There’s a lot of good reasons to retire in Florida. The weather is warm, the beaches are beautiful, and there are lots of other retirees to socialize with. Also, Florida has no state income taxes, no inheritance taxes, and no estate taxes. When you pack up your things and move to Florida, you’re probably not planning on needing long-term care. But you might want to plan for that possibility, because about 47% of men and 58% of women will eventually need some kind of long-term care. That’s why you should look into long-term care insurance.
- What is Long-Term Care Insurance?
- Types of Long-Term Care Insurance
- Long-Term Care Partnership Program in Florida
- The Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies in Florida
- What Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
- How Much does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost in Florida?
- Key Features of Long-Term Care Insurance in Florida
What is Long-Term Care Insurance?
There are different kinds of long-term care insurance, but basically you have to be approved first, so don’t wait until you need long-term care. You’ll choose the amount of coverage you want, which is generally an amount of money per day or per month. Long-term care insurance will start when you have difficulty with at least two out of six activities of daily living (ADL’s) or suffer from a cognitive impairment. ADL’s are:
You’ll need to be seen by a doctor, who will document your disabilities and then long-term care benefits can begin.
Types of Long-Term Care Insurance
Traditional long-term care insurance is more flexible and usually cheaper than hybrid insurance. You’ll pay your premiums for (hopefully) many years before you or your spouse needs care. The drawback with this insurance is that if you never need long-term care, the only person who benefits from all those premiums you paid is the insurance company. It’s kind of like car insurance—you pay a premium, but you don’t consider that you wasted your money if you never get into an accident. Some people don’t like that, though, so hybrid long-term care insurance was launched.
Hybrid long-term care insurance combines a long-term care benefit with a permanent life insurance policy. It used to be offered as a single pay policy, but now they’re available as a ten year pay. Say you get a single pay policy, for the sake of illustration. You pay a lump sum of $100,000. You’ll get $500,000 worth of long-term care insurance, or a $150,000 death benefit for your heirs when you die. If you change your mind, you can get your premium back.
Long-Term Care Partnership Program in Florida
Florida participates in a long-term partnership program. Traditionally, to qualify for Medicaid, you had to have less than $2,200 in income and hold less than $2,000 in assets. In a partnership program, the state pairs with long-term care insurance companies to protect more of the consumer’s assets. It’s a dollar-for-dollar exchange. So, say you purchase $100,000 worth of long-term care insurance from a company in Florida. If you need long-term care, you will use that long-term care insurance. However, should you run out of insurance, Medicaid will kick in and allow you to hold onto to $100,000 in assets—actually, $102,000 in assets, because you’re allowed $2,000 under Medicaid. This was developed to encourage people to purchase long-term care insurance.
The Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies in Florida
We’ve already looked into this for you, and here’s our list of the best traditional long-term care companies. Traditional long-term care is harder to find these days, as many companies are leaving the market. However, you can still find a few.
If you decide to go with a hybrid policy, you should understand hybrid policies don’t count for the partnership program. However, there are a number of good companies selling hybrid insurance, and here are the best ones we found.
What Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?
Most long-term care policies are comprehensive and will cover:
- Nursing home care
- Assisted living
- Adult day care
- At home care
Those electing to stay at home can get:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Home health aides
- Visiting nurses
It will also cover hospice if you are terminally ill, although Medicare can usually pay for hospice.
How Much does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost in Florida?
The median average cost for a private room in a nursing home in Florida is $100,375 a year. If you opt to share a room, the cost is $89,297. A room in an assisted living facility is about $48,000 a year (Genworth Cost of Care survey).
As you can see, it’s easy to wipe out your nest egg if you pay for long-term care without any insurance.
Key Features of Long-Term Care Insurance in Florida
- A portion of the premiums you pay in the partnership program may be tax deductible
- You must purchase inflation protection to keep up with rising costs. This is to prevent you from not having enough money in benefits to cover the cost of your long-term care.
- For every dollar of long-term care insurance, you purchase, you can save a dollar of your assets
- Hybrid policies cannot be used in the partnership program—it’s traditional long-term care or nothing
There is a trade-off when choosing between traditional long-term care insurance and a hybrid policy. On the one hand, traditional LTC does get you into the partnership program if it’s a qualified plan, but on the other hand, there aren’t many insurance companies still offering LTC insurance. A hybrid policy offers both long-term care benefits if you need them and a tax-free benefit to your heirs if you don’t. Also, the LTC market has suffered in recent years, and many policies were forced to dramatically increase rates. Premiums can go up with traditional LTC, and sometimes by a lot. Think it over carefully before making a decision.