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How does long-term care insurance work?

En español | Most people buy long-term care policies through an insurance agent or broker. Some employers, professional or service organizations you belong to might offer discounted or group rates to members.
Policies cost less if purchased when you're younger and in good health. If you're older or have a serious health condition, you may not be able to get coverage — and if you do, you may have to spend considerably more.

Some insurance companies require services be provided by a certified home care agency or a licensed professional, while others allow you to hire independent or non-licensed providers or family members.
Buy a policy that covers the types of facilities, programs and services you'll want and that are available where you live.

Long-term care policies can pay different amounts for different services (such as $50 a day for home care and $100 a day for nursing home care), or they may pay one rate for any service. Most policies have some type of dollar limit to the amount of benefits you can receive. Companies often look to your inability to perform certain “activities of daily living” to figure out when you can start to receive benefits.

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