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Three Ways to Buy Long Term Care Without Paying Premiums Out of Your Pocket

Stop 100 people over 65 on the street and ask them if they will ever need to go to a nursing home and 99 will say, “No!” Folks tend to equate long term care insurance with nursing homes, but there are other aspects of long term care. Home care, assisted living, adult day care and hospice care are all forms of long term care which cost money where the person never sees the inside of a nursing home.

Planning for the many types of long term care just makes good financial planning sense.

However, long term care can be expensive, especially if a person waits too long to buy it. Age and health problems could make premiums prohibitive or even render the coverage unattainable.

What if there was a way to make sure you had long term care coverage if you ever needed it, but never had to take premiums to pay for it out of your income? Actually, there are quite a few. Let’s look at three of them…

1. Sell a life insurance policy.

Unbeknownst to many people, there is an “after market” for life insurance policies that have served their purpose and are no longer needed. There are companies that will buy policies on behalf of pension and institutional funds which hold them as part of their investment portfolio. The best part is that they will buy them for more than the cash value.

Other insurance policies that may be a candidate are those where the premium takes a huge hike because of the drop in interest rates, policies with maximum loans about ready to collapse and create a taxable gain but with no money to pay the tax or even term insurance policies that are nearing the end of their term.

When a policy is sold, one option would be to transfer all, or a portion, of the proceeds into an “asset based” long term care plan. Done deal. Ask your financial planner about asset based LTC plans.

2. Withdraw money from an annuity.

Over 90% of the people who own a non-qualified deferred annuity die owning it. It is never converted to a life income. Essentially it serves as a longer term “rainy day” fund than a CD. The fact that the interest earned is not currently taxable is an attractive feature and makes the money grow faster than a taxable CD.

However, at some point the piper must be paid. When someone dies holding an annuity and leave it to their children, the children are required to pay the tax on the gain. You may have heard this referred to as the annuity “ticking time bomb”.

There is a way to avert this time bomb tax, provide long term care for yourself and not take any money out of your budget. There are several ways to skin this cat…

a. If your annuity is large enough, simply take the 10% penalty-free withdrawals each year and move them into a 10-pay long term care plan.
b. The only mental deterrent that comes up on this suggestion is that there may be remaining surrender charges on the annuity. No problem. Most companies allow you to annuitize. If the annuity pay-out period is at least 10 years, most of them waive any surrender charges.

3. Exchange all or a portion of a CD, non-qualified deferred annuity, variable annuity or IRA for an annuity/long term care combination plan.

This entails simply moving money “from one of your pockets to another”. The difference is that the pocket to which the money is moved has long term care benefits in it as well. This technique also uses the “asset based” long term care plan approach.

So there you have it. Three ways to get long term care without a premium coming out of your pocket.

About the Author: Robert D. Cavanaugh, CLU is a 36 year financial and estate planning veteran and author of the free newsletter, “The Estate Preservation Advisor”. To subscribe and get the free video, “How to Sell Your Life Insurance Policy for More Than the Cash Value”, go to

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