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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Choosing long term care insurance

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: How do we choose a benefit period for long term care insurance? How could we possibly know in advance how long we will need long term care?

A: Different lengths of coverage are offered to allow coordination with different financial planning strategies. The choices are not intended to force you to estimate how long you will need care. For example, a common financial scenario with middle income families with modest assets was to purchase coverage for three years to allow time for the parents to transfer the family home to children without risking a claim from Medicaid. This strategy now needs to be modified because the Medicaid transfer of assets look back period will change to five years. In this case, it makes sense to change the long term care insurance from 3 years of coverage up to 5 years of coverage. Of course, the longer periods of coverage cost more than the shorter term insurance policies. Available lengths of coverage and the prices for long term care insurance are available on a side-by-side basis from the five most competitive carriers in your area by submitting a quote request at


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