Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

Aging Population


  • Rapid rise in senior population
  • 25% of area residents older than 65 by year 2025
  • State budget facing numerous demands
  • Costs of skilled nursing home care rising rapidly

Costs of Long-Term Care


  • Assisted Living - $1,400-4,500 / month
  • Adult Family Homes - $2,500-5,500 / month
  • Dementia / Alzheimer's - $3,000-5,500 / month
  • Skilled Nursing Homes - $6,000-8,000 / month
  • In-Home Care - $15-75 / hour
  • Adult Care - $50-75 / daily
  • Respite Care - $80-175 / day

What Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?


  • Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance offers flexibility, tailored coverage and control
  • Protection of assets
  • Avoids or postpones spend down of savings
  • Control over health care
  • Covers nursing home, assisted living, custodial services, in-home care

Activities of Daily Living


  • Long-term care insurance based on activities of daily living (ADL).
  • Normal functions of daily living
    • Dressing oneself, preparing meals, using the toilet, etc.
  • Loss of ADL skills may be normal with aging
  • Good long-term care policy meets changing needs

How Much Should You Pay For Long-Term Care Insurance?


  • Cost of long-term care insurance varies widely
  • Age when buying
  • Current health condition (physical may be required)
  • Healthy habits (e.g., exercise, non-smoker)
  • Features (e.g., inflation protection, triggers)

Be Cautious


  • Long-term care insurance is not the right for everyone.
  • Very expensive for older buyers. Be sure you can afford it.
  • Look at other options (e.g., personal savings, income sources).
  • Track record and stability of the company selling policy.
  • Allow for changes in coverage later on.
  • Overly zealous sales representatives.
If you feel you are being pressured unfairly or not being treated properly, file a complaint with the Insurance Commissioner by calling the toll-free complaint line at 1 (800) 562-6900

Resources for You


Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) Helpline


  • Highly trained volunteers
  • Impartial information and advice
  • Information on various LTC Insurance policies
  • Information on Medicaid, elder law trusts, reverse mortgages and more
  • One-on-one appointments via phone or in-person
  • Group presentations on request
  • Call to leave message / questions at (253) 596-0918 or (800) 562-6900

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC)


  • ''A Consumer's Guide to Financing Long-Term Care Insurance and Other Options''
    • Produced by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
    • Available from SHIBA at (253) 596-0918 or 1-800-397-4422.
  • Buying Long-Term Care
    • Considerations about paying for your Long-Term Care

Federal Citizen Information Center


Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC)


  • Long-term support options counseling
  • Benefits counseling
  • Employment options counseling
  • Referral to other programs and services
  • Planning for the future
  • Urgent needs
  • Call (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332
  • Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.