Sharing Long-Term Care Insurance: What Couples Need to Know
If you’re looking for long-term care insurance for yourself or your loved ones, you may be wondering if it’s possible for long-term care insurance to be shared between spouses. The short answer is yes, you can — but a longer answer requires a bit more explanation. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about shared care plans.
How a Shared Care Plan Works
Long-term care insurance is expensive, and experts predict costs will continue to rise. For couples trying to save money, a shared care plan may offer the best balance between benefits and cost. In a shared care plan, each spouse still has his/her own individual long-term care plan that covers costs Medicare doesn’t — things like in-home care, hospice care, and nursing home costs — but the policies can be combined or pooled together so that one spouse can siphon off some of the benefits of the other spouse’s policy if he/she runs out of benefits.
For example, imagine married couple Jim and Mary are both riders on each other’s long-term care insurance plans which offer five years of coverage at $250/day. Unfortunately, Jim develops dementia and requires long-term skilled nursing care at home, while Mary is healthy. With their shared care plan, when Jim exhausts the benefits of his own five-year plan, he can then tap into the benefits of Mary’s plan for up to another five years. However, any benefits that Jim takes from Mary’s plan will no longer be available to her — so if Jim ends up needing seven years of care, Mary will only have benefits available for three years.
Access to Double the Coverage for Less Cost
A shared care plan effectively lets couples access double the value of their plan for less money. In the example given above, Jim was able to access up to 10 years of benefits for his care, while only paying for a five-year plan. Even though there is some cost associated with adding him to Mary’s policy as a rider, the cost is much lower than if Jim had purchased a 10-year policy for himself.
Spouses Must Buy the Same Plan From the Same Company
To be eligible for a shared care plan, each spouse’s plan must have the exact same coverage and benefits and be offered by the same insurance company. This means if Jim’s plan offers long-term care for four years at up to $180 a day and Mary’s plan covers care for five years at $200 a day, they will not be able to share benefits, even if they purchase both plans through the same insurance company.
Shopping Around Pays Off
Just like with other types of insurance, when you’re considering long-term care insurance for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to shop around to find the policy that will best meet your needs. Different insurance providers offer policies with radically different costs, benefits, and levels of coverage, and some insurance providers don’t offer the option to share long-term care plans. Do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting the right plan.
Shared Plans Give Couples More Affordable Coverage Options
Shared long-term care plans can be a great way for couples to get the coverage they need at a price they can afford. However, before purchasing a plan, it’s important you understand how shared care plans work. Always make sure to shop around to find the plan that best meets your needs.
Brandon Cruz is the President of GoHealth Insurance. GoHealth powers one of the nation’s leading private health insurance exchanges for individuals and families.