(AP) - 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.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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