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National Guardian Life Long-term Care Insurance

4.6 Stars
Updated: January 20, 2023
By: Jonathan Trout
Jonathan Trout
Content Manager
Jonathan is a former product and content manager for Retirement Living. His background spans sales/marketing, finance, and telecommunications. Jonathan’s expertise in consumer wellness and research-backed data stories helped educate seniors on financial planning, retirement, and community resources. Jonathan graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Environmental Sociology.
Content Manager
Edited By: Lauren Hamer
Lauren Hamer
Sr. Editor
Bringing more than a decade of editorial experience to Retirement Living, Lauren focuses on reporting senior-related issues, including retirement planning, finance, consumer protection, and health and wellness. Lauren has edited consumer content for Credible, Angi, Slickdeals, Jobs for the Future, and more.
Sr. Editor

National Guardian Life Insurance Company has been in business for more than 100 years. The company serves over 1 million policyholders with a variety of life, health, and EssentialLTC long-term care insurance. What sets National Guardian’s EssentialLTC apart from most other long-term care insurance are the many options available to fine-tune your policy, like lifetime benefits, flexible payments and more. National Guardian Life Insurance Company is known for creatively tailoring insurance and other financial products while considering customer needs.

Editorial Breakdown

Product Options 4.5 Stars
Availability 4.3 Stars
Policy Features 4.8 Stars
Customer Service 4.3 Stars

Overall Rating 4.4 Stars

Bottom Line

National Guardian Life long-term care insurance policies come with a lifetime benefits option, flexible payment options and a return of premium option so you don't lose your money if you don't use it. It also offers discounts and special pricing through things like joint coverage.

National Guardian Life Long-Term Care Insurance Review

National Guardian Life Insurance Company sells long-term care insurance, Medicare Supplement insurance and other financial instruments throughout the United States. The company, based in Madison, Wisconsin, rates an excellent “A-” for financial stability from A.M. Best and holds over $4 billion in assets.


  • Flexible choices for facility care and community or home care
  • Strong premium return options
  • Inflation protection
  • No tax on long-term care distributions


  • Includes Non-Duplication of Benefits Clause

National Guardian Life Long-Term Care Insurance Features

National Guardian Life EssentialLTC long-term care plans are available as a comprehensive policy for care in any qualified setting, or for facility care services which typically come with a higher cost. All EssentialLTC plans include:

  • Up to 30 days of respite care and bed reservation care per year
  • Reimburses up to $50 per month for a medical alert system
  • Caregiver training
  • Maximum Lifetime Benefit of 5 times the daily benefit
  • Coverage Outside of the U.S., U.S. territories and Canada for up to 30 days per year
  • EssentialLTC is federally tax-qualified

The bed reservation benefit enables you to leave the facility while the insurance keeps paying to ensure your placement when you return.

EssentialLTC long-term care insurance includes a non-duplication of benefits clause, which is relatively standard across the industry. If Medicare or other insurance pays for qualified care, your EssentialLTC plan pays a reduced amount.

National Guardian Life EssentialLTC Facility Care vs. Comprehensive Services

The Facility Care Services option with EssentialLTC long-term care insurance provides benefits for services received in settings such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The Comprehensive Services Plan provides flexible benefits regardless of where you receive care. The plan pays for qualifying care in the facilities the Facility Care Services Plan covers as well as in-home care and community programs like adult day care.

Both the Facility Care Services and Comprehensive Care Services plans have benefit length options for two or three years. Extension riders increase the benefits to four, five or six years, or a lifetime.

National Guardian Life
EssentialLTC Long-Term Care Insurance
Benefits and Options Facility
Federally Tax Qualified Yes Yes
Daily Benefit Options $50-$300
in $10 increments
in $10 increments
Premium Return Options Yes Yes
Shared Benefit Option Yes Yes
First Day Home/Community
Care Rider
No Waives elimination period
for those services
Bed Reservation Benefit Covers costs of facility bed
reservation up to 30 days
per calendar year
Premium Waiver Rider Included standard no rider
Premium Payment waived
once services begin

National Guardian Life Long-Term Care Insurance Options

National Guardian Life offers a great set of options for fine-tuning your long-term care insurance, so you pay for what you need. Not all long-term care plans provide the flexibility of an EssentialLTC plan. Below are many of the riders and benefits that come with an EssentialLTC plan with National Guardian Life.

  • Lifetime Benefits Rider: Almost all long-term care policies have limits of two to four years for the length of time benefits payout. You can add a lifetime benefits rider to EssentialLTC long-term care insurance to remove that time limit, and you continue receiving benefits as long as funds remain in your policy. Lifetime benefits can be crucial for diagnoses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s where patients sometimes live 20 years with the illness.

  • Flexible Payment Options: Payment options on National Guardian’s EssentialLTC long-term care insurance plan are monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. Alternatively, you can make a one-time lump sum payment if that works better with your retirement plans.

  • Reverse Combo: National Guardian Life understands that consumers are concerned about paying for long-term care insurance not knowing if they’ll ever need the benefits. EssentialLTC from National Guardian Life offers several policy return options called reverse combo to ensure you get a payout even if you never use your long-term care insurance. Whomever you elect as a beneficiary can receive a return of premiums paid, or premiums minus benefits paid out. Another choice is to add a policy surrender option to receive a partial refund of premiums while you are still alive.

  • Inflation Protection Options: Inflation chips away at funds you set aside to pay for long-term care with ever-increasing costs. Studies show a two percent to six percent increase in long-term care costs over the last few years. With an EssentialLTC plan from National Guardian Life, you can choose either three percent or five percent compound interest options to offset or even outpace inflation.

  • Respite Care Benefit: Both EssentialLTC plans offer 30 days of respite care per calendar year. This isn’t subject to the elimination period and the benefits paid will be subtracted from the Total Benefit Amount.

National Guardian Life Complaints

National Guardian Life is a Better Business Bureau accredited company with an “A+” rating and no complaints filed. We did not find many customer reviews for the company, likely because EssentialLTC is a newer long-term care insurance product. Fifteen Google reviews give the company an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars, but EssentialLTC was not a part of the consumer commentary.

NGL stats

Source: National Guardian Life

National Guardian Life Q&A

  • Do I need a medical exam to buy National Guardian Life Long-Term Care Insurance?
    You may be required to have a medical examination in some cases before being approved for EssentialLTC long-term insurance. Specifically, applicants over age 66 will likely be asked to take an exam.

  • What is an elimination period with an EssentialLTC policy from National Guardian Life?
    The elimination period, sometimes called a waiting period, is the time between when you first receive care and when the insurance begins paying for long-term care expenses. National Guardian Life doesn’t dictate the elimination period. You choose an EP of 0, 30, 90, or 180 days.

  • At what age can I purchase long-term care insurance from National Guardian Life?
    National Guardian Life issues policies to consumers between the ages of 40 and 79 unless your state’s underwriting regulations have other requirements.

  • Why do I need EssentialLTC if I have Medicare or Medicaid insurance?
    Medicare does not pay for ongoing long-term care services coverage. Medicaid only provides limited coverage after you sell almost all of your assets. Having long-term care insurance protects you in many ways Medicare and Medicaid can’t.

  • Is EssentialLTC from National Guardian Life guaranteed renewable long-term care insurance?
    As long as you pay premiums in full and on time, National Guardian Life will not refuse your long-term care insurance policy renewal.

  • Does National Guardian Life offer any breaks on long-term care insurance premiums if I also buy a policy for my spouse?
    National Guardian Life provides a discount for spouses who are covered jointly by an EssentialLTC policy to make buying long-term care insurance more affordable.


Long-term care costs are a looming problem for seniors. Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a person who reaches 65 years old today has a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care services. Costs for long-term care lept from $30 billion to $225 billion in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015, so retirees face a definite need for insurance coverage to manage long-term care costs. While long-term care insurance may not be the right choice for everyone, it is a choice for many, and National Guardian Life’s EssentialLTC is designed to tackle healthcare costs for seniors.

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