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What To Look For When Purchasing A Long Term Care Insurance Policy

The Waiting (Elimination) Period

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Most policies include a waiting period (often called an "elimination" or "deductible" period) during which no benefits are payable.  The waiting period can be from 0 to 90 days, or even longer. The longer the waiting period, the lower the premium. You pay all costs during the waiting period.

How the number of days in a waiting period are calculated varies among policies. Some policies use a calendar-day waiting period which means that you start to receive benefits at the end of a period starting on the day the first day you qualify for benefits and receive care. Others use a "days in service" waiting period that only counts those days you actually receive care. For instance, if you have a 30 day waiting period, but only receive care 3 days a week, you have to wait for coverage to start for 70 days. (This is calculated as follows: 30 (the waiting period) divided by 3 (the number of days per week  you need care) = 10 weeks.  10 weeks x 7 days a week = 70 days).

Some companies offer a waiting period of zero days for home care (even if there is a longer waiting period for benefits to start in an assisted living facility or nursing home). Others offer an inexpensive rider (amendment) which allows you to eliminate the waiting period for home care.

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