Long Term Care Insurance: California Style

Long term care insurance in California is a different animal. California state law generally requires more than other states when it comes to long term care insurance. If you live in California, you’re probably not shocked by that statement.

Long term care policies in California are labeled according to where the care will be taking place, so consumers should check the language of the policy to make certain that they are buying the correct coverage. For example, a “comprehensive” policy pays benefits for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care, and adult day care centers. A “home care only” policy only pays for care received in the home, while a “nursing home and residential care facility only” policy only provides for benefits for those types of facilities.

There are also “partnership” policies – where the state of California has partnered with insurance companies. See our article on Partnership for Long Term Care Programs – What Are They?

Consumer friendly

Long term care policies in California are generally more “consumer friendly” than in other states. Consumers have a wider variety of protections and greater access to Internet resources. For example:

  • California consumers can request that their policy benefits be reduced so that they can afford to pay their premiums and do not have to wait until their policy rates increase to do this.
  • California insurance agents must give policyholders a personal worksheet that informs them of whether the insurance company has increased rates, not just in California, but anywhere in the United States, since 1990.
  • California consumers can also see rate increases for companies that have sold long term care policies in California at the state’s Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov/.

Additional resources

Premiums. While premium costs vary depending upon the type of policy purchased, the California Department of Insurance website provides helpful information for consumers about the approximate cost of a long term care policy based upon factors such as age and type of benefits received. See their website (www.insurance.ca.gov/)for additional information.

Financing. A discussion of long term care options, including options for financing long term care insurance, is provided by www.calmedicare.org.

Miscellaneous. The California Department of Insurance provides many other helpful links relating to long term care insurance and long term care issues (Medicare, reverse mortgages, etc.) at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0100-consumers/0250-seniors-issues/#LTC.