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When Should You Buy Long Term Care Insurance

When Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

As you plan for retirement one often overlooked component is long-term care (LTC). Long-term care insurance can be an important piece of a comprehensive financial plan, providing protection against the high costs of extended care or assisted living. But when is the right time to buy long-term care insurance? Let's examine several key considerations of this important decision.

Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance covers services that assist individuals with daily living activities when they can no longer manage on their own due to chronic illness, disability, or aging. These services can include home health care, nursing home care, assisted living, and adult day care.

The Optimal Age to Buy

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we usually recommend considering long-term care insurance between the ages of 60 and 70. Here’s why:

Premium Affordability: Premiums for long-term care insurance are generally lower when you are younger and healthier. Waiting until you are older can result in significantly higher premiums, making the insurance less affordable.

Health Qualifications: As you age, the likelihood of developing health issues increases. Insurance companies may deny coverage or charge higher premiums if you have pre-existing conditions. Buying insurance while you are still in good health can ensure you qualify for coverage at a lower cost.

Future Financial Security: Purchasing long-term care insurance before you retire can provide peace of mind, knowing that you have a plan in place to cover potential future care costs. This can protect your retirement savings and other assets from being depleted by high care expenses.

Long Term Care Policy Features to Look For

When shopping for long-term care insurance, consider policies that offer:

Inflation Protection: This feature adjusts your benefits to keep pace with rising care costs, ensuring your coverage remains adequate over time.

Comprehensive Coverage: Look for policies that cover a range of services, including in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care.

Benefit Triggers: Understand the conditions that must be met for you to start receiving benefits. Typically, this includes the inability to perform a certain number of activities of daily living (ADLs) or cognitive impairment.

Elimination Period: This is the waiting period before your benefits kick in. Shorter elimination periods generally mean higher premiums, so balance this against your ability to cover initial care costs out of pocket.

Learn how we help clients make the best decision about whether, when and what type of long term care insurance to buy.