Does Mass Mutual offer the best long term care insurance policy?
*****UPDATE February 7, 2019. This Mass Mutual Signature Care 500 LTC Policy has just been withdrawn in 39 states. It is replaced by the Mass Mutual Signature Care 600 policy. The new Mass Mutual Signature Care 600 policy will now have MUCH higher pricing, as well as gender distinct rates (women will pay significantly more premium than men). We will have an updated review shortly, although our preliminary information of the new available Signature Care 600 policy series is not favorable.*****
Every consumer advocate advises to buy your long term care insurance policy from a company with strong financial ratings. The reason being, your claim might be 20 to 30 years away. You want your company to live as long as you live, and be there for you at claim time.
There are a number of independent rating agencies that review the financial health of insurance companies and assign a rating to the companies. These ratings allow consumers to compare directly the strength and claims paying ability of one insurer with another insurer.
The most widely used life insurance company rating agencies are AM Best, Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, and Weiss. A Comdex score is also assigned each insurer on a scale of 1-100 with a score of 100 being the highest to allow consumers to directly compare insurance companies with one another.
In the long term care insurance arena Mass Mutual garners superior financial ratings across the board and is thus a company that deserves consideration from every consumer.
Mass Mutual Financial Ratings
AM Best A++ (1)
Standard & Poor's AA+ (2)
Moody's Aa2 (3)
Fitch AA+ (2)
Weiss A (2)
Review of Signature Care - The Mass Mutual Long Term Care Insurance Policy
(If you are looking for the review of the Mass Mutual Care Choice One hybrid whole life/long term care insurance policy sold through Fidelity Investments please see the following link)
Mass Mutual offers a fairly straight-forward traditional long term care insurance policy. Like almost every policy today, Mass Mutual's LTC policy is a reimbursement model. In other words, as a policyholder you are reimbursed by Mass Mutual for your out-of-pocket long term care expenses.
At the time of claim, you submit receipts for your expenses to Mass Mutual and you are reimbursed.
Qualifying for benefits with Mass Mutual
Mass Mutual is a tax-qualified long term care insurance policy. Benefits are tax-free, and premiums are tax-deductible, subject to IRC guidelines. Qualifying for long term care benefits under tax-qualified policies require for you to be:
1) unable to perform 2 of 6 activities of daily living without substantial assistance of another individual; or having
2) a severe cognitive impairment requiring verbal cueing so as not to be a threat to your safety or to the safety of others
Core Benefit Options for you to consider
If you are eligible to receive benefits Mass Mutual will reimburse you according to the benefits you purchased.
Benefit options are as follows:
Daily benefit choice of between $50-$400
Benefit periods of 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years or 6 years
Shared Care rider is available with benefit periods of 2 years and 3 years. Mass Mutual offers a 3rd pool of money design with Shared Care.
Inflation protection options of 3% compound and 5% compound are available.
Waiting periods of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 180 days are available
Additional options to consider
Like most long term care insurance policies, Mass Mutual will allow you to customize your benefits for additional flexibility. You may elect to receive your home care benefits on a monthly basis rather than daily; Waiver of Home Care Elimination Period is also available, as is a Paid-Up Spousal Survivorship benefit.
Advantages of Mass Mutual Signature Care Long Term Care Insurance
The main advantage of the Mass Mutual policy is you are buying a policy with an A++ rated mutual company.
Mass Mutual is a mutual company owned by its policyholders. This is a very important distinction from stock companies such as Genworth, Transamerica, Bankers Life, et al. All things being equal I would prefer to be with a mutual company at claim-time than with a stock company that may be beholden to the needs of shareholders rather than policyholders.
Independent home caregivers are covered
Mass Mutual is one of the few remaining companies that allow you as the policyholder to receive home health care provided by a caregiver that is independent of a home care agency. Many companies today, for example Transamerica, and Genworth will require you to use a home care agency to provide your caregiver. This will be more expensive for you, and obviously less flexible.
(In addition to Mass Mutual, Mutual of Omaha also allows independent providers).
Pricing of Mass Mutual Long Term Care Insurance (as of November 9, 2015)
Rates depend upon many factors including your age, your health history, your plan design, and your State of residence.
Generally speaking Mass Mutual is one of 4 carriers that will offer the most competitive premiums today for a broad age spectrum of applicants, men and women, across all states: Mass Mutual, Mutual of Omaha, Genworth, and National Guardian Life
However, in comparison to other A++ rated mutual companies, Mass Mutual's pricing is often the best.
For example consider the current sample rates for a 60 year old healthy married female applicant living in Maryland.
Policy benefits of $4500 month, 3 year benefit period, 3% compound inflation protection and a 90 day waiting period.
Genworth $1691/yr. (B rated AM Best)
Mass Mutual $1708/yr. (A++ rated AM Best)
Mutual of Omaha $2024/yr. (A+ rated AM Best)
Thrivent $2784 (A+ rated AM best)
Northwestern Mutual $3321/yr. (A++ rated AM Best)
New York Life AARP $4305/year (A++ rated AM Best)
The only company less expensive than Mass Mutual for a 60 year old married female applicant is Genworth Financial (B rated by AM Best).
However, when Mass Mutual is compared with its direct A++ rated competitors New York Life and Northwestern Mutual it is apparent that Mass Mutual's rates are actually excellent. (The New York Life and Northwestern Mutual rates, on the other hand, are awful for women).
Should the female applicant be single rather than married, Mass Mutual will provide lower rates than all underwriters including Genworth.
For this reason, Mass Mutual really deserves to be on every list as one of the best long term care insurance policies available today.
*****UPDATE***** As of February 2015, many companies have had pricing changes for female applicants, most notably AARP New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, Genworth, Mutual of Omaha, Thrivent Financial, and Transamerica.
Mass Mutual does not price long term care insurance based upon gender. Today, Mass Mutual is often the most competitively priced company rated "A" or better for female applicants.
See also: Buyer beware: New York Life Secure Care/AARP is the most expensive LTC policy ever.
The Mass Mutual Signature Care policy is a fairly straight-forward long term care insurance policy. Mass Mutual is an extremely fair underwriter but Mass Mutual is not an overly aggressive underwriter that accepts impaired risk such as prior stroke history or insulin dependent diabetics as some carriers do (this is a positive attribute---if possible you want to be with a conservative underwriter).
In pricing, Mass Mutual (along with Mutual of Omaha, National Guardian Life, and Genworth) typically offers one of the lesser expensive traditional long term care insurance policies available today. It is assuredly on the competitive end of the pricing scale for traditional stand-alone long term care insurance.
(The Mass Mutual CareChoice One hybrid whole life policy with long term care rider pushed by Fidelity Investments is not a good value, however)
Most importantly, in addition to good pricing, what Mass Mutual does offer to consumers is conservative responsible underwriting and strong financial ratings.
And isn't this what you want today as a consumer.
Long Term Care Insurance Quotes
Compare your best long term care insurance options today. To receive free long term care insurance quotes from the leading underwriters such as Mass Mutual, Mutual of Omaha, Northwestern Mutual, Transamerica, Lincoln Moneyguard, Pacific Life, State Life, Nationwide and more, please call me direct at (800) 891-5824. or complete my quote request form.