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.
Northwestern Mutual is one of the most expensive options for long-term care insurance, and premiums can be more than double other companies comparing the same benefits. They do, however, project dividend payments on their long-term care insurance policies. While this could offset some of the higher costs if they paid dividends, it would be doubtful it would ever offset the much higher cost of the policy. The product is sold exclusively by Northwestern Mutual Life agents.
Northwestern Mutual Key Features and Benefits:
- Monthly benefits from $1500 to $12,000 a month
- Benefit period of up to 6 years creates a pool of money
- Elimination Periods from 12 weeks to 52 weeks are available
- Inflation options include 3%, 4%, and 5% compounded or a guaranteed purchase option
- Survivorship Benefit option
- Spousal discounts
They do not offer shared spousal benefits, a popular benefit that many companies offer.
Be Careful with Inflation Benefits
Since this product is very costly, many agents quote the product with "Guaranteed Purchase Option (GPO)" as the inflation benefit - or no inflation benefit at all. The GPO option is problematic since your premium increases over time, and the benefits do not grow unless you purchase these extra benefits when those options come available. Be careful; unless you refuse the option, your premium and benefits automatically increase.
In some states, this GPO feature certifies the policy as a partnership plan; however, failure to accept an increase would void partnership benefits.
Plus, failure to accept these benefits increases can void future offers.
Northwest Mutual does offer standard Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance plans, and partnership policies provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. You can learn more about the federal/state partnership program and other state-specific information by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.
Find the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live, along with the availability of partnership plans and tax incentives - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.
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 cannot give a consumer a special discount that is not available otherwise.
If you own a Northwest Mutual Long-Term Care policy and seek help submitting a claim, LTC NEWS offers free - no-obligation assistance - including help finding quality caregivers and facilities. Since most agents have little or no experience in this area, this assistance can be beneficial for the entire family - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News
Federal Regulation and Consumer Protections
All Long-Term Care Insurance contracts are regulated under IRS regulations §7702B(b)(1). Any insurance contract that meets the guidelines set by the Internal Revenue Service is considered long-term care. All insurance products that meet these federal guidelines contain consumer protections and regulated benefit triggers, in addition to tax advantages.
Shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance?
When shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance coverage, keep in mind, numerous state and federal regulations impact Long-Term Care Insurance. Each state's department of insurance regulates products and premiums. Because of regulation, an insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor cannot give a consumer a special discount that is not available otherwise.
Be sure to use all the tools and resources available on LTC NEWS to help you in your research - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
There are more similarities than differences when it comes to features and benefits. However, options and benefits vary from company to company, and premiums can vary between companies by over 100% when comparing equal benefits.
Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, and every company has its own underwriting rules which determine insurability and rate class. An experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will understand these underwriting rules when helping you select the best company and policy options.
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 qualified specialist representing the major insurance companies that offer these products - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
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 Insurance 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.