Cut Costs, Not Coverage: Strategies for Reducing Premiums When Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

In a previous article, I explored tax-saving strategies to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of long-term care insurance.


Continuing on this journey to make long-term care more affordable, this article shifts focus to insurance policy design and features that can further reduce costs. When it comes to long-term care insurance, understanding that “something is always better than nothing” is crucial. My goal is to empower you with knowledge, so you can make informed decisions and feel confident in your choices.


Long-term care insurance is a critical component of a comprehensive financial plan, especially for couples aged 45-60

Strategies for reducing premiums when buying long-term care insurance

who are concerned about the financial implications of aging. The prospect of committing to a lifetime of premiums can be daunting, but there are strategies to mitigate these costs without compromising on coverage. In this article, we’ll delve into the nuances of traditional and hybrid long-term care insurance policies, highlighting cost-saving features such as Shared Care riders and state partnership plans.


By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of the different options available to you and how to design a policy that balances affordability with adequate protection. Remember, the aim is not to eliminate costs entirely but to make them manageable, ensuring that you have the necessary support when you need it most. Let’s explore how you can cut costs, not coverage, and secure your future with confidence.


Strategies for Reducing Premiums in Traditional Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Traditional long-term care insurance policies are stand-alone plans specifically designed to cover the costs associated with long-term care services, such as in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care. Unlike “hybrid” policies, which combine long-term care coverage with life insurance benefits, traditional policies focus solely on the risk of needing long-term care services and do not cover other financial risks.


These policies typically require policyholders to pay premiums over an extended period, with the benefit becoming available when the policyholder can no longer perform certain activities of daily living or has a cognitive impairment.


It’s important to note that the availability of traditional long-term care insurance policies has been decreasing, as fewer insurance companies are issuing these plans due to the high likelihood of claims.


This trend underscores the importance of considering a traditional policy while it’s still an option. If you can qualify for one of these policies, it may be wise to secure coverage sooner rather than later, as they may become increasingly rare in the future.

Opting for Longer Elimination Periods

One strategy to reduce premiums is to opt for a longer elimination period. The elimination period is the time between when a policyholder becomes eligible for benefits and when the insurance company starts paying out. By choosing a longer elimination period, such as 90 or 120 days, policyholders can lower their premiums. However, it’s important to ensure that you have sufficient savings to cover any out-of-pocket expenses during this period.

Choosing a Shorter Benefit Period

Another way to reduce premiums is to choose a shorter benefit period. While lifetime coverage provides the most comprehensive protection, it also comes with the highest premiums. By selecting a benefit period of three to five years, policyholders can still cover the average duration of long-term care needs while significantly reducing their premiums.

Adjusting Daily Benefit Amounts

Policyholders can also adjust their daily benefit amounts to lower their premiums. While it’s tempting to opt for the maximum coverage, it’s essential to balance this with the reality of what you can afford. By choosing a daily benefit amount that covers a significant portion, but not all, of the expected long-term care costs, you can make your premiums more manageable.

Leveraging Shared Care Riders

For couples, leveraging shared care riders can be an effective way to reduce premiums. A shared care rider allows spouses to share their pool of benefits, providing flexibility in how they use their coverage. If one spouse exhausts their benefits, they can tap into the other’s remaining benefits. This can be a cost-effective way to ensure both spouses have adequate coverage while keeping premiums lower than if they each had separate policies.

Strategies for Reducing Premiums in "Hybrid" Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Hybrid long-term care policies have gained popularity in recent years due to their cost-effective features and flexibility. These policies combine long-term care insurance with other financial products, such as life insurance or annuities, offering a more comprehensive approach to financial planning.

Understanding the Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Model

The hybrid insurance model is designed to address multiple financial concerns in one policy. For example, a life insurance policy with a long-term care rider provides a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you pass away, but it also allows you to access a portion of that benefit for long-term care expenses if needed. This dual-purpose nature makes hybrid policies an attractive option for those looking to manage multiple risks with a single premium and as a matter of fact, is one of the pieces of the strategy I discuss in “The Secrets to Long-Term Care”

Benefits of Life Insurance with Long-Term Care Riders

One of the key advantages of life insurance with long-term care riders is the guarantee of a benefit, regardless of whether you use the long-term care portion. If you never need long-term care, your beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit. If you do need long-term care, you can access a portion of the death benefit to cover those costs, reducing the financial burden on you and your family. Additionally, the premiums for these policies are often fixed, providing predictability and stability in your financial planning.

Annuities with Long-Term Care Riders

Annuities with long-term care riders offer another hybrid solution. These products combine the income-generating features of an annuity with long-term care coverage. If you need long-term care, the policy can provide an increased payout to help cover those expenses. If you don’t need long-term care, the annuity functions as a regular income stream in retirement. This flexibility allows you to prepare for the possibility of long-term care without sacrificing your retirement income.

Leveraging State Partnership Plans and Shared Care Riders

State partnership plans and shared care riders are innovative features in long-term care insurance that can help policyholders reduce the amount of insurance needed and provide flexibility and savings, especially for couples.

Leveraging shared care and partnership plans to reduce long-term care costs

The Role of State Partnership Plans in Reducing The Amount of Insurance Needed To Protect Assets

State partnership plans are a collaboration between state governments and private insurance companies. These plans allow policyholders to protect a portion of their assets equal to the benefits received from their long-term care policy if they ever need to apply for Medicaid. For example, if a policyholder receives $200,000 in benefits from their partnership-qualified long-term care insurance policy, they can keep $200,000 in assets and still qualify for Medicaid (subject to certain conditions and state-specific rules).

This feature reduces the amount of insurance needed to protect assets, as policyholders can rely on Medicaid as a safety net once their policy benefits are exhausted. It’s a strategic way to plan for long-term care needs without over-insuring and can lead to significant cost savings.

How Shared Care Riders Can Provide Flexibility and Savings for Couples

Shared care riders are an excellent option for couples who want to maximize their long-term care coverage while keeping costs down. This rider allows couples to share a pool of benefits, meaning if one partner exhausts their individual policy benefits, they can access the unused benefits of their spouse’s policy.

For example, if each partner has a policy with a three-year benefit period, but one partner only uses two years of their benefits, the other partner can use the remaining year, giving them a total of four years of coverage. This provides flexibility in how the benefits are used and can result in significant savings compared to purchasing two separate policies with longer benefit periods.

How Shared Care Riders Can Provide Flexibility and Savings for Couples

LTC Partnership Plans

ohn and Mary’s Partnership Plan: John and Mary purchased a partnership-qualified long-term care policy with a benefit pool of $300,000 each. John needed long-term care services and used $250,000 of his benefits. When he applied for Medicaid, he was able to keep an additional $250,000 in assets, thanks to the partnership plan, reducing the financial strain on Mary.

LTC Shared Care Plans

Tom and Linda opted for a shared care rider with their long-term care policies, each with a three-year benefit period. Tom developed a condition requiring four years of care. After using his three-year benefit, he accessed one year of Linda’s unused benefits, ensuring continuous coverage without the need for additional insurance.

Practical Tips for Buying Long-Term Care Insurance and Cutting Costs to Help Make Coverage Affordable

As I mentioned earlier, having something is better than nothing. You may want the Bentley, but the Honda will get you where you need to be too. The same is true with Long-term care insurance. By looking at your overall financial picture and determining all your financial dreams, you can get what you need.

Here are some other tips to help make sure you can get the coverage you need and not spend money on luxurys you many want but can allocate those costs towards other parts of your financial life.

Assessing Your Long-Term Care Needs

To assess your potential long-term care needs, consider factors such as your family health history, lifestyle, and personal preferences for care. Though you are different than anyone else in your family, this will help you determine the type and amount of coverage that’s right for you. Remember, it’s better to have some coverage than none at all, so even if you can’t afford a comprehensive policy, consider a more affordable option that still provides a basic level of protection.

Work WIth An Insurance Broker

Most people thing that an insurance agent is the same as an insurance broker, but that isn’t true. Insurance brokers represent YOU, the customer while agents represent the insurance company.

By hiring a broker, they aren’t employees of an insurance company and will shop around to find you the right coverage, from the best company at the best rate. This can save you both time and money as you shop for long-term care insurance coverage.

When it comes to buying long-term care insurance, it pays to shop around. Premiums can vary significantly between insurers, so getting quotes from multiple companies is essential. Be sure to compare not only the costs but also the benefits and features of each policy. Look for options like shared care riders or partnership plans that can help reduce premiums while still providing valuable coverage.


Buying long-term care insurance requires careful consideration and planning. By understanding the cost-effective features of hybrid policies, leveraging state partnership plans and shared care riders, and following practical tips like assessing your needs, shopping around for the best rates, and working with an experienced advisor, you can find a policy that provides the coverage you need at a price you can afford. 


Remember, the goal is not to eliminate costs entirely but to make them manageable, ensuring that you have the necessary support when you need it most.


As you navigate the process of buying long-term care insurance, keep in mind the strategies outlined in this article. By taking a proactive approach and making informed decisions, you can secure affordable coverage that gives you peace of mind and financial security in your later years. 


Don’t wait until it’s too late—take action today to protect your future and the well-being of your loved ones.

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