Commonly Asked Long-Term Care Insurance Questions & Answers
Q. Can my premium be increased?
With a ‘traditional style’ plan, your premiums could increase in the future under certain circumstances, but only after approval by the Department of Insurance or CalPERS. If you cannot afford the increase, or do not want to accept the premium increase, you may be given the option to adjust your coverage to an amount that would let you maintain or lower your existing premium. ‘Hybrid policies will never increase because they are life insurance policies with an LTC rider. Hybrid contracts also provide for the policy to be ‘paid up’ after a limited number or paid up with a single premium. The policies can also provide for 100% return of premium if it is no longer needed and can pay as a life insurance policy if death occurs and LTC is never used.
Q. What if I die before I use all of my LTCI coverage benefits?
Many LTCI contracts offer an optional benefit for the return of premium at death. If you select this optional benefit and die before your total benefits are used up, all or a percentage of your premiums will be returned to your end estate or to your family, minus any benefits paid.
Q. Can my spouse/partner be added to my policy?
Many contracts can be obtained that cover both spouses/partners in a significant relationship. These are called ‘shared care’ provisions. This can help reduce the premium and can double the coverage for one of the members if needed.
Q. What happens if the cost of care increases?
Most LTCI contracts have inflation protection as a rider. Medical care cost continues to go up. Inflation protection increases the benefit amount by the percentage chosen. Generally, the protection ought to be between 3% and 5%.