When I have the conversation about the importance of planning for long-term care, the responses I get, “It’s not going to happen to me,” “I’m not going to live in a nursing home,” “caregiving benefits are expensive,” my family will care for me in their home,” “I will think about it when I have pre-existing conditions.” 

It is certain you will die and before that it is probable that there will be a long-term care event.  The definition of long-term care is broader than living in a nursing home. It means needing assistance with two or more of your six activities of daily living (bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring). You are transitioning from an active lifestyle to needing care services for months or maybe years. 

It is of value for families to consider the cost of long-term care and how you will manage that risk. People who love their family, who care about their financial legacy, who promised to provide for their loved ones will have the conversation about long-term care benefits. 

People do not own plans because they enjoy paying premiums. They own insurance to ‘transfer’ the risk.

Knowledgeable people understand that transferring the risk to an insurance carrier provides a “safe return on investment” available as an individual or with a spouse/partner to accomplish what an insurance company and the tax code provides to a Long-Term Care Benefit.

Health insurance and Medicare do not pay for long-term care expenses. Medicaid will, but only for lower-income Americans. People feel that long-term care benefits are expensive. My response is, “if you believe that a custom-designed long-term care benefit is expensive, do you believe that paying with your own resources will be less expensive?”  

Choices to make with managing caregiving services:


This means you believe you have sufficient assets, or your wealth advisor explained that having a few million dollars in assets is sufficient to pay for your lifestyle and caregiving. “It won”t.”

Should you or your spouse incur a long-term care event, the money is available to cover those expenses from your cash flow, reserve fund designated to pay for caregiving or assets that are subject to capital gains and other tax expenses if sold.

Friends and family

Owning a long-term care benefit provides funds if family or friends are responsible for your care along with competent and trained caregiving professionals. It allows for choices and flexibility not always available if you choose veterans benefits or Medicaid, which are economic programs for which you may be eligible but not entitled. Why? The considerations are qualifying financially, who makes the decision, where and how much you will receive in care benefits. Most people want to make the choices for themselves and not have others decide how much in benefits, who will provide the care services, and where the care services are offered (at home or in a care center). 

Long-Term Care Benefit Choices

Traditional insurance: 

These plans have evolved over the years from nursing home insurance to comprehensive care benefits, whether at home or in a care center. 

12 years ago, there were numerous LTC benefits, but now less than a dozen quality companies offer long-term care benefits.

Hybrid long-term care policy: Your premium and benefits are guaranteed and known upfront with a hybrid policy. You can choose to make one premium payment, or you may spread your premium payments out over a three-year, five-year, seven-year, or 10-year period. You have the option to cancel the policy and get all of your money back. Your beneficiaries will receive the process tax-free should you never use the benefits.  

There are hybrid benefits that pay reimbursement or indemnity (cash). In addition, there are hybrid benefits that will pay full benefits in any country you reside permanently or for periods of time. 

There is no requirement to own a long-term care plan. People own a plan because it allows choices with where you want your care (home or in a care center), who will be responsible for your care, and sufficient funds to pay for care.