What is long-term care insurance?
Long-term care insurance provides the insured with a weekly tax-free benefit in case they require assistance with any two of the six activities of daily living – namely dressing, going to the bathroom, bathing, eating, maintaining continence, and transferring (for example from a bed to a chair) – although the exact list depends on any individual policy.
The coverage is designed to ease the burden of two generations – your children, who would have to set aside extra resources to care of you, as well as you, who may otherwise be required to tap into your savings. Unlike life insurance, most long-term care plans do not usually offer a discount to non-smokers, nor do they distinguish between male and female applicants.
How to choose your long-term care insurance policy
Here’s what you should keep in mind when choosing this type of insurance policy:
1. Make sure you understand everything, including the exceptions in the policy regarding how and when you receive coverage.
2. Choose how much income you’ll need to afford your long-term care, and for what time. Your broker can help you estimate.
3. Inquire about any riders of interest to you.
4. Compare insurers’ offers.
As far as individual companies are concerned, you can buy this kind of insurance policy from the Ontario Medical Association/Sun Life Insurance, Penncorp Insurance Company, Manulife, Desjardins, RBC Insurance, and Blue Cross. We’ll quickly look at a handful of them now.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) offers a long-term Care insurance policy to clients and their family members from 21 to 80 years of age. The policy is actually underwritten by Sun Life Financial. The cost is identical to Sun Life’s. The plan has a rolling five-year premium guarantee and offers a zero-elimination period for facility care. The policy is receipt-based, and males receive cheaper premiums.
Penncorp Insurance’s One Step Long-term Care Plan pays out as soon as the client has one incapacity, including cognitive impairment, which allows the client to take advantage of the best possible coverage. This is the policy’s specialty in Canada. The One Step Long-term Care Plan by Penncorp is open to applicants from 30 to 70 years of age. However, there’s no premium guarantee on the plan’s premium.
Manulife Financial is banking on simplicity. An applicant is merely required to fill in an application form and take part in an interview – by telephone if he or she is younger than 70, and in person if he or she is over 70. If you are 71 or older, a doctor may be contacted to verify additional medical information. As a rule, Manulife hardly ever requires laboratory exams as part of their long-term care application process. The policy is not receipt-based, and it has an elimination period starting at 90 days.
At Desjardins, the rates are a little more expensive than the competition’s. You can use the funds as you wish and are not required to provide any receipts. Premiums are guaranteed for the first five years and favour males.
As you can see, the offer is pretty large, and thus it may be difficult to keep track of all products. Therefore I highly recommend collaborating with an experienced life insurance broker who’s well-versed in this area of expertise.