Americans’ life expectancies have risen considerably. A male who has reached age 65 is now expected to live to age 86.6, and a 65-year-old female is expected to reach age 88.8. With more people living longer, there is more time to enjoy the golden years — but also a greater possibility that the elderly will need long-term care and the danger that they will outlive their retirement savings.
Insurers offer a number of policies to cover such situations, including stand-alone long-term care insurance policies and the option of adding a long-term care rider to one’s existing life insurance. Critical care riders are yet another option.
A critical care rider, also known as a chronic illness rider, can be added to a life insurance policy, allowing the policyholder to tap death benefits to reimburse a health care facility that provided care or family members who paid for it. The benefits are tax-free, usually up to $330 per day, and the remainder of the death benefit goes to one’s beneficiaries.
Critical care riders are becoming more popular. In part, this is because the riders can be paid out for any costs related to a medical condition, without the need to qualify expenses or provide receipts; such ease is not available with long-term care insurance.
Policyholders may expect to pay an additional 10 to 20 percent of their premiums for a critical care rider.