MassMutual’s CareChoice One Review – Asset Protection With Some Long-Term Care Coverage
MassMutual is a highly rated and well-known life insurance company. It currently has over 160 years of experience and offers a diverse suite of insurance products. One of those products is their hybrid long-term care insurance policy named “CareChoice One.”
CareChoice One offers benefits in three ways:
- It offers long-term care protection in the event you need long-term care
- There is a death benefit in case you pass away and never need care
- It offers a strong guaranteed surrender value if you ever change your mind
In addition, CareChoice One is a dividend receiving policy. While dividends may not be guaranteed, MassMutual has a strong history of consistently paying dividends.
Now when folks consider this product, they are looking for some level of long-term care protection. However, with other available products on the market, we have to wonder if CareChoice One is a good choice.
In order to make this determination, we must compare CareChoice One to other hybrid long-term care policies and draw our conclusions from there.
Let’s first talk about who should consider CareChoice One as an option.
Who Should Consider CareChoice One?
If you are interested in simply getting the most long-term care insurance possible, CareChoice One is not for you.
You see, CareChoice One is not designed to offer the most long-term care benefits.
Instead, CareChoice One is designed to offer some level of asset protection, some level of cash value growth, and some level of long-term care insurance.
Therefore, think of CareChoice One as offering “a little bit of everything.”
However, with other hybrid long-term care insurance products, your premium is being leveraged to achieve the most long-term care insurance possible.
In comparsion to other hybrid long-term care policies, CareChoice One is underwhelming on long-term care benefits.
It does however offer a decent death benefit and cash value growth. This is especially true if the policy is receiving dividends over the years.
For a hybrid long-term care policy, CareChoice One has the potential to offer a higher than average death benefit as well as cash value growth. However, this is only true IF the policy is receiving consistent dividends in the form of paid-up additions.
Therefore, to determine if CareChoice One is right for you, simply ask yourself:
“Do I want to maximize my long-term care coverage or do I want a product that grows my money while offering some level of long-term care insurance?”
Think of it this way, do you want long-term care insurance as the main course or simply as a side dish?
How you answer will best determine if CareChoice One is a good choice for you.
Now let’s take some time to explore how a CareChoice One policy actually works.
How Does CareChoice One Work?
CareChoice One is a whole life insurance policy with a long-term care insurance rider. The policy works by allocating your premium towards long-term care insurance, a death benefit, and a guaranteed surrender value.
In the event you need long-term care, the policy will first accelerate your death benefit to provide you with coverage. Once the accelerate death benefit is exhausted, CareChoice One will then provide you with an extension of long-term care coverage.
The total amount of coverage that will be provided to you is considered you long-term care benefit pool. All of this will be featured in the illustration provided to you by your MassMutual agent.
Comparing CareChoice One To Other Policies
When considering any hybrid long-term care policy, it is recommended you get familiarized with the “5 Things To Review In Every Hybrid Long-term Care Insurance Policy.”
Here are the 5 things to consider in any hybrid long-term care policy:
- Long-Term Care Benefit Amount
- Benefit Period
- Elimination Period
- Inflation Protection
- Premium Payment Options
These 5 areas are essential to the makeup of a hybrid long-term care policy’s performance.
Now if we compare CareChoice One to other hybrid long-term care policies, we will see that CareChoice One falls short in 3 out of the 5 areas of interest:
- Long-Term Care Benefit Amount
- Benefit Period
- Inflation Protection Option
Let’s look at these three shortfalls of CareChoice One in more detail.
CareChoice One Offer Less Long-Term Care Benefits Than Competitors
MassMutual’s CareChoice One offers overpriced coverage compared to other long-term care insurance policies.
For example, a $100,000 premium deposit from a 60 year old male can get a total long-term care benefit pool of $306,050.
Now CareChoice One policies can receive dividends which can grow the long-term care benefit pool. This is reflected in the non-guaranteed tables. However, as stated, these values are NOT guaranteed.
Yes MassMutual undoubtedly has a strong history of paying out dividends. However, wouldn’t you prefer to buy a policy that has all its future benefits guaranteed from Day 1?
Therefore, let’s consider another hybrid long-term care insurance like Nationwide CareMatters. This is a well-know hybrid long-term care insurance policy due to its cash indemnity benefits.
Now for the same $100,000 in premium, a 60 year old male can get $405,486 on Day 1 guaranteed!
That’s an extra $100,000 in long-term care coverage!
CareChoice One Has A Shorter Benefit Period Than Its Competitors
The benefit period is the amount of time your policy will pay the maximum monthly long-term care benefit.
CareChoice One policies only offer a guaranteed 4 year benefit period.
However, based on the illustration above for Nationwide CareMatters, that $100,000 deposit bought a 7 year guaranteed benefit period.
Therefore CareChoice One has a shorter benefit period by 3 years.
Nationwide CareMatters would pay long-term care benefits almost twice as long as CareChoice One for the same $100,000 premium deposit!
CareChoice One Offers Highly Expensive Inflation Protection Option
Last but not least, is CareChoice One has an extremely expensive inflation protection option.
As a matter of fact, CareChoice One is typically designed without an inflation protection option for this very reason.
Now the inflation protection option in any long-term care policy is very important. This feature allows for your long-term care benefit pool to grow at a consistent rate to keep up with inflation.
CareChoice One’s inflation protection option is significantly more expensive than its competitors.
Here is a snap shot from a CareChoice One illustration regarding inflation protection. Take a look at the last line of the illustration:
“If you would like to have inflation protection with an initial LTC Benefit Pool of $306,050 you will need to purchase a substantially larger policy with a significantly higher premium.“CareChoice One Revised Illustration (Narrative Summary Inflation Protection Paragraph 3)
MassMutual admits to their inflation protection being significantly higher in premium if you choose this option.
However, this is not the case with other hybrid long-term care insurance policies.
The Nationwide CareMatters example used in our comparison already had a 3% compound inflation option built into the $100,000 premium.
Unlike CareChoice One, other hybrid long-term care insurance products are designed to have inflation protection at a reasonable cost.
Therefore, based on our comparison, we can see how CareChoice One compares as a long-term care insurance policy:
|Area of Interest||CareChoice One||Nationwide CareMatters|
|Long-Term Care Benefit Amount||$306,050||$405,486|
|Benefit Period||4 Year Benefit Period||7 Year Benefit Period|
|Inflation Protection Option||None; Highly Expensive||3% Compound Interest|
There are much better long-term care insurance options available including Nationwide CareMatters.
If you are looking at CareChoice One for solely long-term care benefits, I recommend you definitely consider other options.
Conclusion – CareChoice One Is Only Recommended for Select Individuals
As we can see, CareChoice One does not give us much to consider as a long-term care insurance option. Instead, it gives us a few reasons to disregard it as an option.
HOWEVER, I do like CareChoice One as an option for select individuals. Again, this product is for someone looking for more balanced benefits out of their hybrid policy.
Not everyone wants to pool $100,000 into a policy simply for long-term care insurance. They may want asset protection and growth while offering some level of long-term care insurance.
If this person is you, then I would recommend CareChoice One in that instance. CareChoice One has the potential to grow your death benefit and cash value while still offering some long-term care insurance protection.
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