When long-term care insurance (LTCI) was introduced in the mid-1970s, it provided only for care in a nursing home.
Beginning in the 1980s, insurers began issuing new policy forms that expanded benefits to include additional care services. New policy designs over time have grown to cover not only nursing home care, but stays in assisted living facilities, in-home care and even adult day care.
Traditionally, LTCI policies have been designed to help fill the financial gap with benefits not provided by traditional health insurance, Medicare coverage or personal savings.
Many of the changes have come about because of the challenges and uncertainty facing Medicare and Medicaid. long-term care insurance coverage has also become more flexible, allowing policyholders to tailor a plan that best meets their needs.
Growth of “now” benefits
Long-term care insurance coverage has expanded to include not only direct care but a growing number of “now” – or immediate – benefits designed to help policyholders live longer, healthier and happier lives. These “now” benefits help people build holistic retirement plans designed to help protect their financial assets, while promoting healthy living in order to maintain their quality of life.
“Now” benefits also meet the growing demand for ancillary services, such as caregiver support and wellness programs that provide encouragement, education and tools for people transitioning from the workplace to retirement. These benefits help address the perception that there is no immediate value when purchasing a long-term care policy, which can dissuade some consumers from proper planning.
“Now” benefits are also attractive to people who haven’t reached retirement age, don’t fully understand what long-term care insurance covers, and don’t understand the advantages of purchasing coverage when they’re younger. People commonly believe that they won’t need long-term care until they’re much older, or perhaps not at all. On the contrary, it is estimated that half of all Americans 65 or older will need long-term care at some point. When that time comes, they don’t want to become a burden on their families.