of developing some form of dementia almost double for each five year period after the age of 65 (N. I. H, 2011).

image for long term care blog small 2-21-13I recently attended a community lecture given by local State Farm agent Cary Bohn. He cited an interesting statistic from the 2009 Field Guide from the National Underwriter Company that said the chances of needing long-term care by the age of 65+ is 1 in 2; while the chances that your house will be lost in a fire is 1 in 96!  His rationale was that while the average middle aged American wouldn’t dream of forgoing insuring their home, why go without long-term care insurance? After seeing those statistics I was more inclined to feel the same.

What about Medicaid? Well that’s a tricky subject as qualifying for benefits depends on the state you live in and your personal financial situation. Many people falsely think that Medicaid will cover them if and when they need long term care. Strict income/asset limits must be met by the applicant, meaning that you’ll have to be near insolvent to qualify. There are law practices devoted to essentially bankrupting people so they can qualify!

Other considerations to think about when deciding on, or recommending the possibility of long term care insurance are:

  • How comfortably you think you would want to be while you were receiving daily care?
  • Realizing that that many facilities do not accept Medicare as payment.
  • Or, you or a loved one won’t have a private room at a Medicaid facility either.

On the flip side, there are some serious downsides to purchasing a long term care policy.

For example, you could end up overpaying. For this reason it’s wise to seek at least two different quotes from insurers and weigh the options. Premiums could rise. While it’s true that your premiums will likely be lower if you purchase a policy while you’re in the age bracket of 40-50, insurer’s often raise rates the closer you get to the 70-80 age bracket. Another useful thing to consider is the longevity of the company you’re purchasing from. Check out the financial health of your insurer at

Finally, there is always the possibility of your company giving you a fight when it’s time to use your benefits.  Read all paperwork with a careful eye before signing anything and make sure you’re clear on what and how much your policy covers (Kristof, 2009).

Guest blogger is Andrea Stephens, Texas AHEC East – North Central Region


  1. National Institute on Aging, N. I. A., National Institutes of Health, N. I. H., U.S Department of Health and Human Services, H. H. S., & World Health Organization, W. H. O. National Institute on Aging & National Institues of Health, (2011). Global health and aging (11-7737). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health website:
  2. Kristof, K. (2009, 06 17). Long-term care insurance: 4 biggest risks to avoid. CBS: Money watch. Retrieved from

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