Think You Have Long-Term Care at Work? Probably Not.

Do you have coverage for long-term care at work? Probably not. Generally, people think long-term care disability is the same as long-term care. It is not. Know some of the misconceptions before you start planning.

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Think You Have Long-Term Care at Work? Probably Not.
6 Min Read January 22nd, 2019 Updated:October 21st, 2023

As the years go by, you might notice a shift in the nature of your workplace conversations. Discussions revolve around the newest ache and pain you have, the physical toll of aging, the health challenges your parents are facing, and the intricate maze of retirement 



Discussions about retirement often turn to the daunting topic of managing the substantial costs and consequences associated with long-term care services. While it's not the most enjoyable subject to contemplate, for those in the Generation X or Late Boomer categories, it's likely a relevant and personal issue as they navigate the aging challenges their parents face. 


It's a rare occurrence for someone between 45 and 65 years of age to lack a personal connection to the realities of long-term care, whether through family, neighbors, friends, or colleagues.


If you're like the majority, the idea of requiring assistance for daily tasks or living in assisted living, memory care, or a nursing facility might not be the most attractive thought. However, with the rise in life expectancy, a growing segment of the American population is realizing the need for help with day-to-day activities. Furthermore, as we age, there's an increased likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline, making the need for targeted, supervisory care all the more essential. 


Avoid Misperceptions


Protecting your financial assets (401k, IRA, and other savings) from the extensive costs associated with long-term care is often best achieved through Long-Term Care Insurance. 



Many individuals mistakenly believe their workplace benefits cover this need, but this is rarely true. Regrettably, numerous misconceptions deter individuals from safeguarding their retirement savings, leaving them vulnerable to the financial strain and stress accompanying a long-term care event.


  • "I have long-term care insurance at work." – The chances of you having Long-Term Care Insurance through your employer are slim, as it is a benefit seldom provided by companies. Even in cases where it is offered, employers typically do not contribute to the premium, potentially making it costlier than individual plans available on the open market. A common point of confusion exacerbating this issue is the mix-up between Long-Term Care Insurance and Long-Term Disability Insurance, which are distinct types of coverage serving different needs.


Long-Term Disability insurance is designed to substitute a portion of your income if a disability prevents you from working. However, it does not contribute any funds toward your care needs. Typically, employers offer short-term disability benefits, ensuring up to three to six months of income if you find yourself unable to work. Following the exhaustion of short-term benefits, a Long-Term Disability policy may come into effect, potentially covering up to 60% of your income until your return to work or you reach the age of 65. 


Though many employers extend this as a benefit, the employee often bears the cost. Importantly, this policy type is non-portable and does not address the need for long-term care services, underlining its limitations as a comprehensive solution.


Long-Term Care Insurance pays nothing toward income. It pays for the costs of extended care. This would include home health aides, nurses, physical and speech therapy, adult day care, assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care. These policies you own and have nothing to do with your age or whether you are employed or retired. In-home care services are not cheap, and neither is assisted living. Those costs are well over $100,000 a year if you need a nursing home. 


The cost of care services increases rapidly every year. -  LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - How Much Does Care Cost Where You Live?


  • "Health insurance pays for this." - No, neither health insurance nor Medicare and its supplementary plans cover long-term care, as they only cover skilled services for a limited amount of time. The reality is that the majority of long-term care falls under the category of custodial care, which includes assistance with daily activities and dementia care, and this is not covered by standard health insurance policies or Medicare. Consequently, you would need to bear the financial burden out-of-pocket, rely on family members to provide care, or perhaps a combination of both. 
  • "My spouse or kids will take care of me." – Providing long-term care services is an immense challenge, even for a spouse or partner who deeply cares for you. The difficulty only increases with age. Many individuals in need of long-term care require assistance with personal tasks such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and other daily activities. Imagine the physical and emotional toll of providing these intimate services, especially if you or your spouse are in your 80s. It's not only physically demanding but can also be awkward and embarrassing for both parties. Professional caregivers are trained to handle these sensitive situations with dignity, allowing family members to maintain their roles and cherished relationships. When it comes to your children, remember that they are aging and may have their own careers and family obligations to manage. Consider how old they will be when you are in your 70s or 80s. Relying on them to provide caregiving services may not be practical or fair. Family caregiving is not always the ideal solution.
  • "It is hard to make a claim, and they don't pay the claims anyhow." - The opposite is true. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed a remarkable 97.6% payout rate for Long-Term Care Insurance claims, underscoring the reliability of these companies in fulfilling their commitments. Every day, substantial sums are disbursed to families across America, providing crucial financial support that preserves their assets and alleviates the emotional and physical strain on their loved ones.
  • "Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive" – The truth is Long-Term Care Insurance policies are very affordable. Many articles you might read misrepresent the facts. Premiums are based on your age when you obtain coverage, your health, and the amount of benefits you apply for. You design the policy so the premium can range from very low to high. If you get a plan in your 40s or 50s, many people can design a plan for under $100 a month. If you are in your 70s, getting affordable coverage will be more difficult because of the advanced age and your health. However, a long-term care specialist can help you find an affordable plan whether you are 40 or 70.


Long-Term Care Insurance is Affordable


So, what does Long-Term Care Insurance cost? Brent Donarski, a 30-year veteran specialist in long-term care planning, runs He notes that the majority of individuals he consults with across the country are often pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced Long-Term Care Insurance can be.


He gives an example of a Missouri couple, ages 55 and 50, in excellent health. They could obtain a plan that initially pays $4000 a month with an initial pool of $125,000 each, growing 3% compounded each year. This would include spousal shared benefits, which means if one of them were to exhaust their benefits, they could use the other spouse's benefit, but if a spouse passes, the premium disappears. The full unused benefit goes to the survivor. Premiums can be as low as $333 a month for the couple. This plan would qualify for the Missouri Partnership program, providing them with additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.


Donarski says the bigger the benefit, the larger the premium; likewise, the smaller the benefit, the smaller the premium.


Donarski says the consumer gets to choose the amount of benefits within the policy.


The consumer can custom design their plan. We can develop outstanding coverage which fits most budgets.


Most states offer partnership plans with the additional asset protection offered by the program. It allows the policyholder to design just the right size plan without over-insuring.


Total asset plans with unlimited benefits are available for those with larger estates or family history, which includes bloodlines with Alzheimer's or dementia, which lasts very long periods of time. This would provide a person with unlimited long-term care benefits. 


One company, One America, provides unlimited long-term care benefits with an asset-based hybrid policy that includes a second-to-die death benefit. With traditional LTC Insurance, National Guardian Life also provides an option for unlimited long-term care benefits. It also offers a return of premium riders at an additional cost.


Available Group Plans Offer Wider Underwriting Rules


Employer Long-Term Care Insurance plans are available, but few employers make this benefit available to employees. The most significant benefit is the broader underwriting requirements offered by such plans. 


Few traditional group policies are available; LifeSecure is currently the most common. It is more expensive for most people (unless the employer is paying part of the premium), but if you have health issues, it might be a good option. 


Certain insurance plans offer coverage for both in-home and facility-based care, intertwining life insurance with extended care benefits. It is crucial not to confuse these with hybrid policies that align with federal regulations for Long-Term Care Insurance. Common providers of these plans include Allstate, Chubb, and Trustmark, allowing policyholders to utilize a portion or the entirety of the death benefits prior to their passing. 


However, it's important to note that these plans tend to be on the pricier side, and the allocated benefits for care are relatively modest, often because the death benefits are typically $100,000 or less. Additionally, these plans do not afford the same consumer protections and tax advantages that are accessible with policies adhering to federal guidelines for Long-Term Care Insurance.



Shopping at Work Usually Not the Best Place for Long-Term Care


Seeking long-term care coverage through your workplace might seem like a convenient option, but it’s usually not the most advantageous choice, particularly if you are in good health. Employer-provided plans often come with higher premiums and may not offer the comprehensive coverage that you can obtain elsewhere. Plus, these policies may not be portable, meaning if you change jobs, you might lose your coverage or pay a much higher premium.


Planning for long-term care is a crucial aspect of your retirement strategy, and the ideal time to start is in your 40s or 50s. At this stage of life, you are more likely to enjoy good health, which makes you eligible for lower premium rates and gives you access to a wider range of policy options. By securing your Long-Term Care Insurance at a younger age, you are taking a proactive step towards safeguarding your future, ensuring that you have the necessary support in place when you need it.


To navigate the myriad of options available and find the most affordable and suitable Long-Term Care Insurance policy, it is wise to consult with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. These experts have in-depth knowledge of the industry and can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances. They represent a variety of top insurance companies, ensuring that you have access to the best policies on the market.



Seeking long-term care coverage through your employer might seem like a straightforward option, but it's typically not the most cost-effective or comprehensive solution, especially if you are in good health. Planning ahead and consulting with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can help you secure the right coverage at the best possible price, providing peace of mind and financial security for the future.


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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Ignoring the fear of retirement and long-term care planning can have far-reaching consequences for your family and financial well-being. Preparing for the future is essential, and one critical component of this preparation is Long-Term Care Insurance.



First and foremost, planning for retirement and long-term care is an act of responsibility and love for your family. By taking proactive steps to secure their financial future and potential long-term care needs, you relieve your loved ones of the burden of making difficult decisions in times of crisis. 

With adequate planning, family members can arrange for quality care, manage finances, and make critical choices under immense stress. 


Having a well-thought-out plan, including LTC Insurance coverage, ensures that you maintain control over your care and assets while sparing your family members from unnecessary hardship.


From a financial perspective, ignoring the need for long-term care planning can be detrimental. The cost of long-term care services, whether in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or through in-home care, can be exorbitant and quickly deplete your savings. 


LTC Insurance acts as a financial safeguard, covering the expenses associated with extended care, thus preserving your lifestyle and protecting your retirement nest egg. Without an LTC policy, you risk exhausting your financial resources, leaving you vulnerable to financial hardship and burdening those you love.


Importance of Expert Guidance: Shopping Long-Term Care Insurance with a Qualified Specialist


Shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance coverage is a significant financial decision, and seeking the assistance of an experienced and qualified independent LTC Insurance specialist can make a substantial difference in finding the best coverage at the lowest cost. Here's why their expertise is invaluable:


  • Expert Guidance: An experienced LTC Insurance specialist possesses in-depth knowledge of the industry, policies, and the ever-evolving landscape of long-term care. They can provide informed guidance tailored to your specific needs and financial situation.
  • Objective Recommendations: Independent specialists are not tied to a single insurance company, ensuring they provide objective recommendations that prioritize your best interests. They can compare policies from various insurers to find the most suitable one for you based on your age, health, and other factors.
  • Access to Top Insurers: Working with a specialist means accessing a broad network of top insurance companies. This access allows you to explore a wide range of policy options and select the one that offers the best coverage and value.
  • Customized Solutions: LTCI specialists can customize a policy to match your unique requirements, including coverage duration, benefit amounts, and additional features. They ensure that the policy aligns with your specific needs and preferences.
  • Cost-Efficiency: A specialist can help you find cost-effective solutions by identifying discounts, riders, or policy combinations that maximize your coverage while staying within your budget.
  • Claims Support: When you need to file a claim, an experienced specialist can provide invaluable assistance, helping you navigate the claims process smoothly and efficiently.


Partnering with an independent LTC Insurance specialist who works with top insurance companies is a wise choice when shopping for an LTC policy. Their expertise, understanding of federal and state regulations, objectivity, and access to a diverse range of policies can help you secure the most suitable and cost-effective coverage to safeguard your future.


An experienced specialist will provide accurate quotes from all the top insurance companies, usually on the spot, after asking you many detailed questions about your health, family history, and finances. While unusual or complicated health history may require a specialist to contact underwriters at each company before providing options, they can usually show you quotes immediately.



Ensuring the Best Care for Your Loved Ones – And for You


The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory offers a convenient way to discover high-quality care providers in your vicinity or for a family member. Utilize the directory to explore top-notch care solutions - Long-Term Care Services Directory | Find Care Near You


For those covered by an LTC Insurance policy, utilizing the benefits promptly is advisable. Timely access to quality care significantly enhances the recipient's quality of life.


LTC NEWS has joined forces with Amada Senior Care, a leading in-home healthcare agency with a nationwide presence, to assist you in processing claims from any LTC Insurance policy.


There is no cost or obligation for this service - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.


If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.


These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term health care services for a loved one:


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In addition to a diverse array of articles covering aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, long-term care, and retirement planning, LTC NEWS offers a range of valuable tools and resources to support your research. Our mission is to provide informative content and expert guidance to facilitate effective long-term care planning.


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