1. Through an Insurance Professional
Working with a professional who specializes in long-term care insurance provides you with a lot of flexibility and personal guidance. An insurance professional can help you shop around for the best policy among multiple insurance companies, and customize a plan to include the combination of features and benefits that works best for your needs and budget. If you’re in good health, you may qualify for preferred pricing. That’s because the policy will be individually underwritten, meaning the insurance company will base its price on your health history. Pros: Flexibility, personal guidance. Custom solution. Good health discount may be available.
2. Through Your Employer
This is a convenient option because you often can pay your premiums through direct billing. Buying through work can save you the time of researching many policies because your employer will have done that work for you. If you’re not in perfect health, buying a policy through work may make a lot of sense since you may be asked fewer health-related questions in order to qualify for coverage. However, if you’re healthy, you’ll often pay the same price as everyone else in your general age range, which means you might not get rewarded for your good health, as you might with an individual policy. Also keep in mind that with employer-sponsored coverage, your choice of policy features may be limited because some offer only certain options. Pros: Pre-selected plans from which to choose. Direct billing. No gender based pricing. Easier to enroll and qualify.
3. Through Associations or Membership Groups
Policies may be offered through alumni groups, trade groups and other organizations to which you belong. Premiums are often discounted and are based primarily on your age and health. The plans they offer could look a lot like individual plans offered through a professional, or similar to plans offered though employers. Either way, you will generally work with a specialist to help you understand your options and enroll. Pros: Discounted pricing.
Also, Take Advantage of Government Incentives
To encourage more Americans to take responsibility for their future care needs, the government has developed a variety of incentives to reward those who buy long-term care insurance. Here are some you should know about.
Partnership Programs: Long-term care insurance partnership programs are designed to encourage consumers to buy private long-term care insurance, which will help you avoid spending down most of your assets to qualify for Medicaid-sponsored long-term care. Over the long haul, these partnerships between states and private insurance companies save money for both consumers and the government. Programs vary by state, so talk to your insurance professional about how this could apply to you.
Federal Tax Incentives: If you buy a federally qualified policy (and most policies are), your insurance premiums may be deductible as part of your medical expenses on federal tax returns and benefits are received tax-free.
State Tax Incentives: A majority of states have a state tax incentive for residents who purchase long-term care insurance.
Incentives for Business Owners: There are also tax advantages for businesses that buy long-term care insurance. Premiums for tax-qualified policies paid for employees, their dependents, spouses and retirees may be tax deductible as a business expense. Make sure to consult with your tax advisor to fully understand which tax benefits may apply to your particular situation.