You also select your own elimination period, which can run anywhere from zero to 100 days or more. "Increase your waiting period to decrease your premiums," Slome suggests.
Select the "shared care" option to cover more than one person: a husband and wife, two partners or two or more related adults.
Shared care establishes a third pool of money from which either covered party may draw. In one version, this pool represents the total benefit amount for both parties. In another, it creates a separate pool identical to the total benefit amount of each individual policy from which either party may draw after exhausting their own policy without affecting the total benefit amount of the other.
Most states now offer long-term care partnership plans designed to help protect your assets against a Medicaid eligibility requirement.
To qualify as a partnership plan, a policy must include inflation protection and a unique Medicaid offset: every dollar paid in benefits on your long-term care policy is a dollar of assets you are allowed to keep should you need to "spend down" your income to qualify for Medicaid.
"It benefits your spouse the most because you're not dooming them to poverty just so you can qualify for Medicaid," says Slome.
Partnership plans are optional, so look for a yes or check mark next to "partnership qualified" on policy quotes. If you move to another state that offers a partnership plan, it may or may not offer reciprocity.
Long-term care inflation protection comes in two flavors. Simple interest increases your benefit by the same dollar amount each year; compound interest throws in the benefits of compounding.
You may purchase inflation protection for the life of the policy or for a certain period, such as 10 or 20 years. It's required on partnership-qualified policies and optional on nonpartnership policies.
While inflation protection can add 25 to 40 percent to your premium, the cost of nursing home care has been rising at an annual rate of 5 percent for the past several years, according to the NAIC. Many states now require insurers to offer long-term care inflation protection. If you turn it down, you may be asked to sign a waiver to that effect.
The "cash benefit" option allows you to receive up to 35 percent of your home health care maximum monthly benefit upfront in cash to use without restriction.
There's often no elimination period involved with cash benefits. That means cash will be available from the first day you become eligible for long-term care insurance benefits.