Nationwide is a good option for flexibility, and Mutual of Omaha is the best for local agents. You can buy a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy or add long-term care coverage onto a life insurance policy. Either way, having coverage can help you and your family avoid high costs if you need long-term care later in life.
Best long-term care insurance companies
New York Life, Nationwide and Mutual of Omaha are the best long-term care insurance companies.
Seven out of 10 adults age 65 will need long-term care, according to the Administration on Aging. Nursing home care can cost around $100,000 per year. Costs can be even higher if you need specialty care. Long-term care insurance can help you pay for the high costs associated with nursing home, assisted living or in-home care.
To find the best long-term care insurance companies, we first compared stand-alone long-term care insurance to life insurance with long-term care add-on coverage. Long-term care insurance can be complex, so companies that offered flexible benefits, multiple products and local agents were ranked more highly. Each company's financial stability according to AM Best, complaint index from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and rating from Better Business Bureau (BBB) were also taken into consideration.
New York Life: Best overall
AM BestA++ ?
NAIC complaint index0.22 ?
Better Business BureauB-
Pros and cons
New York Life sells the best long-term care insurance since it sells both stand-alone policies and LTC coverage on life insurance policies.
New York Life is one of the best life insurance companies because of its customizable policies, customer satisfaction and high financial stability.
New York Life offers two kinds of stand-alone long-term care policies: My Care and Secure Care. The daily benefit amounts range from $50 to $400. You also have the flexibility to customize your waiting period. You can choose a waiting period of 90 days, six months or one year. For in-home care, the waiting period is just 20 service days. You can only buy long-term care insurance from New York Life up until age 80. If you and a spouse are approved for coverage, you'll both get a 25% discount.
If a stand-alone long-term care policy isn't for you, you can buy a specialized universal life insurance policy with long-term care coverage called Asset Flex. Your rate is guaranteed to never increase. And you can even get your money back if you never need the long-term care coverage, as long as you meet certain requirements.
With traditional long-term care insurance, it's possible to pay for decades before you use the benefits. And you might never need long-term care, which means you might pay tens of thousands of dollars for a policy that you never use. Instead of billing you monthly, Asset Flex policies have a one-time fee. Rates start at $10,000. This might seem high, but it's a one-time payment, so it could be cheaper over time than a standard long-term care policy. You can sign up for a payment plan to pay the policy cost in installments. Asset Flex could be a good option if you aren't sure that you'll need long-term care but still want peace of mind that you have coverage just in case.
Nationwide: Best for flexibility
Editor ratingNot rated ?
AM BestA+ ?
NAIC complaint index0.10 ?
Better Business BureauA+
Pros and cons
Nationwide offers three different ways to get long-term care coverage: CareMatters, CareMatters Together, and a long-term care add-on for universal or variable life insurance policies. CareMatters and CareMatters Together are attached to a universal life insurance policy. This means you'll have coverage for your long-term care and your loved ones will receive a life insurance payout when you pass away.
With Nationwide CareMatters and CareMatters Together, you won't have limitations on how you spend your long-term care insurance payouts.
Nationwide even guarantees that your beneficiaries will get at least a 20% death benefit, regardless of how much of the long-term care benefits you've used. The long-term care benefits come out of your total life insurance amount. Without the guarantee of a death benefit, it's possible to use all of the life insurance amount for your long-term care. That would mean your beneficiaries don't get a payout when you pass away.
CareMatters and CareMatters Together are essentially the same, but CareMatters Together allows you to cover two people. A couple could purchase just one plan and both be covered.
CareMatters and CareMatters Together also have flexibility that other long-term care coverage doesn't.
- You can use the money to pay unlicensed caregivers, like friends, family members and neighbors.
- If you don't use the entire monthly payout for care expenses, you can use it for other costs or save it for the future.
- Once you qualify, you don't have to submit receipts or bills each month.
Nationwide also allows you to add long-term care coverage to its universal and variable life insurance products, although there might be more stipulations on how the money is used.
Mutual of Omaha: Best for local advice
AM BestA+ ?
NAIC complaint index0.48 ?
Better Business BureauA+
Pros and cons
Mutual of Omaha has the best long-term care insurance if you prefer to work with a local agent.
Mutual of Omaha is one of the few companies that offers stand-alone long-term care insurance policies. There are two basic offerings: Mutual Care Solutions and Mutual Care Plus. Each plan has several options to choose from. You work with a Mutual of Omaha agent to customize a policy that fits your needs.
For example, Mutual Care Plus can be broken into Mutual Care 3, Mutual Care 5 and Mutual Care My Way, all of which have different benefits and waiting periods. Mutual Care My Way is the most flexible and offers the most coverage. An agent will also help you choose the best coverage for your circumstances.
Maximum monthly benefit
|Mutual Care Solutions||2, 3, 4 or 5 years||$10,000|
|Mutual Care Plus||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 years or lifetime||$15,000|
Rather than a daily benefit amount, Mutual of Omaha structures its policies with a monthly benefit. That way, if your daily care changes throughout the month, you don't risk letting benefits go unused.
Mutual of Omaha lets you customize your long-term care policy with several add-ons.
- Home health care: This gives you coverage for home-based long-term care.
- Inflation protection: This coverage increases your benefits by a percentage you choose each year. Inflation means your benefits won't go as far because long-term care will cost more. Having an inflation guard on your policy helps shield your benefits from higher costs.
- Shared care: If you've reached the end of your benefits, this option lets you use some of the benefits on your partner's insurance. You and your partner have to have identical policies to qualify.
- Security benefit: This coverage gives you an added monthly benefit that you can use for your partner's care or living costs.
- Return of premium: If you don't use your benefits or you only use some of them, this option refunds you a portion of the monthly rate you paid into the policy.
Depending on the plan you buy, you can choose different waiting periods. With the Mutual Care My Way option, you can choose between 30, 60, 90 and 180 days. You might also be able to buy a policy without a waiting period, which means your long-term care coverage would pay for your care from the first day you need it. There's also a one-year waiting period option, which means you would have to pay for your long-term care for an entire year before your policy would start paying.
The shorter your waiting period, the faster your long-term care insurance will start to pay for your living costs. You'll pay more each month for a shorter waiting period, but you won't have to pay for as much of your long-term care costs as you would otherwise.
Find Cheap Life Insurance with an LTC Rider in Your Area
What is long-term care insurance?
Long-term care insurance gives you coverage for services and programs that can help you with daily life tasks. You'll usually have coverage for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in-home care, adult day care and memory care homes.
You're typically eligible for long-term care when you can't perform two or more "activities of daily living" (ADLs) without help. These activities include:
- Bathing or showering
- Getting in and out of bed or a chair
- Using the restroom
Alternatives to long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance can be expensive. There's also no guarantee that you'll need long-term care. But with the cost of long-term care being so high, it's a good idea to have some kind of plan in place in case you do need assistance.
- State programs: Because long-term care is so expensive, many states offer programs to help eligible residents pay for nursing homes or other facilities. Check the programs in your state to know what options you have.
- Medicaid: Medicaid might help offset the cost of a nursing home. Not all nursing homes accept Medicaid as payment, though, so be sure to research facilities first. To qualify for Medicaid, you usually have to meet certain low-income requirements.
- Savings: If you have the ability to save for long-term care, you could pay for it yourself. Nursing homes are expensive, though. Costs can easily reach $100,000 or more per year. To maximize how far your savings will go, you could start putting away money well ahead of when you'll need long-term care.
Frequently asked questions
How much does LTC insurance cost?
Long-term care insurance costs between $79 and $600 per month, on average, for a 55-year-old man with $165,000 in total benefits. The cost for coverage will vary based on your age, gender, health, how much coverage you buy and the waiting period you choose.
Is long-term care insurance worth it?
Long-term care insurance can be worth it, but there's no guarantee. Policies are expensive, and you might never need long-term care or only need it for a short period of time. You might consider life insurance with an add-on for long-term care. That way, you get more from the policy than just LTC coverage.
What does long-term care insurance cover?
Long-term care insurance covers services and housing that help you with the tasks of daily living. This usually includes nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care and in-home health care. Long-term care insurance usually pays you a daily amount for your care, and you might still have to pay for some of the costs yourself.
Does long-term care insurance cover assisted living?
Yes, long-term care insurance usually covers assisted living. Health insurance and Medicare won't pay for assisted living. Every long-term care plan is unique, though, so be sure to read the specifics of how your policy works.
Methodology and sources
The best long-term care insurance companies were chosen based on the kinds of long-term care coverage sold, the flexibility of benefits and the availability of local agents. Third-party ratings were used to determine a company's financial strength and level of service.
Sources for this article include: