What is Long Term Care Insurance?

None of us want to think about a point in our lives where we will be unable to care for ourselves. The reality is, though, that many of us will reach that point at some time in our lives.

If you don’t have long term care insurance, the cost of care can be prohibitively expensive. This leaves the burden on your family.

If your family isn’t able to provide care, then you will be faced with selling everything you own to pay for care out of pocket until you are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Long-term care insurance is a way to offset all of this risk. With LTC insurance, you can have access to care ranging from occasional assistance within your own home to assisted living centers to nursing homes. It can also cover things like adult daycare, hospice and Alzheimer’s facilities.

Some insurance also provides for a live-in caregiver, home therapists, housekeepers and more.

Insurance vs. Out of Pocket

Like I mentioned, the cost of care can be very expensive. Last year, the average annual cost of a nursing home was $77,380, but can be more than double that in some areas of the country.

Unless you have a significant amount of money saved, it’s unlikely that you will be able to pay for this out of pocket.

On the other hand, for a small premium each month you can purchase an insurance plan that will pay a long term care facility up to a certain amount per day.

Premiums very depending on your age the cost of care in your area. If the cost of care is low and you are under age 50, premiums will likely be less than $100 per month. Though, even if you are older and the cost of care in your is high, premiums are unlikely to be over $300 per month.

When Should You Buy LTC Insurance?

The timing on when you should start looking at this insurance is tricky. Buy it too young and you’ll pay thousands in unnecessary premiums. Wait too long and premiums may be too high or you may develop a condition that will prevent you from getting insurance at all.

Most financial advisers recommend that you wait to buy long term care insurance until your mid 50s. This is sort of a sweet spot where premiums are still affordable and it’s unlikely you have developed a condition that prevents you from being insured.

As you get closer to retirement, you should seriously consider long term care insurance. A relatively small premium each month may be all it takes to keep you comfortable in the final years of your life without being a financial burden to those that you love.