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Senior Health Insurance Information Program

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A major concern of many seniors and their families is how to cover the cost of long-term care and whether long-term care insurance is a smart investment. The following explains the plans that are available and whether getting coverage is The Right Call for you.

What is long-term care insurance?

Long-term care is not covered by Medicare so some individuals purchase long-term care insurance to help pay for the cost of care, should they need it. The first step is determining if this insurance is appropriate for your situation. If it is, shop around. No two policies are the same and several factors affect your cost and coverage – health status, risk factors, finances, preferences, age and family status. Use the questions in the “Iowa Guide to Long-term Care Insurance”, that you can see on the left side of this page, to help you evaluate policies. SHIIP counselors also can help you review policies and be sure you have all the information you need to understand and choose coverage.

I want to buy long-term care insurance. How do I know if the company I’m considering is “good”?

SHIIP (800-351-4664) can tell you if a company is licensed to sell long-term care insurance in Iowa. Licensing does not mean a company or policy is “good” or “bad”. It means the company meets the minimum requirements of the law. Insurance rating services rate the financial stability of an insurance company. This is important information because you want a company that will be around when you need to collect benefits from a policy, possibly many years into the future. SHIIP has a fact sheet, “Understanding the Financial Stability Ratings of Insurance Companies” (see "Resources" on the left side of this page). It explains what ratings are and how to contact the rating services where you can get the latest ratings.

Your local library may also have internet access to rating services that can provide the information you need. Insurance agents can also provide you with a company’s most recent rating.

Remember, these services do not rate insurance policies or plans. They rate the financial stability of an insurance company. There is no resource that “rates” all insurance plans sold in the state. SHIIP counselors can help you understand and compare plans, but will not make recommendations.

Last Updated: 02/19/2016 (JLR)

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