The Tax Deductibility of LTC Insurance Premiums

Premiums for “qualified” long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax-deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare premiums), exceed a certain percentage of the insured’s adjusted gross income.

These premiums — what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force — are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents as long as they exceed 10 percent.  For taxpayers 65 and older, this threshold will be 7.5 percent through 2016.  Those who are self-employed can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as they made a net profit; their medical expenses do not have to exceed a certain percentage of their income.  What is deductible as a medical expense is spelled out in Internal Revenue Service Publication 502.

However, there is a limit on how large a premium can be deducted, depending on the age of the taxpayer at the end of the year. Following are the deductibility limits for the current and past year. Any premium amounts for the year above these limits are not considered to be a medical expense. (The limits are adjusted annually with inflation.)

Age attained before   the
end of the taxable year

Amount allowed as a   medical expense in

2013

2014

40 or under

$360

$370

41-50

$680

$700

51-60

$1,360

$1,400

61-70

$3,640

$3,720

71 or older

$4,550

$4,660

To be “qualified,” policies must adhere to regulations established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Among the requirements are that the policy must offer the consumer the options of “inflation” and “nonforfeiture” protection, although the consumer can choose not to purchase these features.

The policies must also offer both activities of daily living (ADL) and cognitive impairment triggers, but may not offer a medical necessity trigger. “Triggers” are conditions that must be present for a policy to be activated. Under the ADL trigger, benefits may begin only when the beneficiary needs assistance with at least two of six ADLs. The ADLs are: eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing or continence. In addition, a licensed health care practitioner must certify that the need for assistance with the ADLs is reasonably expected to continue for at least 90 days. Under a cognitive impairment trigger, coverage begins when the individual has been certified to require substantial supervision to protect him or her from threats to health and safety due to cognitive impairment.

Policies purchased before January 1, 1997, are grandfathered and treated as “qualified” as long as they have been approved by the insurance commissioner of the state in which they are sold. Most individual policies must receive approval from the insurance commission in the state in which they are sold, while most group policies do not require this approval. To determine whether a particular policy will be grandfathered, policyholders should check with their insurance broker or with their state’s insurance commission.

About Jeffrey Berson

40 years in and around the industry has made Insurance a part of my DNA. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the greatest minds in our industry. My "Bersonal" View is an attempt to capture some of the best ideas, the best concepts and the best practices in a way that can lead to success for others. It will certainly be my point of view, so please...don't take it "Bersonal".
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One Response to The Tax Deductibility of LTC Insurance Premiums

  1. Steve Fisher says:

    They never make it easy do they? Good info Jeff!

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