News Summary: 'Shared care' a growing option

AP News
Posted: Jun 15, 2012 3:18 PM
News Summary: 'Shared care' a growing option

LONG-TERM CHANGES: Long-term care insurance carriers are promoting "shared care" as an affordable alternative to the once-popular lifetime coverage option, which they're doing away with or making almost prohibitively expensive because of their expenses.

COMBINED BENEFITS: Under shared-care policies, couples purchase a combined pool of benefits that can be used by either spouse or both, instead of two separate contracts. If one spouse develops a need for extended long-term care, such as from Alzheimer's or a stroke, he or she could access most or all of the benefits.

COST CONSIDERATIONS: Shared care can cost close to 20 percent more than separate policies with the same benefit period. But it can allow couples to buy a shorter, less expensive policy, knowing that there ultimately is a larger combined pool of benefits to draw from.