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What is long-term care insurance?

A major concern of many seniors and their families is how to cover the cost of long-term care and whether long-term care insurance is a smart investment. The following explains the plans that are available and whether getting coverage is right for you.

Long-term care is not covered by Medicare, so some individuals purchase long-term care insurance to help pay for the cost of care, should they need it. The first step is determining if this insurance is appropriate for your situation. If it is, shop around. No two policies are the same and several factors affect your cost and coverage—health status, risk factors, finances, preferences, age and family status. To assist you in making these decisions we have created the Iowa Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance and the Iowa Long-Term Care Partnership Consumer Guide.

How do I know if a long-term care insurance company is “good”?

SHIIP–SMP (800-351-4664 TTY: 1-800-735-2942) can tell you if a company is licensed to sell long-term care insurance in Iowa. Licensing does not mean a company or policy is “good” or “bad”. It means the company meets the minimum requirements of the law. Insurance rating services rate the financial stability of an insurance company. This is important information because you want a company that will be around when you need to collect benefits from a policy, possibly many years into the future. Review our factsheet on Understanding the Financial Stability Ratings of Insurance Companies to learn more about what ratings are and how to obtain the latest ratings.

Your local library may also have internet access to rating services that can provide the information you need. Insurance agents can also provide you with a company’s most recent rating.

Remember, these services do not rate insurance policies or plans. They rate the financial stability of an insurance company. There is no resource that “rates” all insurance plans sold in the state. SHIIP–SMP counselors can help you understand and compare plans, but do not make recommendations. Speak with your local SHIIP-SMP site to learn more.