No matter your age or health, insurance is never a simple thing. When it comes to long-term care insurance – something which many more Baby Boomers are considering – the questions increase exponentially. Specifically: Is there a cut-off for getting long-term care insurance? And how much do I really need it?
Am I Too Old to Get Long-Term Care Insurance?
Many insurance experts recommend looking into long-term care insurance options in your 50s. The longer you wait, the higher your premium will be. A 60-year-old couple could pay $1,500 more for a lifetime policy than a 55-year-old couple. The older you are, the greater your risk of being turned down as well – you have a one in seven chance of not qualifying in your 50s, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). In your 60s, that decreases to one in four.
The AALTCI also reports that few long-term care insurance companies will offer coverage to individuals over the age of 80. For those insurers that do offer coverage to people over 80 who meet the health qualifications, a single individual could expect to pay about $11,000 annually for a policy offering $164,000 in benefits. The cost for a couple in their 80s would nearly double the annual cost.
The average age for individual long-term insurance applicants today is 57, according to the AALTCI, but the “sweet spot” to look into protection is between ages 52 and 64, before you go on Medicare and partake of the various free health exams which are, health-wise, wonderful, but which can also uncover issues that would preclude you from qualifying for long-term care insurance.
Do You Need Long-Term Care Insurance?
Baby boomers may not be anywhere close to slowing down, but they may be nearing retirement or looking into downsized housing options for the future. The last thing anyone wants to do is take a chunk out of that carefully stockpiled nest egg to pay for pricey insurance, but the chances that you’ll eventually require care – be it in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or through home health – are very real. About 70 percent of seniors eventually need a hand – and the most intensive kind of care can cost $300 or more, daily.
Most experts in the field of senior care and aging agree: Long-term care insurance should be part of your retirement strategy in some way, shape, or form. Keep in mind that health insurance does not cover long-term care. Most people can’t afford to pay for elder care out of pocket, unless yours are incredibly, incredibly deep.
Making the Long-Term Care Insurance Decision
While long-term care insurance is something you will, ideally, not need to use for two or three decades, it’s impossible to predict the future. Protecting your assets and your family at the same time can only be considered wise. The types, options, limitations, and premiums of long-term care insurance policies are many. If you’re just getting started, do your research about everything from inflation protection to figuring out how Medicare can affect your long-term care needs to making sure your insurance covers all types of care, caretakers, and a wide range of illnesses or injuries.