Partnership Plans for Long Term Care
Many states are assisting their residents to buy LTC insurance.
A helping hand for a pressing need – With the baby boom generation maturing, numerous studies and articles have pointed out the rising need for long term care. Some state governments have directly responded to it.
Now, many states have created partnership programs to encourage their residents to purchase LTC insurance coverage. It only makes sense: if more people opt to privately insure themselves, a state will face less of a burden and less liability when it comes to its own eldercare programs and eldercare costs.
How the partnership plans work – Essentially, these plans provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection when you buy an LTC policy. So for every dollar the policy pays out in benefits, you get an equal dollar amount in asset protection under a state’s Medicaid spend-down regulations.
What does this mean for you? It means that you are able to retain assets you would otherwise have to spend down before you could qualify for state Medicaid benefits. These partnership plans let you protect an amount of funds equal to the amount the policy pays out in benefits and still qualify for state Medicaid assistance (as long as you have used up all policy benefits and still require long term care).
Typically, Medicaid kicks in only when you are destitute. But with these partnership programs, you don’t have to be destitute to receive state assistance, even if your need for care outlasts your LTC policy benefits.
With these programs in place, LTC insurance seems more and more attractive. That’s important, because it has never seemed as essential as it does today.
Does your LTC policy qualify for a partnership plan? – You should find out if it does. Most LTC policies sold today do qualify for these partnership plans. A key factor is whether a policy has an age-related inflation protection benefit. In these policies, your daily or monthly LTC benefit amount is adjusted upward in response to inflation and increased cost of expenses. With these inflation-adjusted policies, your benefits typically go up each year, but your premiums may not.
There’s really not much incentive for state governments to partner with LTC policyholders whose policies aren’t inflation-adjusted. What would happen is that with each passing year, the odds would rise of the policyholder using up the whole LTC benefit and leaning on a state Medicaid program, so the state would be poised to pick up more and more of the cost of eldercare with the passage of time.
The Ohio example – Consider the State of Ohio’s Partnership for Long-Term Care Insurance, and the need it meets. In 2007, the average annual cost of a private or semi-private room in a nursing home exceeded $60,000 in Ohio, and the cost for a licensed, Medicare-certified home health aide was nearly $52,000 per year (for 50 hours of care per week).1
Here’s the kind of difference the Ohio partnership plan could make for an Ohio resident. As an example, let’s say Mr. and Mrs. Jones in Toledo have a $100,000 LTC policy. Once they use up their $100,000 policy benefit, they have to spend down their assets to $2,250 before they can get state Medicaid benefits. But if they exhaust a $100,000 partnership policy, they can potentially qualify for Medicaid coverage and still hang on to $101,500 of their assets.2
In Ohio, if you bought your current LTC policy after August 12, 2002, your insurer must offer you the choice of exchanging it for a partnership-compatible policy. You have 90 days to decide if you want to do that.3 Ohio also offers state residents free, in-home long term care consultations.
What kind of long term care coverage do you have? Do you have a policy that is eligible for a partnership plan? Do you have any LTC policy at all? It is wise to look into this. It may be essential for your long-range financial well-being. I urge you to speak with a qualified insurance or financial professional today about long term care coverage, and these remarkably useful partnership plans.
Disclosure: Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Candido, Inc., which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial Services.