Q: Some insurance companies offer Partnership Qualified long term care insurance policies. Can you explain what that means, what advantages it may provide and if the New York State Partnership for Long Term Care is unique?
The Problem – Limited Benefits and Limited Medicaid
Most long term care (LTC) insurance policies provide a limited amount of benefits. Even lifetime benefit policies generally have a daily, monthly or annual limit. The cost of long term care after a policy has been exhausted can be financially devastating for you and your family. To compound the problem, assistance in the form of Medicaid is generally limited to the impoverished.
The Solution – Partnership Qualified Long Term Care Insurance Policies
The Partnership Program is based on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program called the Program to Promote Long Term Care Insurance for the Elderly, initiated in 1987. Today, a Partnership Program is a “partnership” between a state, an insurance company and state residents who buy long term care Partnership policies. With a Partnership Qualified policy you can apply for Medicaid with ‘asset disregard’. This allows you to keep assets that would otherwise be disallowed. In almost all states that have Partnership Programs, the amount of assets Medicaid will disregard is equal to the amount of the benefits you actually receive under your LTC Partnership Qualified policy. This type of disregard is often referred to as Dollar for Dollar.
Let’s say you are a New Jersey resident who purchases $306,600 (the average rate of a private nursing room for an average three year stay in NJ in 2008) worth of insurance through a Partnership Qualified policy. When the care is needed, the policy actually pays for $900,000 of care (due to inflation protection). Under the state’s Partnership Program you would then have $900,000 of assets protected from NJ Medicaid.