Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Review – An “Average” Policy
Pacific Life currently offers a Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance policy called Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max.
Like any hybrid long-term care policy, it offers you standard long-term care protection. Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max offers:
- Long-term care benefits if you ever require long-term care services
- A death benefit in the event long-term care services are not needed
- A 100% return of premium if you change your mind
In addition, it also offers you guaranteed premiums. However, although Pacific Life PremierCare offers you standard protection, I find the product to be average at best.
Unlike its competitors, Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max has no key feature(s) that truly sets it apart.
Here are some examples of other products that offer additional benefits:
- Lincoln Financial’s MoneyGuard offers no elimination period for all eligible claims
- OneAmerica’s AssetCare offers joint policies and unlimited lifetime benefits
- Nationwide’s CareMatters offers a 100% cash benefit option
As we will see, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max does not offer any useful or special benefits that make it stand out.
Also, while Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max may not be the most expensive product, it definitely is not the least expensive.
Therefore, what it lacks in features, it does not make up for in affordability.
Simply put, it falls short on qualities and price to make it a stand-out hybrid long-term care insurance policy.
Nevertheless, let’s breakdown how this product works and see how it compares in benefits to other products.
First, let’s begin by answering some common questions.
How Does Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Work?
Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max is a whole life insurance policy with a qualified long-term care insurance rider. This hybrid combination offers you benefits in three different ways:
- It offers long-term care coverage in the event you need long-term care services
- A death benefit to your beneficiaries if you never need care &
- A return of premium if you ever change your mind.
Such guaranteed benefits will give you the assurance that your long-term care needs will be met and your funds will always be available if long-term care is not needed.
Now PremierCare Choice Max uses an Accelerated Benefits Rider to pay long-term care benefits from the life insurance policy.
After the life insurance benefit is exhausted, the policy then uses an Extended Benefits Rider to continue to pay long-term care benefits.
Between the Accelerated Benefits Rider and the Extended Benefits Rider, a PremierCare Choice Max policy may have a benefit period of up to 8 years!
That’s up to 8 years of long-term care coverage and protection!
In addition to this, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice offers a 3% simple, 5% simple, and 5% compound Inflation Protection Option.
The Inflation Protection Option helps your policy’s LTC benefits keep up with the future rising costs of long-term care services.
Let’s move on to ways a PremierCare Choice Max policy can be funded.
How Is Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Funded?
A Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max policy can be funded using a single premium deposit. For recurring premiums, you would apply for the PremierCare Choice Multi-Pay policy
PremierCare Choice gives you the option to make recurring premium payments over 5 or 10 years as well as a life pay option.
Funding sources for PremierCare Choice Max can come from a number of sources. Examples of funding sources include:
- A portion of your savings
- Cash value from an existing life insurance policy
PremierCare Choice Max provides you with a number of funding options to fit your needs. Now, let’s look at how to to qualify for a policy.
How Can I Qualify For Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max?
To be able to qualify for Pacific Life PremierCare Choice, you must be between the ages of 30-75.
The policy offers two rate classes: Non-smoker and Smoker.
Both risk classes offer a couples discount for applicants who are married, in a state sanctioned civil union, or are in a domestic partnership.
However, both spouses do not have to apply in order to receive the couples discount.
Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max offers a streamlined application and underwriting process.
This streamlined process consists of gathering basic information and conducting a personal history telephone interview.
An Attending Physician’s Statement is also required for applicants age 50 and over.
What LTC Services Does Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Cover?
Now Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max covers a range of long-term care services including:
- Facility-Based Services
- Nursing Homes
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Hospice Care Facilities
- Home & Community-Based Services
- Adult Day Care Centers
- Home Health Care
- Alternative Care
- Home Modifications
As we can see, PremierCare Choice Max provides you with the option to receive care in a number of places. The policy also covers the cost of durable medical equipment that may be needed during a long-term care event.
Now Pacific Life’s PremireCare Choice Max is somewhat unique as it offers two ways to receive benefits. Let’s take a look at this unique feature.
How Does Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Pay Benefits?
Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max is unique among other hybrids as it can provide benefits in one of two ways: reimbursement or cash indemnity.
Most hybrid LTC policies pay benefits by reimbursement. On the other hand, only two today offer a cash indemnity option.
However, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max lets you choose your benefit payment method.
If you choose to receive your benefits via reimbursement, you would have to submit bills or receipts to Pacific Life for your benefits to be disbursed.
However, if you select to receive benefits as cash benefits, Pacific Life will mail you a check every month up to the maximum monthly benefit amount listed in your policy.
Unfortunately, there is one important caveat regarding their cash indemnity option.
Selecting your benefits to be paid via cash indemnity will reduce your policy’s total LTC benefit pool.
Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max will only pay about 80% of your total LTC benefit pool if you choose cash indemnity. In addition, you cannot change your benefit payment method once you start receiving benefits.
While offering a cash indemnity option is great, the 20% loss of benefits is quite discouraging. This is especially true when products like Nationwide’s CareMatters offers 100% cash indemnity benefits of your total LTC benefit pool.
Nevertheless, let’s continue by examining some of PremierCare’s not so special key features.
Key Features of Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max:
0-Day Elimination Period For Home-Based LTC Services
(Reimbursement Benefit Payment Option Only)
Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max offers a 0-day elimination period for Home-Based Long-Term Care services. This feature is not unique to Pacific Life as there are other carriers who offer this feature.
In addition, this feature is only available under the reimbursement benefit payment option.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that 65% of people who need long-term care services are receiving it at home.
Therefore, this is a great feature to have since most long-term care claims begin at home.
If you go on claims and you are receiving care at home, you don’t have to wait 90 days before receiving benefit payments with this policy.
This feature also results in huge cost savings for you. For example, let’s say the cost of care in your home state is $5,000 a month. A 0-day elimination period could result in over $10,000 in cost savings!
Flexible Benefit Payments (Reimbursement or Cash Indemnity)
Just to reiterate, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max gives you the choice to receive your benefits either as reimbursements or as cash indemnity at the time of claim.
We already discussed in detail in the “How Does Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max Pay Claims?” section. Therefore, you may click the link to go back and review the information there.
Your benefit payment option is selected at the time you go on claims and not at the time you apply for coverage. Therefore, this gives you time to decide which option is right for you.
This is the only Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance policy that offers you this added flexibility.
100% Return of Premium
In addition to the other features, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice also offers a 100% return of premium on all of their policies.
Again, this feature is not exclusive to PremierCare Choice Max as other products currently offer this feature.
This policy offers a built-in vesting schedule for the return of your premium. Therefore, as the years go by, you have access to a higher return of premium.
With a PremierCare Choice Max policy, you have access to a full return of premium typically after 15 years.
This is a decent feature as it offers the peace of mind that you can always get back your full premium deposit at some point and time – assuming you have not made any policy distributions in the form of a loan, LTC benefit claim, etc.
Now that we’ve discussed these key features, let’s see how Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max compares to other products.
How Does Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max Compare to Hybrid LTC Products?
Now Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max definitely meets the standard in the Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance market.
However, if we were to compare PremierCare Choice Max to its competitors, we would need to look at the following 5 categories:
- Long-Term Care Benefit Pool (LTC Benefit Amount)
- Benefit Periods
- Elimination Periods
- Inflation Protection Options
- Premium Payment Options
(For a detailed description of these 5 categories and how they affect a hybrid-LTC insurance policy, please read our post “5 Things to Review In Every Hybrid Long-term Care Policy.”)
Now earlier in this post, we stated that PremierCare Choice Max allows you to select a benefit period of up to 8 years and also offers flexible premium payment options.
Hence, PremierCare Choice Max shows it performs well in 2 of the 5 categories – Benefit Periods & Premium Payment Options.
In addition, it also offers a 0-day elimination period for home healthcare. That’s one less category to consider – Elimination Period.
That leaves us to consider looking at the LTC Benefit Pool, and Inflation Protection Options.
For the Inflation Protection Options, Pacific Life’s PremierCare does not offer the industry standard 3% compound inflation option.
However, it does offer a 5% compound inflation option that most companies offer.
Hence, we know it competes in the Inflation Protection category and this leaves us with one remaining category to consider – the Long-Term Care Benefit Pool (Benefit Amount)
Using simply the Long-Term Care Benefit Pool, we can see how well Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max compares to other products.
We are going to compare Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice to Nationwide’s CareMatters. Let’s begin our comparison.
Pacific Life PremierCare Choice Max vs. Nationwide CareMatters
Case Study: 55 Year Old Male
Tom is a 55 year old married male in Pennsylvania looking to get a Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance policy for himself.
Tom has $75,000 in savings that he would like to use to secure a policy.
Based on what Tom is willing to deposit, let’s see what Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max and Nationwide’s CareMatters can offer him.
Below you will see a quote from Pacific Life. It is based on a 7 year benefit period and 5% compound inflation option.
Pacific Life PremierCare Choice
For a $75,000 deposit, Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max provides Tom with a starting Long-Term Care Benefit Pool of $261,623. That is a $2,677 monthly benefit for 7 years.
At age 80, due to the 5% compound inflation, that LTC benefit pool will increase to $885,948. That results in a $9,067 monthly benefit paid for 7 years.
You can find this information in the third and fourth rows of the table above.
Also, if you look at the last row of Tom’s Pacific Life quote, you’ll see that he will only receive 80% of his benefits if he chooses the cash indemnity benefit option.
Therefore, if Tom wants his full benefits, he should choose the reimbursement option when he goes on claims.
Now let’s see what Nationwide’s CareMatters will get Tom for his $75,000 deposit.
Nationwide’s CareMatters II
That’s about $10,000 more in LTC benefits than what Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice will offer Tom!
Nationwide’s starting Long-Term Care Benefit Pool will provide $2,781 in monthly benefits for 7 years.
In addition, this would be a cash benefit paid out to Tom every month!
Now, with the 5% compound interest inflation protection option, Tom’s LTC Benefit Pool will increase to $920,180 at age 80.
That’s over $30,000 more in long-term care benefits Nationwide offers to Tom at age 80 compared to Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max!
Also, if at age 80 Tom experienced a long-term care event, Nationwide would provide him with a monthly cash benefit of $9,418 for 7 years!
That’s right, Nationwide’s CareMatters will provide Tom with a 100% cash benefit.
Unlike PremierCare Choice, there is no reduction in benefits for receiving this cash option.
So what can we conclude regarding Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max in comparison to a product like Nationwide’s CareMatters?
Conclusion – Pacific Life PremierCare Max Is Second Place
Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice provides decent coverage. However, as we’ve just seen, there are more competitive products that offer higher coverage than Pacific Life’s PremireCare Choice Max.
In addition, other carriers don’t reduce your benefits in order for you to receive a cash benefit option.
Therefore, if you were considering Pacific Life’s PremierCare Choice Max, I would recommend taking a look at Nationwide’s CareMatters instead as it has shown to be a better option.
I would be more than happy to assist you and show you a personalized comparison of both products.
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Michael B. Chapman