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The Long Term Care waiting period

Let's talk a little bit about the Long Term Care waiting period.  This is one of the big 3 price determinants (along with daily amount and benefit duration).  There's a little secret about the LTC waiting period that you probably don't know unless you've been around the LTC market for a long time and it can save you significant amounts of money on your premium.  We'll save that for last.

First, what is the waiting period?  The Long Term Care waiting period is a length of time you choose when selecting your plan that states how long after triggering your benefits that you must wait to actually start receiving your daily benefit amount.  Think of it as a deductible based on time.  For example, if you choose a 30 day LTC waiting period, you will have to pay the 1st 30 days of Long Term Care (be it nursing home or home health care) once the policy has been triggered.  How much is that?  Well, a safe assumption based on today's cost is about $150 daily or $4500 for a month of nursing home care.  Keep in mind that you may actually need this policy 10 to 15 years from now and the cost are expected to rise at an accelerated inflation rate so we can only expect this number to rise.

So what's the right waiting period to choose?  At first glance, the shorter the better but there's a cost to that.  All things being equal, a shorter waiting period will cost more in premium.  With our LTC quick quote online, you can easily see the difference between different waiting period options. 

LTC is tough for some people because it's dealing with a potential event far in the future.  It's hard enough for Americans to plan for tomorrow, much less fifteen years from now.  When looking at the premium difference between 30 and 60 days, think of the cumulative difference in cost up to age 67.  That's usually the assumed age that LTC events start.  You're really comparing the daily amount times the difference in time versus the premium difference of probably 10-15 years.  For example, if the difference between 30 and 60 day waiting periods is $500 annually, then we're reall comparing $4500 (cost difference for the 30 days) versus expected $5000 to $6000 in premium over 10 to 15 years.  That's pretty close but we would probably opt to save the guaranteed $5000 versus the potential $4500 in benefit savings.  We would be happy to go through this exercise for you since it can sometimes be substantial one way or the other.

Now, on to our insider secret.  Medicare will start for most people between age 65 and 67 years old.  Medicare was never designed for Long Term Care but you can geta limited 100 days of care built in to most Medicare Supplements.  Medicare supplements are pretty standard in conjunction with traditional Medicare so it's a safe assumption Based on this and the expectation of securing supplemental coverage at the time of Medicare, choosing a waiting period of 90-100 days (depending on carrier) would be a good fit and reduce your premium expense without raising your risk significantly.  Keep in mind that if an LTC event occur prior to Medicare, you will have that 3 months of absorbing costs but the $15K is not our primary concern.  The $150K of 3 years Long Term Care is!

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