Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance for My Parents?

Vol. 16 No. 8


Frederick W. Leonard cofounded LTCR in 1998. Prior to founding LTCR, Mr. Leonard held senior management positions at AMEX Life Assurance Company/GE Capital Assurance. As Assistant to the President for AMEX Life, Mr. Leonard was part of the senior management team that helped pioneer the development of LTC insurance.


For many of us, our parents raised us, educated us, and cheered us on through the thick and thin of our childhood. Now as they are getting older, and we are getting wiser, is there something we should do for them as time marches on?

Many of us have heard about, and possibly even worried about, getting caught in the sandwich generation, where we are raising our own families and suddenly find that we also need to start caring for our parents who age and can no longer manage on their own. Whether it is a sudden fall or injury or a degenerative disease, when parents need care, it is a time of worry, stress, and sometimes financial hardship for their children.

One solution to help with this problem is long-term care insurance, which can pay for the day-to-day care of individuals who can no longer care for themselves. Long-term care insurance can also help parents and children identify care options and caregivers, and can locate funding for home health care, nursing home care, or other types of care that an aging parent might need.

If long-term care insurance seems like a logical part of your parents’ retirement plans and something that would give you peace of mind, can you purchase long-term care insurance for them? Yes, you can. In fact, potential caregivers (usually children of aging parents) often buy long-term care insurance to help prepare for the future. The insurance helps both parents and children when the time comes for finding and funding the care that is needed.

If you do consider buying long-term care insurance for your parents, know that you are buying it in their name and not yours. They must be on board with the decision; they will sign the application and agree to have their medical history reviewed to ensure they meet the health eligibility requirements.

As health plays a major factor in the long-term care application process, it is very important that you buy the coverage while your parents are in good health. Do not wait until a health issue arises so that insurance is no longer an option, and then you may be forced to act as a caregiver and fund nursing home care or in-home nursing assistance. (Also, if one parent is healthy and the other is not, it can be very important to “lock in” coverage for the parent who is still healthy and eligible.)

It is important for you, together with your parents, to become educated about long-term care insurance options. There are multiple carriers and product options, special discounts, and service for life. There are several types of plans available from many different carriers. Some offer special discounts, and it is possible to obtain service for life. Specialists are available to educate you on the plans available and discuss both the feasibility and practicality of a long-term care program for your parents.



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