We research all brands listed and may earn a fee from our partners. Research and financial considerations may influence how brands are displayed. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Editor:
Published: May 02, 2024 23 min read

Best Long-Term Care Insurance Takeaways

Our top picks include Mutual of Omaha, New York Life and GoldenCare.

  • Long-term care services in the U.S. cost an average of $60,000 to $100,000 a year.
  • Long-term care insurance can help you cover LTC costs without depleting your savings.
  • The best time to buy LTC insurance is in your mid-50s to early 60s, while you're healthy.
  • The two main long-term care insurance options are traditional and hybrid policies.
  • Our list features both traditional and hybrid policies with different disbursement options.
Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Our Partner
Company Highlight
TOP PARTNER
Our Partner

Nation’s leader in Long-Term Care insurance since 1976

  • As an independent brokerage, they provide unbiased information based on your needs
  • GoldenCare has access to the Top LTC companies & discounts available
  • They also offer Hybrid Long-Term Care insurance, Short-Term Care & Home Health Care plans
Our Partner

Long-term care benefits provided with life insurance and annuities

  • Individual and joint policy options available
  • Members can receive in-home and/or facility care
  • Coverage for hospice and respite care, and caregiver training included
  • Offers other insurance policies and products for individuals and businesses
Our Partner

A+ score, BBB-accredited

  • Brokers with decades of experience
  • Many long term care provider partners
  • Comprehensive, affordable plans
  • Protects your assets with tax-free benefits
  • Eligibility: ages 45-79, $100k+ net worth, in good health
Our Partner

Offers long-term care insurance and LTC plus life insurance bundles

  • Plans are fully customizable to cater to your needs
  • Multiple riders to choose from
  • Preferred health and couple’s discounts available
  • Other insurance and financial services are also provided
Our Partner

Long-term care insurance provider

  • Over 100 years of industry experience
  • Facility care and/or in-home care coverage options available
  • Completely customizable policies
  • Special pricing for joint policies available

Why Trust Us?

Our editors and writers evaluate insurance companies independently, ensuring our content is precise and guided by editorial integrity. Read the full methodology to learn more.

  • 11 insurers reviewed
  • 5 categories scored
  • 25 authoritative sources consulted

Our Top Picks for the Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Planning for a secure future? Long-Term Care Insurance can help
Regular health insurance, disability insurance, and Medicare are not designed to cover long-term care costs. Get Long-Term Care Insurance today - select your state to get a free quote.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
View Rates

Best Long-Term Care Insurance Reviews


Issue Ages

 40-75 (as of last birthday)

Benefit Amount

$2,500 to $20,833 per month

Benefit Period

2-7 years

Elimination Period

90 calendar days

Why we chose it: We chose Nationwide as the best long-term care insurer for policy customization because its CareMatters® II plan is one of the best hybrid policies available. Its numerous terms and customizable design make it stand out from its competitors.

Pros
  • Offers universal and variable universal life insurance policies with an LTC rider
  • Provides inflation protection riders and flexible payment schedules
  • Hybrid policies pay cash benefits
  • Unlicensed caregivers permitted
Cons
  • No stand-alone long-term care policies
  • Policy with shared pool of benefits not available in NY or CA
  • LTC rider isn't available in Montana or U.S. territories

Nationwide offers two hybrid (also called linked-benefit) policies that cater to the needs of both individuals and couples. These policies are tied to a fixed-premium universal life insurance plan that will pay out a guaranteed minimum death benefit — even if you receive long-term care.

  • CareMatters® II pays cash benefits, so you can avoid the hassle of having to file for reimbursement every month.
  • CareMatters Together℠ is a plan for couples that provides a shared pool of benefits that can be used by either partner.
  • Both policies can be funded through a one-time payment or monthly or annual payment for five years, 10 years or up to a specified age.
  • Benefit period options range from two to seven years. Nationwide also offers an LTC rider that can be added to some of its life insurance policies.

Read Nationwide Long-term Care Insurance Review


Issue Ages

25-79 for traditional policies; 30-79 (75 in NY) for Asset Flex

Benefit Amount

$1,500-$10,000 per month

Benefit Period

2-5 years

Elimination Period

0, 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 calendar days

Why we chose it: Mutual of Omaha is our choice for the best long-term care insurer for stand-alone LTC policies because it's one of just six companies currently offering stand-alone long-term care plans. Moreover, its higher-tiered policy is highly customizable and even allows policyholders to choose between cash benefits and reimbursement.

Pros
  • Offers three types of discounts to policyholders
  • LTC policies include care coordination services
  • Option to change your preferred benefit payment method
  • Several optional benefits available, including return of premium and inflation protection
Cons
  • Couples discount is only available if married or living together for 3 years
  • Premiums are likely to increase over time

Mutual of Omaha offers two long-term care plans: MutualCare Custom Solution and MutualCare Secure Solution. These plans offer monthly benefits from $1,500 to $10,000, home care benefits, and international coverage for up to 12 months. They also provide stackable discounts: 15% for insured couples, 5% for married customers, and 15% for good health.

  • MutualCare Secure Solution allows policyholders to choose between cash benefits or a reimbursement-based structure, offers 24, 36, 48 or 60 months of coverage and three elimination period options (90, 180 and 365 calendar days).
  • Mutual Care Custom Solution provides a pool of dollars between $50,000 and $500,000 (in $500 increments), more elimination period options (0, 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365) and can be customized with survivorship and joint waiver of premium add-ons.
  • Optional benefits include inflation protection, return of premium, shared care, waiver of elimination period and a nonforfeiture option.

Read Mutual of Omaha Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Issue Ages

30-75

Benefit Amount

$1,500-$7,000 per month

Benefit Period

2, 3, 5 or 7 years

Elimination Period

90 calendar days (0 for home care under Asset Flex)

Why we chose it: We chose New York Life as the best long-term care insurance company for financial stability because it has superior financial strength ratings from AM Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s (Aaa) and S&P (AA+). It also ranks above the industry average in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.

Pros
  • Some policies can cover 100% of care costs
  • Premiums on stand-alone policies are guaranteed for the first three years
  • Offers a return of premium on linked-benefit policies
  • New York Life Secure Care and New York Life My Care are eligible for dividends
Cons
  • Benefit period options and covered benefits may vary by state
  • No online quotes are available at this time
  • Asset Flex is not eligible for dividends

New York Life offers two stand-alone long-term care insurance options, New York Life My Care and New York Life Secure Care, as well as a linked-benefit policy called Asset Flex. All three plans offer inflation protection options and a nonforfeiture benefit after the third year. Additionally, a couples discount is available on all plans.

  • New York Life My Care carries a one-time annual deductible ($4,500 to $144,000) and can reimburse up to 80% of eligible expenses. Coverage amounts range from $50,000 to $500,000 per lifetime, and benefit period options depend on the coverage amount.
  • New York Life Secure Care features a waiting period (90, 180 or 365 days) instead of a deductible and covers 100% of eligible expenses up to the daily maximum ($400). Benefit period options include 2, 3, 5 or 7 years and lifetime coverage amounts range from $36,500 to $1,022,000.
  • Asset Flex provides $750,000 in life insurance and $1,750,000 in LTC benefits. Its 90-day elimination period can be waived for home care if the policyholder creates a personalized care plan with New York Life. This product is ineligible for dividend payments.

Read New York Life Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Issue Ages

18-79

Benefit Amount

$1,500 – $12,000 per month in $100 increments

Benefit Period

3 or 6 years

Elimination Period

6, 12, 25 or 52 weeks

Why we chose it: Northwestern Mutual is our top choice for couples seeking long-term care insurance. It offers a spousal discount of up to 30% if both partners are approved (10% if only one is). Additionally, companion relationships of two or more years qualify, even if they're family, as long as both partners are of the same generation and plan to continue living together.

Pros
  • Generous spousal or companion discount of up to 30%
  • Waive premiums once you need care, even if you're not receiving benefits
  • LTC policies are “participating” policies eligible for dividends
  • Up to 20% of monthly benefit can go toward caregiver training
Cons
  • No online quotes available at this time
  • Only two benefit periods: three or six years
  • Only covers care services rendered by plan-approved providers

Northwestern Mutual's QuietCare policy can be paired with a survivorship benefit rider, exempting surviving partners from future premium payments upon their spouse's death. Both spouses must be enrolled in QuietCare with this rider to qualify. QuietCare features:

  • Maximum monthly benefits ranging from $1,500 to $12,000 in $100 increments
  • Four elimination period options: six, 12, 25 or 52 weeks
  • A maximum lifetime benefit of 6 years (72 months) or 3 years (36 months)
  • A caregiver training benefit equal to 20% of the maximum monthly limit
  • Policy reinstatement within a year upon payment of past due premiums, or within five months if the policyholder has a cognitive impairment

Read Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Issue Ages

Varies by company

Benefit Amount

Varies by company

Benefit Period

Varies by company

Elimination Period

Varies by company

Why we chose it: We chose GoldenCare as the best long-term care insurance option for comparing multiple providers because it partners with 18 well-known carriers to help match customers with companies that meet their needs. You can get multiple quotes in one place, and a Golden Care agent can guide you through the process.

Pros
  • Partners with multiple well-known LTC providers
  • Specializes in life, critical illness, linked benefit policies
  • Offers annuities and short-term care insurance
Cons
  • No online long-term care insurance quotes
  • The company is an insurance broker, not a carrier

As an online insurance broker, GoldenCare partners with 18 long-term care insurance providers, including Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica, Aetna, Thrivent and National Guardian Life Insurance Company. It pairs clients with a long-term care specialist who can help them develop a care plan and recommends insurers that align with their situation.

Read GoldenCare Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer

Leader in LTC insurance since 1976

 Nation’s leading provider since 1976, unmatched expertise and experience.
  • Wide range of options & exclusive discounts.
  • Cost of Care Map tool to understand costs

LTC benefits provided with life insurance & annuities

Long-term care benefits provided with life insurance & annuities
  • Individual and joint policy options available
  • Members can receive in-home and/or facility care
  • Coverage for hospice & respite care, caregiver training included
  • Accessible via Goldencare

A+ score, BBB-accredited

BBB-accredited with an A+ score
  • Best for ages 45-79, $100k+ net worth, in good health
  • Comprehensive, affordable plans
  • Protects your assets with tax-free benefits

Plans are fully customizable to cater to your needs

Plans are fully customizable to cater to your needs
  • Multiple riders to choose from
  • Preferred health and couple’s discounts available
  • Other insurance and financial services are also provided
  • Accessible via Goldencare

Over 100 years of industry experience

Facility care and/or in-home care coverage options available
  • Completely customizable policies
  • Special pricing for joint policies available
  • Access to all the top insurance companies
  • Accessible via Goldencare

Other long-term care insurance companies we considered

Although the following carriers didn’t make our list of top long-term care insurance companies, they offer products with attractive features.


OneAmerica (State Life Insurance Company)

Pros
  • Sells hybrid life insurance and annuity plans with LTC benefits
  • Policies underwritten by State Life Insurance Company
  • Get LTC benefits for a limited period or opt for guaranteed lifetime benefits
Cons
  • No stand-alone LTC policies are available
  • High complaint ratio
  • Low financial strength ratings

OneAmerica is a financial services and mutual insurance company specializing in life insurance and annuity products. It offers hybrid life insurance policies and annuity plans with LTC benefits. It didn't make our list because of its relatively high NAIC complaint ratio.

Read OneAmerica Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Brighthouse Financial

Pros
  • Guaranteed death benefit and terminal illness benefit
  • Cash indemnity plan pays out base benefit regardless of the actual expense amount
  • Coverage up to $1,000,000 or more
Cons
  • No stand-alone LTC policies are available
  • Low customer satisfaction ratings

Brighthouse Financial sells a universal life insurance policy called SmartCare that provides long-term care benefits through riders; it does not sell stand-alone LTC policies. Its limited selection of long-term care products, below-average customer satisfaction score and high NAIC complaint ratio disqualified it from our main list.


Lincoln Financial Long-Term Insurance

Pros
  • Benefits are available internationally
  • Two inflation protection options
  • Includes care coordination services
Cons
  • Product features and benefits may vary by state
  • Low J.D. Power score

Lincoln Financial offers two hybrid life and long-term care insurance policies with high maximum issue ages (up to 80 years old). Applicants must meet health and underwriting criteria, including income or asset requirements. However, its score on the latest J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study was below the industry average by ten points.

Read Lincoln Financial Long-Term Care Insurance Review


Transamerica

Pros
  • Offers an LTC insurance rider for some of its universal life policies
  • Multiple riders available to customize its life insurance policies
Cons
  • No longer issues new long-term care insurance policies
  • LTC rider not available with all life insurance products
  • No online claims filing
  • Low J.D. Power Score

Transamerica is a financially stable insurer offering a great selection of life insurance policies and riders. However, its low J.D. Power score and high NAIC complaint ratio kept it out of our top picks. Moreover, it no longer issues long-term care insurance policies, and its LTC rider cannot be added to all of its life insurance products.

Read Transamerica Long-Term Care Insurance Review


California Long Term Care Insurance Services (CLTC)

Pros
  • Works with different carriers
  • Offers critical illness insurance, annuities and LTC riders
Cons
  • Plan information on the site is lacking
  • Not available in all states

California Long Term Care Insurance Services, also known as CLTC Insurance Services, is an independent insurance brokerage that specializes in selling long-term care insurance and related products in the state of California. Since CLTC’s services are limited to one state, it did not make our main list.


National Guardian Life (NGL)

Pros
  • Includes international benefits and emergency response system coverage
  • Couples can share a policy and premium
  • Offers inflation protection and two return of premium riders
  • Shared benefit rider allows access to a third pool of money
Cons
  • Low daily benefit amount ($50 to $300)
  • Only two benefit period options, unless you purchase a rider
  • Waiver of premium only available when comprehensive benefits are selected
  • Not rated by J.D. Power

National Guardian Life's EssentialLTC policy offers international benefits (30 days per calendar year), caregiver training coverage and contingent benefits for policy lapses. However, it has comparatively low daily benefit maximums ($50 to $300) and limited benefit period options (two or three years), unless an extension rider is purchased.


Long-Term Care Insurance Guide

The following guide includes details about how long-term care insurance works, what it covers and how much it costs. Keep reading to find out more.

What is long-term care insurance?

Long-term care insurance helps cover the cost of extended care, whether it takes place in a long-term care facility or at home. You pay a monthly premium for coverage that begins if you're diagnosed with cognitive impairment or can’t perform two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as eating, dressing, walking and toileting (using the bathroom).

Is long-term care insurance worth it?

For those who can afford it, long-term care insurance can be worth it. It can help middle-income adults cover costly extended care services, protect their assets and alleviate the burden of caregiving on loved ones.

According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), most people over 65 will need long-term care in their lives, a statistic particularly pertinent to women, who tend to outlive men by about five years and may require care for longer.

Long-term care insurance could be especially beneficial to those who:

  • Are in their early to mid-50s or early 60s
  • Are in relatively good health
  • Don't qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits
  • Don't have enough money to self-insure
  • Want to safeguard their assets and savings
  • Want to spare their loved ones the responsibility of caregiving

How does long-term care insurance work?

Long-term care insurance works similarly to health insurance in that you pay a lump sum or monthly premium for a policy that covers qualifying expenses once you require care. However, unlike health insurance policies, LTC insurance is intended to cover custodial or skilled nursing care for a year or more.

A healthcare provider must prescribe long-term care assistance for your insurance policy to cover the services.

Here are some points about how long-term care insurance works:

  • Coverage: It pays for assisted living or nursing facilities or in-home care.
  • Benefits: Benefits commence when you have a cognitive impairment or can't perform two or more of the six activities of daily living (ADL).
  • Disbursement: Companies pay benefits to cover the cost of long-term services either daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Premium: The cost of a policy depends on many factors, but average monthly premiums are $75 per month.

What LTC insurance covers

Again, long-term care insurance policies cover the following types of care:

  • Custodial care: Refers to assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and eating. The caregiver doesn’t need to be licensed
  • Skilled nursing: Defined as care provided by a licensed medical professional such as a registered nurse (RN).

Despite popular belief, this care can take place in a variety of settings, whether that's an assisted living facility, nursing home or your own home.

Jesse Slome, Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, says "There are a lot of misconceptions about long-term care insurance because it started as a product that primarily paid for nursing home care — the scariest proposition out there. But most people don't and won't need nursing home care, or they might for only a short period toward the very end."

He adds that the kind of care most of us will require is custodial care for things like getting up and about our own homes.

LTC policies may also cover specialized services, such as:

  • Hospice care
  • Respite care
  • Alzheimer's and dementia care
  • Family member training, medical equipment and home modifications

Keep in mind that your policy may include restrictions on how long you can be covered for these specialized services or set limits on how much of your benefit can go toward them. Nevertheless, some insurers may allow exceptions in extraordinary circumstances (such as a global pandemic).

What LTC insurance doesn't cover

While long-term care insurance covers the cost of nursing and custodial care provided in a variety of settings, policies have some notable exclusions. These may vary by policy but generally include:

  • Treatment of mental illnesses, not including Alzheimer's Disease or senile dementia
  • Self-inflicted injuries or conditions resulting from alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Care in government nursing facilities
  • Coverage outside the U.S. (although some policies offer international benefits for up to 12 months)
  • Extended care provided by family members, except in extraordinary circumstances

How much is long-term care insurance?

The cost of long-term care insurance will depend on your age, health status, the type of coverage you need and whether you buy a policy with level benefits or inflation protection.

According to the 2023 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), monthly premiums for $165,000 in level benefits range from $75 to $225.

Policyholders who want their long-term care insurance benefits to grow annually and keep up with inflation should expect to pay twice as much.

Annual long-term care insurance premiums

Issue Age

$165,000 in level benefits

With 2% yearly increase

With 3% yearly increase

Wtih 5% yearly increase

55-year-old male

$950

$ 1,650

 $2,075

  $3,690

55-year-old female

$1,500

$2,800

$3,700

$6,400

55-year-old couple

$2,080 (combined)

$3,875 (combined)

$5,025 (combined)

$8,575 (combined)

60-year-old male

$1,200

$2,060

 $2,585

 $3,800

60-year-old female

$1,900

$3,325

$4,400

$6,700

60-year-old couple

 $2,600 (combined)

$4,500 (combined)

$5,800 (combined)

$8,700 (combined)

Your age when applying for coverage significantly affects policy costs. For instance, a single man buying a plan with $165,000 in level benefits might pay $900 annually at age 55, compared to $1,700 at age 65 — an 89% premium increase.

Applicant age group

Percentage of applications denied

40 to 49

12.4%

50 to 59

20.4%

60 to 64

30.4%

65 to 65

47.2%

Average costs of long-term care services

Long-term care costs rise annually. Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows that assisted living facility costs are projected to increase by 4.7% annually until 2030, while home health care costs are expected to rise by an average of 7% per year.

This chart shows the average annual costs of typical long-term care options:

Long-term care service

Average annual cost

Increase since 2020

Homemaker services

$68,640

7%

Home health aide
 

$75,504

10%

Adult day care center

$24,700

6%

Assisted living facility

$64,200

5%

Semi-private room in a nursing home

$104,025

4%

Private room in a nursing home

$116,800

5%

Factors that affect the cost of long-term care insurance

  • Age and health: While some insurers offer policies to individuals up to age 79, the reality is that your odds of approval decrease as you age and develop health conditions. Purchasing a policy in your late 40s or mid-50s can also help you secure a lower rate.
  • Gender: Statistics reveal women tend to outlive men by about five years, on average. This means women have a higher likelihood of requiring extended care in their later years. Because of this, they also pay more than men for long-term care insurance.
  • Marital status: Most insurers offer couples discounts and shared benefits to spouses who purchase long-term care insurance together.
  • Insurance company: Since insurers assess risk differently, premiums for similar LTC insurance policies can vary considerably between companies. Discounts, optional riders and other perks also vary by company.
  • Elimination period: LTC insurance policies typically have a waiting or elimination period, the time between when care is needed and when benefits start. Choosing a shorter elimination period means faster benefit payouts but usually higher premiums.
  • Benefit amount: Your policy's benefit amount is the most your plan will pay toward your long-term care expenses. The higher your policy's maximum benefit, the higher your premium.
  • Optional add-ons: Optional add-ons or riders can significantly increase the cost of your policy. However, benefits like inflation protection may be highly beneficial if you want your benefit to keep up with the rising costs of care.

Types of long-term care insurance

There are two main kinds of LTC insurance policies: stand-alone and hybrid. Understanding the differences between these policies can help you make the right decisions for you and your loved ones.

Traditional long-term care insurance policies

Traditional LTC insurance policies, also called stand-alone policies, offer a predetermined benefit amount paid out daily, weekly or monthly over a benefit period (usually two to five years). Benefits kick in after an elimination period, which can range from 0 to 365 days depending on the plan.

The following companies offer stand-alone long-term care policies:

  • Northwestern Mutual Life
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • New York Life
  • National Guardian Life
  • Bankers Life
  • Thrivent
  • Thrivent for Lutherans

Hybrid long-term care insurance policies

Hybrid long-term care policies, also known as linked-benefit policies, typically combine two types of coverage: a life insurance policy or a qualifying annuity and a long-term care rider.

The advantages of a hybrid or linked-benefit policy include:

  • A guaranteed death benefit amount that goes to your beneficiaries, regardless of whether you use long-term care benefits.
  • Premium payments that are guaranteed to remain the same over the life of the policy.
  • Potentially less stringent underwriting and lower pricing for women (a medical exam is still required, though).
  • Surrender clauses that let you access the cash value the policy has accumulated over time.
  • The possibility of being refunded a portion of the premiums you paid — if you purchased a return of premium rider.

The main problems with hybrid long-term care insurance policies are their high cost and the fact that you may not need life insurance coverage at all.

According to Slome, "a traditional long-term care insurance policy is going to get you the most financial bang for your buck because it only does one thing. People like the concept [of the hybrid policy] because they're told they get a death benefit if they don't use the policy. You have to ask yourself if you want or need a death benefit in 15 to 20 years, because you're not getting it for free."

Ultimately, whether you opt for a stand-alone policy or a hybrid one depends on your goals. An insurance agent can help you choose the best life insurance option for your long-term care needs.

Pros and cons of long-term care insurance

Pros
  • Protect your assets and savings against the high costs of long-term care
  • Most policies allow for flexibility in care options
  • Provide peace of mind knowing you'll be cared for later in life
Cons
  • Premiums are generally high
  • Some policies have "use it or lose it" benefits
  • All policies have exclusions and limitations

How to choose the best long-term care insurance

The best long-term care insurance policy for you will depend on your needs and priorities. Before beginning your search, ensure your preferences are well-defined and communicate your concerns and wishes with loved ones.

Once you've defined your needs, shop around and compare policies from at least three insurance companies to get the best price for the coverage you want.

When comparing policies, consider the following:

  • Coverage amount: Most long-term care insurance policies set daily and lifetime benefit maximums. Assess your needs based on the care you anticipate requiring. Higher coverage means a higher premium.
  • Benefit triggers: Each policy outlines the conditions that must be met before benefits begin. Typically, a medical professional must certify that the insured can't perform two or three activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Benefit period: The benefit period determines how long your policy pays out. It can vary from two years to a lifetime. Opting for a longer period raises your premium.
  • Covered care settings: Check your coverage details to see whether the benefit amount is the same regardless of care setting. The III states some policies may pay out half as much per day if the policyholder elects in-home care.
  • Waiting or elimination period: The waiting period determines when your policy starts paying benefits. Longer waits mean higher out-of-pocket costs, but shorter waits usually mean higher premiums.
  • Reimbursement or indemnity model: Both policies offer perks. With an indemnity policy, you can use leftover funds as you wish if care costs are lower than your maximum benefit. With a reimbursement policy, you can extend the benefit period if you spend less than the monthly benefit amount and ensure the funds are used for your care.
  • Inflation growth option: Inflation protection riders allow your benefit to compound at a fixed percentage year-over-year to keep up with rising costs of care. Adding this and other riders to your policy will increase its cost.

More About Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance FAQs

How much does long-term care insurance cost?

chevron-down
chevron-up
According to 2024 cost averages, a $165,000 level-benefit policy would cost between $950 and $2,700 per year. However, the actual cost of long-term care insurance will depend on several factors, including the policyholder's sex, their age and health when they purchased the policy, the daily benefit amount, the length of the benefit period and any optional benefits selected.

What are alternatives to long-term care insurance?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Some alternatives to long-term care insurance include self-insuring (investing early on or setting money aside to cover care expenses on your own), using a health savings account (HSA) to pay for related medical expenses, spending down your income or assets to qualify for Medicaid, or purchasing an annuity with long-term care benefits. Speak with a financial advisor to see which of these is right for you.

When should you buy long-term care insurance?

chevron-down
chevron-up
The AALTCI recommends applying for long-term care insurance coverage in your mid-50s to improve your chances of qualifying for a policy and securing a good rate. As you age, you are less likely to qualify for health discounts and your policy application is more likely to get turned down.

What disqualifies you from long-term care insurance?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Certain pre-existing conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease or kidney failure, can disqualify you from long-term care insurance coverage. Relying on mobility aids or needing assistance with daily activities such as bathing or toileting can also affect your eligibility. Lastly, qualifying for coverage and securing an affordable premium becomes increasingly challenging as you age, so look into purchasing coverage in your mid-50s to early 60s.

What are long-term care insurance state partnership plans?

chevron-down
chevron-up
The Long Term Care Partnership Program — available in California, Connecticut, Indiana and New York — safeguards assets, sparing policyholders from depleting savings to qualify for Medicare. Normally, exceeding Medicaid's income and asset limits demands that you spend down your assets to qualify for coverage. However, partnership-qualified policies protect assets dollar-for-dollar, offsetting the spend-down requirement.

Who needs long-term care insurance?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Long-term care insurance is recommended for middle-income individuals who lack sufficient savings to self-insure but don't qualify for Medicaid. Those able to afford monthly premiums can safeguard retirement income from potential long-term care expenses with this policy.

How We Chose The Best Long-term Care Insurance Companies

To find the best long-term care (LTC) insurance companies in the industry, we extensively researched LTC products and their features, benefits and costs. With a clear understanding of the different types of policies available, we evaluated insurers based on the following criteria.


Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction scores provide valuable insight into how clients perceive a company's services. To gouge customer satisfaction, we leveraged the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. Except for Golden Care, a broker representing multiple carriers, all our top picks boast above-average customer satisfaction ratings, as per J.D. Power's latest report.

Financial strength

In the U.S., insurance guaranty associations safeguard policyholders in case of insurer insolvency, managing claims and transferring policies to stable carriers. Despite this, policyholders may face payout delays and administrative issues if their insurer fails. We selected carriers with strong financial ratings from agencies like A.M. Best, Moody's and S&P, ensuring their ability to meet future payment obligations.

Consumer complaints

We also took into account long-term care insurance complaint data as collected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), specifically Company Complaint Index. We did this to ensure our top picks didn't significantly exceed market averages, as that can signal issues with service quality, underwriting, claims processes or sales and marketing practices.

Coverage options and benefits

There are three long-term care insurance options available to consumers:

  • Stand-alone LTC insurance
  • Hybrid policies that combine life insurance with LTC benefits
  • LTC insurance riders that can be added to select life insurance products

It's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison of long-term care insurance products, as each of these options have unique features and benefits. Instead, we focused on choosing providers that offer several policy options, highly customizable plans or exclusive benefits.

Flexibility and customizability

Long-term care insurance policies aren't one-size-fits-all products, so customizability is key. We selected companies offering multiple elimination and benefit period options, along with flexible premium and benefit usage terms. Many of our top picks also waive the elimination period for specific types of care or offer nonforfeiture benefits, ensuring partial benefits or refunds after a coverage lapse.

Cost savings and inflation protection

We prioritized policy features that protect against future increases in care costs, such as inflation protection. This option increases benefits annually to counter rising expenses. All of our top picks offer inflation protection as well benefits like dividend payments, couples' discounts, guaranteed premiums and return of premium options.

Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index Data

When vetting companies, we consulted the latest Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index Data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTC) to understand cost trends within the industry. We also sought insights from experts like Jesse Slome, Director of AALTCI, to identify key features for consumers considering long-term care coverage.


Summary of Money’s Best Long-term Care Insurance of May 2024