LONG TERM CARE
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 The Right Call for
What is long-term care insurance?
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.
Use the questions in the “Iowa Guide to Long-term Care Insurance”, that you can see
on the left side of this page, to help you evaluate policies. SHIIP counselors also
can help you review policies and be sure you have all the information you need to
understand and choose coverage.
I want to buy long-term care insurance. How do I know if the company I’m considering
SHIIP (800-351-4664) 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. SHIIP has a fact sheet,
“Understanding the Financial Stability Ratings
of Insurance Companies” (see "Resources" on the left side of this page). It explains what ratings are and how
to contact the rating services where you can get 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 counselors can help you understand and
compare plans, but will not make recommendations.
Last Updated: 03/05/2013 (JLR)