Long-term care encompasses a big umbrella of services that generally breaks into three buckets: home care, assisted living and skilled nursing. While long-term care isn’t the most fun conversation to have, planning early could be a huge help in the long run. In fact, doing so can help you avoid the exceptionally high costs associated with this type of care. A major provider of long-term care insurance is Bankers Life, and this review walks you through the basics of the company’s long-term care offerings. For more help purchasing insurance and planning for the future, consider working with a financial advisor.
According to LongTermCare.gov, about 70% of Americans over 65 will need some form of long-term care. However, the annual cost of long-term care can be astronomically high. More specifically, a private room in a nursing room will run $105,852 per year on average, based on a study by Genworth. On the other hand, a year of home care services can run, on average, to nearly $55,000.
Regular health insurance, disability insurance and Medicare are not designed to cover long-term care costs. Some ways to make up the costs include getting support from Medicaid, using a 1035 exchange plan, applying for state partnership programs, utilizing various tax deductions or using an HRA to withdraw premiums. Finally, there are asset-based long-term care insurance policies. These are life insurance policies that let you leverage your death benefit to pay for nursing care costs.
Background of Bankers Life
Bankers Life is one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. It’s a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group and was founded back in 1879. CNO is a publicly traded firm that had a market cap of approximately $2.84 billion as of September 2021. Bankers Life is based in Chicago and has more than 5,000 insurance agents and 1.4 million policyholders.
Generally speaking, Bankers Life is financially healthy. It holds a B++ (Good) rating from AM Best, a major insurance ratings company. Early in 2021, this rating was placed under review, though it was later lifted. At the end of 2020, Fitch, another ratings firm, gave the company an A- rating.
Bankers Life Long-Term Care Policy Features & Riders
Unlike some other long-term care insurance policy providers, Bankers Life does not have a calculator as some other organizations provide. Again, while these can help illustrate estimates for what long-term care insurance premiums might look like, Bankers Life doesn’t have one. They also do not provide a general sense of what premiums look like. In turn, you’ll need to reach out to an agent directly for numbers.
There are two basic types of long-term care insurance offered at Bankers Life:
- Comprehensive long-term care insurance: This can be used to pay for any services needed, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and home care services.
- Facility-only insurance policy: Conversely, this only covers expenses associated with nursing homes, assisted living facilities and Alzheimer’s facilities.
There will generally be a waiting period, also known as an elimination period, during which you pay your premium but cannot yet claim benefits. The exact length of your waiting period depends on the language of your policy, so make sure you discuss it with your agent before making a decision. A longer elimination period usually means a lower the premium.
Details concerning riders, like spousal benefit sharing, inflation adjustments, a look-back period and the company’s policy on premium hikes (how frequent they can be and how much they can be), must be obtained from an agent.
Bankers Life Customer Satisfaction
Bankers Life gets a high number of customer complaints, according to a database from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), an organization of state insurance commissioners. The association’s National Complaint Index is 1.00. This means a company with a complaint index of 2.00 has a rating that’s twice as high as expected in the market. For long-term care, Bankers Life has a complaint index of 2.75.
Specifically, there are 51 customer complaints regarding long-term care insurance filed against Bankers Life. About a third of these complaints (the first- and third-highest number of complaints combined) fell into the categories of “Delay” and “Delay/No Response.” The second-highest number of complaints fell into the category of “Denial of Claim.”
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Bankers Life an A+ ranking.
How to Contact Bankers Life
To get a quote directly from Bankers Life, you can call (888) 910-6993 or fill out a form that can be found here. You can also look for a local office here. The company has office locations all around the U.S.
The exact price you’ll pay for a Bankers Life long-term care insurance policy depends on your age, sex, location, health status, conditions and how much coverage you want. Bankers Life receives fair grades from ratings agencies, though there were some questions about its stability in 2021. The firm has many more complaints against it than is expected in the market, but does get a solid rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Regardless of whether you go with Bankers Life or not, be sure to do your research and look at multiple options. This will hopefully instill some confidence that you’ve made the right decision for you and your family’s future.
Long-Term Care Planning Tips
- If you’re starting to think about how to plan for the end of your life, consider visiting a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Another product to consider when getting long-term care insurance is life insurance. This is especially important if you are the only income provider in your family or if you have minor children. Use SmartAsset’s free life insurance calculator to determine exactly how much life insurance you need based on your income and obligations.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Adene Sanchez, ©iStock.com/Ridofranz, ©iStock.com/Hispanolistic