From the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

As Americans age, long-term care insurance may prove one of the most important insurance products on the market. The coverage pays for assistance when a person is unable to care for himself or herself because of a prolonged illness or disability, and it might make a smart addition to your benefits package.

According to Murray A. Gordon, president of Maga Ltd., an insurance agency based in Deerfield, Illinois, that specializes in long-term care insurance, the coverage offers advantages to both employers and employees. Like health insurance, employer-paid premiums are usually tax-deductible, benefits are tax-free, and employees can take their coverage with them if they retire or leave the company.

Another advantage is that you don't have to offer it to all employees. "With long-term care, you can do a carve-out, for example, for key employees, or [use it to] reward employees who have had a certain number of years of service," says Gordon. Also, most policies allow employees to buy up from the core benefit, as well as purchase coverage for extended family members--great for baby boomers with aging parents.

Long-term care insurance is complex, and evaluating various polices takes time. Gordon advises doing independent research and then shopping for an agent with expertise in this type of coverage before making a final decision.


Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.