Long-term care insurance can ease the burdens of aging by covering the cost of services-such as nursing home or in-home daily living care-not typically covered under Medicare and other health insurance plans. While this coverage can be expensive, there are multiple options to consider, and long-term care partnership programs in many states, including West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), and Ohio (OH), seek to make long-term coverage more affordable and attractive to wider groups of people.
This blog is the second in a series of six. The first blog of the series presented a general overview of how to pay for long-term care in WV, KY, and OH . This piece will focus on tristate and WV long-term care insurance policies and the place for that coverage in an overall estate plan.
Long-Term Care Partnership Policies and Other Insurance Choices for WV, KY, and OH
Several forms of long-term care insurance are available in WV, KY, and OH. An elder law and estate planning attorney who is familiar with state and federal laws can help you evaluate which, if any, of these types of insurance coverage are right for you, and how to incorporate the insurance into your overall estate plan.
How to Pay for Long-Term Care in WV, KY, and OH: Traditional and Hybrid Insurance Policies
Traditional long-term care insurance policies in WV, KY, and OH are similar to general health care insurance policies. Coverage selections and rates for these policies vary, as is the case with your typical health insurance, but these policies can be much more expensive.
Hybrid life and long-term insurance policies allow policy owners to use funds from the death benefit of their life insurance policy, if needed, for long-term care. If the policy owner does not require long-term care, the beneficiaries of the policy receive the full benefit amount upon the policyholder's death. These policies offer a reduction of the risk that your money will be spent unnecessarily, but they typically come with a significantly higher premium than traditional long-term policies.
If you are considering any form of long-term health insurance, it's better to act sooner than later. Rates on long-term care policies can rise drastically within a relatively short timeframe, and the current health of the policyholder is also a factor.
What Is the Long-Term Care Partnership Program?
The long-term care partnership program was created in the 1980s by the federal government and the option for state programs was expanded nationwide by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). The goal of the program is to encourage people to purchase long-term care insurance and decrease the growing burden on Medicaid.
To qualify for Medicaid coverage for long-term care, applicants must meet strict income and asset requirements and must spend down assets above a designated threshold. This can have devastating impacts on family members still living in the home and on the estate of someone in need of care.
Along with people in other states with these programs, individuals who purchase qualified long-term health insurance policies in WV, KY, and OH can reduce the assets that are considered for Medicaid eligibility. These policies also allow holders to increase the asset spend down threshold by the amount that was paid out to them by the qualified policy.
Long-Term Care Partnership Programs in WV, KY, and OH
Qualifying WV long-term care insurance policies are governed by the WV Long-Term Care Insurance Act, which also contains regulations intended to protect buyers of long-term insurance from unfair practices. Kentucky and Ohio have also passed legislation that allows residents to benefit from the federal long-term care insurance partnership program.
Consider Consulting an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney to Plan for Your Long-Term Care Needs
If you are trying to determine how to pay for long-term care in WV, KY, or OH, an elder law and estate planning attorney can work with you and your financial advisor to address your needs. Long-term care insurance policies in WV, KY, or OH might be a good fit for you, or there might be alternatives that better suit your specific situation.
Medicaid is one of the solutions that is often incorporated into a long-term care plan, and that topic is the subject of the next blog in this series.
If you have questions about long-term care partnership insurance policies or other related issues, Anna M. Price of Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC is happy to help. Call our office at (304) 523-2100 in WV or toll-free at (866) 617-4736, or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.