A move to a foreign country can devastate a person’s long-term-care (LTC) insurance benefits. Many LTC policies do not cover foreign care at all, and those that do tend to significantly restrict benefits, sometimes slashing them to half what the policy would pay in the US…or to just one year of coverage. Even those restricted benefits might be difficult to use abroad if the policy pays for only licensed caregivers and there is no licensing procedure in the country. For details, look for a heading labeled “International Benefits” (or something similar) in your policy or check the sections of the policy that list exclusions.
If your policy does not offer extensive foreign benefits, you still could retire overseas and then return to the US if you require extensive long-term care.
Currently the insurer MedAmerica offers policies that provide full international coverage with an option to receive the benefits in cash, which allows more flexibility in selecting caregivers. MedAmerica policies can be pricey, but women and couples might find that they’re no more expensive than other companies’ coverage at the moment—MedAmerica is one of the few issuers that has not yet imposed higher premiums on women.
The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program, which is available to current and retired federal and postal employees as well as members of the military, also offers relatively strong international coverage. It provides up to 80% of the policy’s normal benefit amounts when policyholders seek care outside the US.
John Hancock policies provide 100% of the normal benefit amount abroad, but for only one year. Genworth policies tend to cover up to four years of nursing home coverage abroad with benefits capped at 50% of the normal benefit amount…and one year of home health care capped at 25%.