The prospect of needing long-term care may be far from your mind today, but circumstances can change. A long-term care event can happen at any age, and the potential financial and emotional strain that comes with it can have an impact on you and your loved ones.
Did you know that millions of Americans require long-term care during their lifetime1, which includes the need for either cognitive or physical assistance with simple tasks such as bathing, eating and dressing -- trivial things most of us do every day without a second thought? This type of care can be expensive and is generally not covered by traditional health insurance plans, including Tricare, Tricare For Life, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, and Medicare. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits may cover long-term care, but coverage is based on available funding and limited to those with service-connected disabilities.
That's where the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) comes in. Sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the FLTCIP was established in 2002 as a result of an act of Congress called the Long-Term Care Security Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-265). Since then, the FLTCIP has offered active and retired members of the uniformed services the opportunity to help take control of their future long-term care needs.
Active and retired members of the uniformed services and federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants are eligible to apply for FLTCIP coverage. The following family members are also eligible to apply, even if you don't:
- Spouses and domestic partners of eligible active and retired members of the uniformed services
- Parents, parents-in-law and stepparents of living eligible active members of the uniformed services; parents of retirees are not eligible
- Adult children of living eligible active and retired members of the uniformed services
Coverage Under the FLTCIP
- The FLTCIP offers coverage in a variety of settings -- at home or in a facility, such as an assisted living facility, an adult day care or a nursing center -- and your choice of caregiver.
- The stay-at-home benefit includes a range of covered services that support care in your home, helping you maintain your quality of life in familiar surroundings.
- Informal care can be provided by friends and family members, as long as they do not live in your home at the time you become eligible for benefits. (Benefits for family care are limited to 500 days.)
- The premium stabilization feature is designed to reduce the potential need for future premium increases. Under certain conditions, this feature may be used to offset your future premium payments or provide a refund of premium death benefit to your estate or designated beneficiary.
- The FLTCIP is portable and guaranteed renewable, which means you can continue to keep your coverage as long as you pay your premiums.
One thing to keep in mind as you and your family members consider applying for this insurance coverage is that premiums are based on your age, so the younger you are when you apply, the lower your premiums will be.
Of the 267,000 federal family members enrolled in the FLTCIP, more than 50% started their coverage before age 55.
Talk candidly with your family members and tell them about the FLTCIP. By starting the conversation and applying for the FLTCIP prior to needing care, you can help prepare for the unexpected and bring peace of mind to yourself and your family.
Get the Coverage Your Family Needs
FSGLI, TSGLI, VGLI, SGLI ... the long list of acronyms and bare minimums may not be enough to cover your family's needs. Explore life insurance options with our free tool, which compares rates and matches you to the coverage you want.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Long Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview," www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nsltcp/long_term_care_services_2013.pdf (accessed May 2020).