When To Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
Did you know? It’s Long-Term Care Planning Month. That’s why we’re bringing you a post each week throughout October to help you learn everything you need to know about long-term care (LTC) insurance.
We’ve already covered what long-term care insurance is and why it’s worth considering for most families. Once you’re on board with the idea though, the next issue to consider is when to buy.
The economics of buying long-term care insurance aren’t simple. On the one hand, if you start paying when you’re young and don’t find yourself needing to use the coverage until you’re much older, you won’t end up getting enough out of the plan to make the premiums worth it. In that case, you’d be better off putting your money in a savings account or investments for some of the time.
On the other hand, the earlier you sign on, the lower your premiums will be. Perhaps more importantly, the longer you wait, the more you risk getting a diagnosis that keeps you from qualifying.
The Costs At Different Ages
Most experts suggest that people should start looking into plans in their 50s. At that age you’re unlikely to have the health problems that will keep you from qualifying and you are likely to have a level of health that gets you locked into the best rate.
According to the AARP, the average costs for long-term care insurance are:
- $1,831 per year for people under 55
- $2,261 per year for people 55-64
- $2,781 per year for people 65-69
- $3,421 per year for people 70-74
- $4,123 per year for people over 75
Couples that buy a plan together will save money on their costs in comparison to single people. And of course, the plan you choose and the level of coverage it provides will make a difference in how much you spend.
All told though, you can count on spending less per month if you buy younger.
How To Decide When You Should Buy LTC
While we can’t know in advance what to expect from our health in the future, people can make some educated guesses. For those who stand a pretty good chance of needing long-term care for a significant amount of time or encountering health problems when young, the decision to buy sooner rather than later can be a smart one.
To gain a clearer picture of what age is best for you specifically, consider:
- How long do people in your family typically live?
- What types of illnesses run in your family?
- What health problems have you experienced so far in your life?
- What can you afford to pay for premiums now?
- What can you expect to afford to pay for long-term care in the future?
Weighing the monthly costs against how much you have saved (or expect to have saved down the line) can help you determine when long-term care insurance will be the best deal. And you should always talk to a few different companies to get quotes and comparison shop.
If you’re thinking about long-term care insurance by the time you’re in your 50’s, then you’re in a good position to make a smart choice. If you wait beyond that point, you may still find buying it to be a good deal, but the longer you wait the more likely you are to pay more or risk losing the option altogether.