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Is long-term care insurance worth it?

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David Lees/Getty Images

If you needed daily support as you got older, who would provide that for you? Many people cite their loved ones. And while family support is often an option, is it right for your family? 60% of family caregivers also work a full- or part-time job, and 40% of them cite juggling those two parts of life as the biggest cause of emotional stress.1 But if, instead, you lean on paid services for support, you or your family could face daunting long-term care costs.

That's why it may be beneficial to consider long-term care insurance. This type of coverage typically can reimburse you for care you receive in your home, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, memory care facilities, adult day care or hospice care.

So is long-term care insurance worth it for you and your family? Here are some of its advantages.

Benefits of long-term care insurance

If you one day need help with daily tasks—getting in and out of bed, bathing, getting dressed and using the bathroom—or perhaps require nursing care, the financial and emotional impact on your family can be significant. Long-term care insurance can help in a number of ways.

1. Long-term care insurance can help with the costs of extended care

The costs of long-term care can be staggering. For example, the average cost for an assisted living facility is $3,628 a month, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Nursing homes are even more expensive, with a monthly cost of $7,698 nationwide.2 Even if you're able to stay in your home, the cost of hiring professional caregivers and making modifications to your living space can add up quickly.

Long-term care insurance offers a way to protect your retirement assets and your family's income from the costs of care. Government programs don't cover all the costs. Medicare only pays for short-term stays in a nursing facility—and only under certain conditions. Medicaid, meanwhile, is only available to families who meet income and asset requirements.

2. It removes the caregiving duty from your family

When daily assistance is needed, informal caregivers often have to step in. In fact, according to a 2022 Thrivent Extended Care survey,3 more than half of adults said a spouse or other family member would have to provide assistance if they needed long-term care. That can be a challenge for loved ones who often have other responsibilities, such as a job or young children.

A long-term care insurance contract allows your family to supervise your care, while letting professionals provide the care. It helps pay for outside caregivers, and some contracts even cover a care coordinator to develop a plan of care and regularly monitor your needs. These professionals also help identify care providers and resources in your area.

In some cases, you may simply prefer to have someone you know handle your care even if you can afford a health care aide. Some long-term care insurance may cover caregiver training from a health care professional. Some contracts also cover respite care for informal caregivers, so your loved ones can have time away when needed.

3. It gives you choices for how and where you receive care

Many long-term care contracts reimburse for care in and outside the home, giving you greater choice in how and where you receive care. For example, while you may want to remain in the comfort of your own home, you might need to adapt it to fit your care needs. Some long-term care contracts will cover such modifications and equipment.

If your situation changes and you need to go to a nursing home, you have that option, too. Some contracts will cover the costs of reserving a bed for you in a qualified facility.

You'll also have your choice of type of facility. Long-term care insurance typically covers an array of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, whereas many government assistance programs only offer limited choices.

4. You may be able to customize your long-term care

Depending on your insurer, you may be able to tailor your long-term care plan even more with additional riders, such as a cash benefit rider that can cover informal caregiver pay or other financial needs. Other types of riders benefit your spouse or pay out lump sums to your beneficiaries.

If a full long-term care contract doesn't feel like exactly the right fit, another option is combined life and long-term care insurance. These hybrid policies pay a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you don't use your available long-term care benefits.

Deciding if long-term care insurance is worth it for you

While a long-term care contract is in your name, you're really taking out insurance to protect your family's financial and emotional well-being. That reassurance can go a long way, but there are still certain considerations around buying long-term care insurance.

  • With age comes an increased risk of health conditions that may prevent you from getting coverage.
  • The more ideal time to buy this insurance—when you're young and healthy—may be when you're more financially focused on other needs, like raising a family.
  • You may end up not needing long-term care. (You may want to consider a hybrid policy, in this case.)

The decision comes down to what best fits your larger financial outlook. As you weigh how long-term care insurance fits into your plan, you may wish to discuss questions with a Thrivent financial advisor, who can help set the right roadmap for you.


1AARP. Valuing the Invaluable 2023. March 2023.

2Administration For Community Living. Costs of Care. February 2020.

3Thrivent. Extended Care survey conducted by Morning Consult. July 2022.

If requested, a licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you and financial solutions, including insurance, may be solicited.

All applications are subject to the underwriting requirements of Thrivent. A medical exam may be required. Premiums are not guaranteed to remain unchanged, except during the first five contract years. Any changes to premium rates will apply to all similar contracts issued in your state to contract owners in the same class on the same contract form. This means you cannot be singled out for an increase because of advancing age, changes in your health, claim status or any other reason solely related to you.

Long-term care insurance may not cover all of the costs associated with long-term care. Long-term care contracts have exclusions, limitations, and terms under which the benefits may be reduced, or the contract may be discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact your licensed insurance agent/producer.

Long-term care insurance is not for everyone as determined by NAIC income and asset test criteria.

Thrivent is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. Not available in all states.

Thrivent provides advice and guidance through its Financial Planning Framework that generally includes a review and analysis of a client's financial situation. A client may choose to further their planning engagement with Thrivent through its Dedicated Planning Services (an investment advisory service) that results in written recommendations for a fee.

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