Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program
Long term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform the everyday tasks of bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, continence, and eating by yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long term care also includes the supervision you might need due to a severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Don’t wait until you get close to retirement to purchase long term care coverage. The younger you are the lower your premiums. I purchased our coverage the year it was first available at age 52 several years before I retired. It wasn’t too expensive and today after 12 years of retirement my monthly premium is $77.17 and my wife’s premium, a year younger, is $72.09. Obtain estimates for coverage as early as possibly to dramatically reduce your monthly payments throughout your life time.
Long term care premiums are dramatically increasing effective November 1, 2016. I received my notice in July and my wife’s and my premiums both increase 125%. They do offer an option to retain the same or slightly lower monthly premium with a significant reduction in benefits. When we first took out coverage we purposely signed up for an amount that was about 10 to 15% below the average daily cost of care. We did this knowing that we would have sufficient savings to make up the difference and the basic long term care coverage would provide sufficient payments so that we wouldn’t have to drain our savings when and if the time comes that we need care. This strategy also resulted in lower monthly premiums. My wife and I decided to reduce coverage from 5 to 3 years with a slight drop in daily payments to retain our current payments. If you tried to purchase this same coverage on a private exchange the costs would be much higher.
This type of care isn t intended to cure you. It is chronic care that you might need for the rest of your life. You can receive long term care in your own home, a nursing home or another long term care facility, such as an assisted living facility.
People often confuse long term care with disability or short-term medical care. Long term care is not.
- care that you receive in the hospital or your doctor s office
- care you need to get well from a sickness or an injury
- short-term rehabilitation from an accident
- recuperation from surgery
Many people think all long term care is provided in nursing homes. However, long term care is most often provided at home, in adult day care facilities or in assisted living facilities.
The federal employee’s Long Term Care insurance program is administered by the John Hancock Health Insurance company. I highly recommend investigating and purchasing this coverage BEFORE you retire.
Suggestion: Request estimates from the federal program and private providers to compare coverage and to get the best prices possible.
The younger you are when you elect coverage the lower you monthly payments will be. The government plan is very reasonable compared to most private plans that I researched. My wife and I decided that we needed Long Term Care more than we needed additional life insurance coverage.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management signed a contract with John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Company to provide insurance for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program s second 7-year contract term. The new contract includes some program changes and price increases.
Most Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and their qualified relatives are eligible to apply for insurance coverage under the FLTCIP.
Most employees must also be eligible for the FEHB Program in order to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP. It does not matter if they are actually enrolled in FEHB – eligibility is the key. Annuitants do not have to be eligible or enrolled in the FEHB Program. Certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage. You must apply to find out if you are eligible to enroll.
My wife and I elected the future purchase option(FPO) that originally provided $125 a day coverage for 5 years, total insurance coverage of $228,125. There were six premium adjustments since I enrolled and my coverage is now $203 a day with total lifetime coverage of $370,475. My coverage when I first applied was only $41.22 per month and my wife, who is a year younger than me, costs $38.63. Now, after 13 years and six adjustments I pay $77.17 per month and my wife costs $72.09 per month. The new premium increases scheduled to take effect November of 2016 will more double our premiums to $174.40 and my wife costs to $162.92! We do have the option to keep the same or slighly lower premiums with dramatically reduced benefits.
Researching the options and obtaining price comparisons was confusing and it took a week or so of reading the available literature and visiting web sites to fully understand what my wife and I needed and could afford. One of the reasons we went with the federal plan was that no physical was required, only a written certification of our overall general health. We joined when the program was first offered and we were in our early 50s at the time.
You don’t have to accept inflation adjustments if you don’t want them with the future purchase option. Call 1-800-582-3337 to request their benefit booklet or to make changes to your existing coverage. One of the key advantages of this program is that you can op to pay family members to take care of you for up to one year of coverage and you have so many more care options available. You will be less likely to deplete your estate or become a burden to your family if you have this coverage.