Have You Read Your Long Term Care Policy?August 3, 2010
A majority of Americans do not have long term care insurance. If you purchased a long-term care policy, you may be sleeping soundly at night because you assume your policy will pay for all your long term care needs. Unfortunately, many owners of long term care insurance who make this assumption will eventually find it is important to read the fine print.
Have you read every line of your long term care policy or did you just read the cover letter from the insurance company and stuff the envelope full of papers into a desk drawer? Most people fully intend to read through the mounds of paper that comprise their insurance policies. But you probably have better odds of winning the lottery than finding someone who has actually read their entire policy.
If you made the commitment to purchase insurance to cover nursing home and in-home health care in the future, you know how expensive it is. Depending on your age and the amount of coverage you bought, you are probably paying at least a few thousand dollars per year in premiums. Although long term care insurance can be a wise investment, the value you receive depends entirely upon what is contained in the written documents that comprise your policy. What you think the policy provides, or what you were told it provides is not nearly as important as what the policy actually says.
The types of services and items that may not be covered by your LTC policy are too numerous to list here. The point is that every long term care policy sounds great when the insurance agent describes it. Salespeople rarely focus on the limitations and exclusions section of your policy. They also may not spend a lot of time helping you understand the specific conditions you will have to meet for benefits to be paid out under the policy.
It is up to you to discover whether you have a good policy or a bad one and whether the fine print of your long term care insurance reflects the coverage you think you purchased. Many insurance policies allow you to cancel and request a refund of premium within a few days after purchase. Read your entire policy and all related documents supplied by the insurance company as soon as possible after you receive them. If you have questions, get them answered now. For more information on what to look for when reviewing your policy, visit our page on LTC Policy Fine Print.