What is the “Elimination Period” in a long-term care policy?

Elimination Period = the number of days you receive qualified care before your long-term care policy will begin to pay benefits.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
A Shopper’s Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance 2009

The Elimination Period is similar to a deductible.

The shorter your Elimination Period, the higher the premium.  The longer the Elimination Period, the lower the premium

Most policies offer several choices for the Elimination Period.  Common examples of Elimination Periods you can choose are:

  • 30 days,
  • 60 days,
  • 90 days,
  • 180 days, or even
  • 365 days.

(Not all Elimination Period choices are available in every state.)

Most policies have “once-per-lifetime” Elimination Periods. That means that that once you’ve satisfied your Elimination Period, you never have to satisfy it again.  It is NOT like a medical insurance deductible.  You do NOT have to satisfy the Elimination Period every calendar year.

Home Healthcare Tip: Some policies offer a zero-day Elimination Period for care at home.  With these policies, the Elimination Period is waived for care at home.  Some policies include this feature automatically.  Other policies make this available for an extra premium.

If home health care benefits are important to you, then you should consider choosing a policy with no Elimination Period for care at home.

Money-Saving Tip: With some policies, a 90-day Elimination Period can be 20% less premium than a 30-day Elimination Period.

A 90-day Elimination Period for care in a facility can be a particularly good value in those policies that offer a zero-day Elimination Period for care at home.

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About Scott A. Olson

Scott A. Olson, is the author of “The Guidebook for Making Long-Term Care Insurance Easier.” He is a licensed insurance agent and has specialized in long-term care insurance since 1995. He is licensed to sell long-term care insurance in over 40 states. Scott was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University. Scott was a caregiver for a close relative for two years. That personal experience has made him acutely aware of how to help his clients design and choose a long-term care policy that will benefit them when they need it the most. Scott and his wife Carolyn live in Redlands, California. Scott and Carolyn have four sons.