Long-Term Care Insurance for Couples
Most long-term care insurance companies not only offer additional discounts for couples as described below, but they also offer additional benefits/riders for couples. To meet the criteria for "couples" in long-term care insurance companies terminology, these can be usually be defined as:
- Partners who live together for usually at least three years (same sex or opposite); or,
- Two people of the same generation living together and sharing the same expenses for at least three years (sibling, cousin, etc.)
As previously noted throughout the website you may have already read about some of these benefits, here we will go more into detail.
Shared care enables you to maximize the value of your coverage by combining two individual policies. This will allow you to access your partner's benefits when you have exhausted your benefits or vice versa. Here's an example, you and your partner each have a 4 year benefit and you start receiving your benefits and then after 4 years you have used up all of your long-term care insurance benefits and you still need care. You will then be able to use your partner's LTC benefits, all or some of them. Your partner will have the remaining benefits that you don't use for him/her if they need care.
Typically when one partner dies the surviving partner's benefits will be increased by the deceased partner's remaining benefits. For example, if you both have a 4 year long benefit period and your partner received care for 2 years and then passes away, your long-term care insurance benefit period will be 6 years. In addition, premiums are usually reduced by the shared care benefit rider.
The shared care benefit rider typically costs about an additional 15% on a long-term care insurance policy, but this is typically cheaper than buying two separate policies with a longer benefit period and chances are that one of you will need long-term care services.
Some companies have shared care in the form of one policy instead of two, in other words, there is automatically just one pool of money for the two of you to use however is needed.
Joint/Dual Waiver or Premium
Premiums will be waived for both partners even if only one partner is on claim. For example, you start receiving your long-term care insurance benefits and automatically you are no longer required to pay your premiums, with this rider your partner's premiums will also be waiver. The joint waiver of premium is typically an additional cost, however some companies that provide shared care in the form of one policy, this rider is already included with the shared care benefit.
If one partner dies the surviving partner will not be required to pay premiums. Most long-term care insurance companies require the policies to be in force for a minimum period of 10 years before this rider would become effective. The survivorship benefit is typically an additional cost, however some companies that provide shared care in the form of one policy, this rider is already included with the shared care benefit.
Discounts for Couples
Most, if not all long-term care insurance companies offer a discount to married couples who purchase their long-term care insurance policy at the same time. There are other common discounts available to other than married couples that a majority of companies also offer, they are:
- Couples Discount, for couples both applying and approved - Usually 15-40%
- Couples Discount, for couples where only one applies or is approved - Usually 15-25%
- Residential Discount, two people living together and both apply and approved - Usually 15-40%