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What is long-term care coverage?

Long-term care (LTC) is a variety of supports and services designed to help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer do so on their own.

Long-term care coverage can help provide an additional stream of funds that can help pay for supplementary supports and services.

Long-term care isn't just a place

Many people assume long-term care takes place in a nursing home. While some does, most long-term care starts in a home-based setting. With planning, you can increase the options and flexibility if you ever need long-term care, including the funds to pay for services such as:

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Home health care:
Receive care in the comfort of your own home or the home of a family member or friend.
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Community living:
Pay for caregiving facilities such as adult day care and continuing care retirement communities for individuals who are active and able to live on their own.
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Facility care:
Fund options for assisted living or full custodial care services.
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Long-term care coverage can even help when securing services such as Meals on Wheels, high-end concierge care, your own personal care plan or even care options that are yet to be developed. When choosing care, it’s important to decide the type and location that suit your situation best.

Why you might need long-term care coverage

The longer we live, the higher the likelihood we will need some additional help with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating and transferring (out of or into a chair or bed). Cognitive decline, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, is another reason people might need long-term care and a way to pay for it.

Keep in mind:

  • Health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care expenses 
  • Medicare will cover some long-term care costs, but only up to 100 days (after a 3-consecutive-day stay in a hospital under treatment) 
  • Medicaid will cover long-term care expenses for individuals with assets of $2,000 or less (countable assets according to Medicaid regulations; varies by state) and covered care could be limited to a nursing home 
  • Paying for care out of pocket might not be practical or cost-efficient for many people

What can long-term care coverage offer?

Long-term care coverage can provide you and your family members with a source of funds to pay for the services you might need if you can’t fully take care of yourself.

With long-term care coverage, you may also be able to pay friends or family members for the informal care they might provide or for home-based services. This can help you stay in a home-based setting longer.

80 percent

of people say they'd prefer to receive home-based care.1

Types of long-term care coverage

There are multiple ways you can insure for long-term care needs. Some options are less expensive than others but may offer fewer guarantees. You should work with a financial professional to determine which is right for you and how much coverage you should purchase.

Stand-along LTC insurance LTC riders on life insurance policies Linked-benefit LTC policies
Offers only LTC coverage Life insurance is typically the primary need while LTC coverage is secondary LTC coverage is typically the primary need, but these policies may also provide a death benefit
Premiums and LTC benefits can be changed by the insurer Premiums can change based on the type of insurance; some policies may be guaranteed Premiums and benefits are guaranteed
“Use it or lose it”: premiums must be paid even if LTC is never needed If LTC isn’t used, a death benefit is paid to beneficiaries If LTC isn’t used, a death benefit is paid to beneficiaries; a small death benefit may also be provided even if 100% of the LTC benefit is paid out
May offer the option to purchase more coverage in the future The LTC benefits typically do not increase in the future Optional inflation protection can grow the LTC benefit over time
Usually a lower-priced option because it covers only LTC; premiums typically never end May have more flexible premiums based on the policy Premiums can be paid all at once or over a fixed number of years
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Linked-benefit long-term care (LTC) coverage can be used to pay for potential LTC expenses and offers a death benefit.

Our long-term care solutions

Nationwide CareMatters® provides long-term care coverage for an individual with a premium and benefits that are guaranteed. It also pays a death benefit whether or not long-term care benefits are used.

The Long-Term Care Rider provides LTC coverage when added to one of our universal life insurance policies for an additional cost. It pays the entire death benefit income-tax free if long-term care is never needed.

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Long-term care basics

Visit our interactive website to learn more.

Long-term care resources

How to buy long-term care coverage

You need to work with an insurance professional to buy this type of product. If you don't have one, our life insurance specialists are here to help.

Give us a call today at 1-855-863-9639 for a no-obligation consultation.

Schedule a call

Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

[1] “The Nationwide Retirement Institute® 2021 Long-Term Care Consumer Survey,” conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Nationwide Retirement Institute (November 2021).

Nationwide CareMatters and CareMatters Together are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.