Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: May 8, 2024

Home / Blog / Health Insurance / 4 Important Ways That COVID 19 Is Affecting Long-Term Care Insurance

COVID Has Taken a Toll on Long-Term Care Insurance: Find Out How?

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Long-term care is an issue for many people, even before COVID 19. In fact, most Americans will need some form of long-term care but as many as two-thirds of Americans reportedly have done no planning for long-term care. Long-term care insurance is a smart choice for many as they get older and are looking to plan, but COVID 19 has thrown a wrench into the works.

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The True Impact of COVID 19 On Long-Term Care Insurance

COVID 19 has affected long-term care insurance in several significant ways. We’ll dive into each and how best to minimize the impact of COVID 19 on long-term care insurance for you.

1. Qualifying for Long Term Care Insurance

The most immediate and significant impact of COVID 19 on long-term care insurance was the process of qualifying for insurance. Providers immediately began making it more difficult to qualify for long-term care insurance to help minimize their risk. The maximum age to qualify was abruptly lowered (as low as 65 years of age), which means many seniors suddenly lost their plan for long-term care with no advance notice. 

The inability to perform in-person exams due to the pandemic was a large factor in reducing the maximum age; after all, providers want to assess your health and mobility for themselves before taking a risk on you. On the other hand, it suddenly made it faster for younger, healthy applicants to qualify. Providers are often comfortable qualifying them over the phone versus in person and using electronic medical records to speed up the application process, which was an unexpected benefit to the young and healthy.

Luckily, as the restrictions are starting to lift across the country, many insurance providers have resumed in-person exams and in turn, increased the maximum qualifying age. However, many providers are taking advantage of the lingering effects of the pandemic to keep their risk low and keep seniors from accessing long-term care insurance.

2. Increased Premiums

COVID 19 has hit everyone in the pocket, and long-term care insurance is no exception. Premiums have been on the rise for new applicants, as much as 5% to 50% depending on the applicant and insurance provider. This makes it more important than ever to shop around for a quote before purchasing insurance because these uncertain times can mean greater differences between providers than ever before and add up significantly over the long term.

3. Delays in Claims

Filing claims for insurance is never an enjoyable task, but with COVID 19 slowing down most administrative tasks, claims can take longer than before to process. Getting hold of the paperwork you need to apply for a claim or a claims appeal has also been more difficult, with many offices shut down or working with reduced staff. These delays can mean the coverage or reimbursement you need is also delayed, so it’s important to factor this into your long-term care plan.

4. Home Care Coverage

Being at home during COVID 19 has been more important than ever, especially for those more susceptible to the virus. In fact, care facilities have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic; an alarming 42% of deaths from COVID 19 in the USA occurred as a result of nursing homes. 

But switching from a care facility to home care isn’t necessarily simple or easy. It’s important to understand your long-term care insurance coverage before switching to home care, because some policies offer limited or no home care coverage at all. Many caregivers are also increasing their rates for home care due to the added risk of COVID 19, so make sure you understand the true cost of home care before making the switch. 

The effects of COVID 19 will be felt for years, but there’s reason to believe that the significant impact of COVID 19 on long-term care insurance is temporary, for the most part. In the meantime, having a deep understanding of your current policy or the policy you’re looking to purchase is critical–having the coverage you need and expect has never been more important. 

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Lauren Lewthwaite Lauren Lewthwaite has been freelance writing for almost five years writing content that ranges from health to insurance and everything in between. Lauren is also a trained translator in French and English and is a dog-mom to an adorable Australian Shepherd.

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