How the pandemic may affect long-term care insurance

If you have a long-term care insurance policy, you may wonder how it is affected by the pandemic. If you don’t have a policy, you may wonder if the pandemic will make it more difficult to get one. There are lots of uncertainties regarding COVID-19’s impact on long-term care insurance, but here is some of what we know:

Qualifying for insurance. It is already more difficult to qualify for long-term care insurance as you get older. Because older individuals are at a higher risk for coronavirus, this can also affect your application. Some insurers have been putting limits on applicants’ ages or imposing additional restrictions on applicants who have been in contact with the virus. If you had a positive COVID-19 test, you may have to wait for three to six months before qualifying for insurance. These policies vary by company.

Premiums. Insurers can’t raise rates for customers due to individual circumstances. To raise rates, insurers must obtain approval from the state and raise them for the entire group. However, if you are considered high risk due to exposure to the coronavirus, you may not qualify for the best rates when you first apply for long-term care insurance.

Moving out of a nursing home. If you have a policy and want to move out of a nursing home, you will need to check what your policy will pay for. Some policies pay for long-term care in a variety of settings, including home care, while others are more restrictive. On the plus side, you may be able to use your policy to reserve your bed, allowing you to keep your nursing home spot.

Home care. If you have a policy that was paying for home care, there may be issues. For one, some home care workers are charging more for work during the pandemic, which could exceed your policy’s coverage. For another, because of the pandemic you may want to switch receiving care from a family member, rather than an outside home health care worker. Unfortunately, most long-term care policies don’t pay for family members to provide care.

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