There are variations between the policy language and benefits between the many companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance; however, the primary features and benefit choices are comparable from company to company. Premiums and underwriting criteria vary dramatically between insurance companies.
When comparing long-term care insurance, you should recognize the differences between John Hancock and other companies. John Hancock no longer offers traditional Long-Term Care Insurance. However, John Hancock administers the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance plan. In addition, John Hancock offers a hybrid policy that provides both life insurance and a benefit for long-term care.
Federal government employees and retirees can purchase the group John Hancock product as a voluntary benefit with the ability to pay the premium through payroll withholding. Full underwriting at the time of application is required for all applications. Like all Long-Term Care Insurance policies, the policy is guaranteed renewable for life. The policy may never be canceled unless you fail to pay the premium. This means if you leave employment or retire, your policy can leave with you as long as you continue to pay the premium.
The federal plan only offers a daily benefit to pay for your future care. Most companies offer monthly benefits, which is vital because of how care at home is delivered.
The federal plan does not offer shared benefits for spouses/partners, nor does it provide spousal discounts.
John Hancock/Federal Employee LTC Plan Features and Benefits:
- Daily benefits from $50 to $450
- Offers a benefit pool up to $821,250 (based on $450 a day with a five year benefit period - Choose between 2 years, 3 years, and 5 year benefit periods
- Two inflation options - 3% compounded and a purchase option
- 90-day elimination period
- Unlicensed caregivers are covered as long as it is not a spouse or partner, other conditions apply
- Full international benefits
Federal employees should shop around before purchasing the John Hancock/Federal Employee Long-Term Care Insurance plan. The federal plan is NOT partnership certified in any state. This means you will not have access to the additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection that the partnership program offers.
Remember, there are no spousal discounts available or shared spousal plans which are very popular for couples and can save them money.
The government plan has had multiple premium increases. Unlike all other available plans, the Federal Government Long-Term Care Plan administered by John Hancock does not have to ask approval with any state insurance department for rate increases.
The trigger for benefits has a big wrinkle. In addition to the requirement of your doctor certifying your need for help with two of six activities of daily living or supervision due to cognitive impairment, the policy adds the words, "and we agree." The wording in the policy places a federal gatekeeper involved in approving a potential claim. While in most situations, this would not be an obstacle; in some cases, it could.
Be sure to speak with a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to compare the federal plan with other major plans.
John Hancock Hybrid
The John Hancock hybrid option is not one of the more competitive in the market, although many consumers like the financial power and experience of John Hancock.
A single premium gives you either a death benefit or a long-term care benefit. The long-term care rider on the John Hancock life policy allows you to choose the total amount of long-term care coverage you would like to have in place.
The plan generally provides a much larger death benefit and lacks a strong long-term care benefit. The policy comes with an assumed rate of return that will impact the performance of your policy if they don't meet.
Most experts suggest if you are interested in a combination of life and long-term care plan, there are better available options from other companies.
Partnership benefits are not available for either the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance plan nor the John Hancock hybrid. Without the partnership certification, you lose the additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.
You can learn more about the federal/state partnership program by finding your state on the LTC NEWS MAP. Find the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live, along with the availability of partnership plans and tax incentives by clicking here.
Keep in mind, numerous state and federal regulations impact Long-Term Care Insurance. Each state's department of insurance regulates premiums. Because of regulation, an insurance agent or financial advisor is not able to give a consumer a special discount which is not available otherwise.
There are more similarities than differences when it comes to features and benefits. However, options and benefits do vary from company to company. Premiums can vary between companies by over 100% when comparing equal benefits.
Be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Specialist to compare the features, benefits, and costs of each policy. You can find a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist by clicking here.
Since your health is a primary consideration in determining your eligibility for coverage, it is always best to start planning before retirement when health is usually better. An experienced Long-Term Care Specialist will ask you several questions about your health to provide you with accurate quotes and professional recommendations.
Please note: Since every company has different underwriting rules, you could be eligible for coverage with one company and not another.
Because Long-Term Care Insurance is custom-designed, you can design the plan to fit your specific needs, concerns, and budget. A specialist will help you develop your plan to address your concerns. Generally, you can design a plan to meet some or all of these common goals:
- Safeguard income and savings
- Protect the lifestyle of your spouse/partner
- Provide options for quality care
- Reduce the stress and burdens otherwise placed on family members
- Give your adult children time to be family
- Provide a legacy for loved ones
State variations may apply.