Comparing Critical Illness Riders and Long-Term Care Riders

November 18, 2022

Long-term care planning involves looking at your wealth portfolio and determining how to instruct your family to pay for any long-term care you may need. Long-term care costs in Maryland can be very expensive, often averaging more than $10,000 per month. Some clients choose to designate certain funds to pay for this care and allow their estate to be depleted as a result. Others purchase life insurance to replace for their beneficiaries the amount used up.

Some clients purchase long-term care insurance for the purpose of paying these expenses. An increasingly popular alternative to traditional long-term care insurance is to purchase life insurance with a rider that pays for care. Since traditional policies are structured in a use-it-or-lose-it manner, the life insurance with a rider option is appealing to many clients. The two most popular riders are the long-term care rider and the critical illness rider.

Comparing the Riders:

What is the Benefit?

With the LTC rider the death benefit of the life insurance policy is accelerated to pay for care costs. With the chronic illness rider, the death benefit may be accelerated in the event of a chronic illness.


To accelerate the death benefits under a LTC rider, a health professional must certify that the policy owner is unable to perform two or more activities of daily living (ADLs) or is cognitively impaired. Impairment can be temporary or permanent. To accelerate the death benefit under a critical illness rider, the health professional must also certify that either the policy holder is unable to perform two or more ADLs or is cognitively impaired. The impairment cannot be temporary and the health professional must certify that there is not a likely potential for recovery.

How Are Benefits Paid?

With LTC riders, most policies are reimbursement based. Once the policy owner pays for the care, he or she can provide proof and seek to be reimbursed. With critical illness, it may be given as cash and used for any purpose.


Neither type of benefit is typically taxable.

Elimination Period

The most common elimination period for both types of riders is 90 days. The policy owner is out-of-pocket for care expenses during the first 90 days.

Other Perks

With the LTC riders, some allow the owner to pay extra and receive a full return of premium and/or guard against inflation. These are typically not available with critical illness riders.

To get started on a proactive long-term care plan to help you and your family know the best way to pay for care, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at

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