The statistics are that somewhere between 50% and 70% of people over the age of 65 will require fairly significant long-term care services at some point in their life; meaning they’ll need assistance with at least a couple of activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, or bathing, and possibly even a higher level of care.

It is true that some long-term care claims last for many years, however, almost half (49%) of long-term care insurance claims LAST ONE YEAR OR LESS, especially for men.  Therefore, a Long-term care policy which may pay for 2 years, or more, is much more expensive than a short-term care plan.

The Short-term Care plan provides a daily care benefit to be used for nursing home expenses and/or home health care.  Individuals may choose a per day benefit.

The typical Short-Term Care insurance policy provides coverage for 1 year or less.  For many people, this is a very appropriate and affordable amount of coverage. 

The majority of policies have a 0-day deductible (Elimination Period) and almost a full year of benefits, (360 days). Simply put, that means the policy pays on the very first day one qualifies for benefits. Most traditional long-term care insurance policies (about 94%) are sold with a 90-Day Deductible that must be met before benefits are paid.

It is important to know that these policies can pay in addition to Medicare — something a traditional Long-Term Care Insurance policy is prohibited from doing.

Medicare and other health insurance policies cover medical expenses but not custodial care. People on average buy long-term care coverage in their 50s and 60s, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Short-term vs. Long-term care coverage

Insurance for short-term care is cheaper than for long-term care because it provides coverage for less time, from three months to 360 days versus more than one year for long-term care insurance. 

It’s also easier to qualify for such policies. The application doesn’t require a medical exam in most situations, and some companies only ask a handful of yes-or-no health questions.  In addition, you can apply at older ages. The cut-off age to buy short-term care coverage typically is 89, while for most long-term care policies, it’s 75.

Short-Term Care policies are geared toward people who want some coverage, but are inhibited from buying long-term care insurance because of the price, their health, their age, or all of the above.

Issue ages 50-79. Not available in all states.