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As an outcome, if the couple think they are likely to incur the majority of their claims after age group 84, are going to better off with the 5% plan, says Mr. Thau. But if they think they shall submit the majority of their claims before reaching 84, the 3% plan is the better solution. A different type of inflation safety that is now popular is a so-called guaranteed-purchase, or future-purchase, option.

These permit the insured to buy inflation protection in installments as time passes. Bonnie Burns, policy, and training specialist for California Health Advocates, a nonprofit advocacy and education corporation, warns from this approach. While initially much cheaper than policies that secure inflation protection first, the rates become significantly more expensive as inflation coverage is bought at an older age range, says Ms. Burns.

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Some households with long-term-care insurance policies encounter claims denials that can prevent or postpone the collection of benefits. But there are ways to avoid future problems. The key: Before buying, be familiar with the meanings and terms of the contract so you will know when and how you can use the huge benefits, says David Wolf, who owns a long-term-care insurance planning firm in Spokane, Wash.

Still, just because you are eligible for benefits doesn’t suggest your insurer will pay your claims right away. To reduce rates, policyholders typicallychoose a waiting, or “elimination,” amount of up to 3 months before benefits activate. Moreover, some policies calculate the elimination period utilizing a “calendar-day” method. This requires someone with, say, a 90-day removal period to hold back 3 months before getting benefits.

But others use a “service day” approach in which the insurer matters only the times the policyholder foots the expenses for his or her care, using certified caregivers. All simple things being equal, Mr. Wolf says he’d go with the calendar-day approach. But most companies sell inexpensive riders that either convert guidelines to the calendar-day method or give policyholders who pay for one day of care credit for the entire week, he says. So, if a policy with the service-day strategy were to match a client’s needs best, he recommends buying one of these riders simply.

Some contracts mandate the use of home-care organizations with specific licenses. Mr. Wolf favors policies that give beneficiaries the flexibility to hire “home-care” organizations, which provide help with dressing, bathing, and other types of personal treatment. These firms generally charge less and are more abundant than “home-health-care” agencies, which dispense skilled health care, he says. Mr. Wolf recommends a rider that let us policyholders choose a regular also, than a daily rather, benefit.