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When Should I Get Long-Term Care Insurance?

When should I get a long term insurance

Key Summary

Figuring out the right time to purchase long-term care insurance can be confusing. Many factors will determine the coverage cost. Learn more.

Long-term care (LTC) insurance helps you or your loved one prepare for when you are older and need assistance for daily activities, from bathing, grooming, eating, moving about, medication management, and more. Additionally, long-term care insurance can help people with chronic medical conditions or disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, pay for care.  

The age range of seniors purchasing a long-term care insurance policy varies; however, the ideal age to begin looking is about 60 to 65. It is believed at this age; someone will be in good health and financial standing, making them eligible for long-term care insurance.  

Many factors must be considered when deciding what long-term care insurance is best for you or your loved one’s needs, including age, health, desired coverage amount, gender, marital status, and more. This article will discuss how much long-term care insurance is needed, how much it costs by age, and other factors affecting the overall financial expense to you or your loved one. 

How Much Long-Term Care Insurance Do I Need?

While we cannot know what will happen to each of us in the future, consider weighing your coverage options to fit your expectations. How much coverage do you want? This includes the cost of benefits and how many years you want those benefits to last. You will want to try and balance how much coverage you can afford with your future health risks. Below are some helpful tips for figuring out how much long-term care insurance may be right for you or your loved one: 

  • The best time to buy — The most cost-effective, recommended time to purchase a long-term care insurance policy is when you or your loved one are in good health and in their mid-50s and older.
  • Buy coverage you can afford — Consider balancing your long-term care needs with your current financial situation. Does a single, lump-sum payment-premium or periodic premium payments work better for you? Also, confirm the premium payment amount, as insurers can increase your premium amount after purchase.  
  • Family medical history — Consider your future health risks. Does your family have certain hereditary diseases like Alzheimer's or diabetes? Those with a higher likelihood of chronic health conditions will need long-term care in the future. Insurers will also be looking into this when considering your eligibility for insurance. 
  • Know your options — There are different insurance options to make the most cost-effective and considerate choice, such as hybrid policies, traditional long-term care insurance, personal savings, and more. 

How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

Insurance companies will consider many factors to determine your premium rate, including your age, overall health (current and family history), marital status, and gender, to name a few. Additionally, you will pay more if you decide on a longer-term or a more significant benefit.

The cost of your policy will depend on several factors including:

  • Your age and health – The sooner you purchase a policy, the better. It is beneficial to buy a policy in your 50s or 60s, if possible. The older you are and the higher the risk you have started experiencing health problems. However, if you have a strong family health history and longevity running in the family, you might want to wait longer before purchasing LTC insurance. 
  • Marital status – Premiums are lower for married people. As you may also be eligible for a shared plan if married. 
  • Gender – Women pay a higher premium than men because they have a greater life expectancy. Therefore, women are more likely to use long-term care insurance coverage from a few months to several years. 
  • Insurance company and amount of coverage – You will want to get quotes from a couple of different insurance companies as extensive coverage can be expensive. These policies have a shorter elimination period, include cost-of-living adjustments, and have fewer restrictions on the type of care covered.  
  • Personal savings – Luckily, there are different insurance policy funding options. For instance, you could buy enough insurance to cover a portion of the cost and plan to self-fund any extra expenses yourself. 

Long-Term Care Insurance Cost by Age

As we have mentioned, the cost of long-term care insurance will vary greatly. However, the older you are, the higher your policy may be. According to a report by Consumer Affairs, the average American will spend $140,000 out of pocket on long-term care. It costs the average 55-year-old male $1,700 yearly for long-term care insurance premiums. At the same time, a woman in similar good health and age could pay up to $2,675 in annual premiums. 

Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance at 65  

At 65 with some health problems, a single male may spend an average of $2,100, and a single female may pay up to $3,100 yearly.  

How Much is Long-Term Care Insurance for a 75-Year-Old? 

For those 75 years or older, there is a high likelihood of being rejected by an insurance company. According to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, half of the applicants 75 years or older are rejected. If you are in good health, you should expect to pay $7,000 yearly for men and $12,000 for women – or more.  

Insurers have a strong focus on age and health. They tend to give the best premium long-term care insurance rates to seniors in good overall health at age 65. At this age, you or your loved one will also want to review and establish important health documents and decision-makers, including choosing Power of Attorney. If this relates to you, you may be interested in reading our next article, "How Do I Change My Power of Attorney?

Find a Senior Care Community Near You 

Picking the right long-term care insurance is not only a financial decision but can also affect the emotional and financial burden for future caregivers such as family and friends. Carefully reviewing your options and purchasing at the right time can help avoid a monetary crisis and provide comfort in your retirement years. 

Let Referah's Family Connection Agents help guide you or your loved one in deciding your best senior care options. They can help find the right community for you or your loved one’s needs. We work closely with seniors and their families in communities across the country to help you find professional senior care and support near you.   

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