Insurance: A new kind of long-term-care policy

May 2, 2008

Long-term-care insurance isn't exactly selling like hotcakes. Annual premiums can run $5,000 or more?not exactly chump change for doctors contending with lots of bills.

Long-term-care insurance isn't exactly selling like hotcakes. Annual premiums can run $5,000 or more-not exactly chump change for doctors contending with lots of bills. According to Kiplinger's Retirement Report, several insurance companies have responded to the sticker shock by offering more-affordable coverage. Insurers like John Hancock, Kiplinger's says, are reducing the length of time the policy is in effect (three or five years versus lifetime coverage, for instance) or offering shared benefits. With the latter, spouses essentially pool their years of coverage in case one winds up needing a lot more nursing home care than the other.

Beware the trade-offs, however: If you buy one of these slimmer long-term-care policies, and you or your spouse has a family history of Alzheimer's, you may not be covered for the entire length of the illness.