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Long-Term Care Insurance

Many people will need some type of long-term care as they get older. The costs to cover this type of care can be very expensive and can quickly eat up your hard-earned lifetime savings.

Long-term care insurance may be one option to cover services you might need if you are unable to care for yourself because of a prolonged illness or disability. These services may include day-to-day care in your home, at an adult day care center or in a nursing or assisted-living facility.

There are a number of factors that will determine if long-term care insurance is right for you – specifically, your age, health, overall retirement goals, income and assets. 

If your only source of income is a Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you probably shouldn’t buy long-term care insurance. People with a lower income and limited financial assets usually meet their long-term care needs through their county's Medical Assistance program (also called Medicaid or MA). Once a person qualifies for Medical Assistance, all expenses for nursing home care, qualified home care and medical costs are covered by the state. In most cases, you do not have to give up your home to qualify for Medical Assistance. 

Alternatively, if you have significant financial assets and don't want to spend them towards long-term care, you might want to consider a long-term care insurance policy. However, you should not buy a policy if you can't afford the premium or aren't sure you can pay the premium for the rest of your life.

Be aware that insurance premiums can increase significantly. Consider that your income may change after retirement and consider whether your future income will still cover the premium costs.

Commerce's role in Long-term Care Insurance

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is responsible for reviewing and approving long-term care insurance policies offered for sale in the state. 

In order to receive approval from the Department, long-term care insurance plans must contain specific consumer protections required by federal law. The Department also approves or disapproves initial rates and rate increases for long-term care insurance policies. 

The Commerce Department also performs market conduct and financial solvency examinations of domestic long-term care insurers protect consumers. The Department also collaborates with other state regulators through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to protect consumers and improve the long-term care insurance industry. 

As the state regulator of the long-term care insurance industry, the Commerce Department is also here to help consumers with their concerns or complaints about insurers of long-term care. 

If you have a concern or wish to file a complaint, contact our Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (outside the Twin Cities metro area).

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