Preparing for the Future — Why Long-Term Care Insurance Is More Important Than You Think

life insuranceIt’s natural not to want to think about the time when you will be unable to take care of yourself and require long-term care; however, with the rising costs of health care, it is becoming more important to prepare yourself for the future.

Life expectancy is higher than it ever has been, and many people are living into their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.  During this time of life, our bodies are more likely to wear out, and we find ourselves needing assistance. Unfortunately, the expenses for this type of care can be significant and can affect your family considerably if you have not prepared for them.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your long-term care. The sooner you start planning, the better the options you will have. If you wait until you are older and have a health problem, you might not be able to get the coverage you need.

If you don’t have insurance for long-term care, you or your loved ones will be responsible for footing the bill when it comes to assisted living and nursing home care. Your health insurance and Medicare will not cover these expenses. If you have Medicaid, your nursing home expenses might be covered, but only if you have depleted the majority of your assets. If you end up requiring the services of a nursing home, you may be faced with expensive bills that could force your family into poverty.

What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?

This type of insurance is different than other forms of life insurance or medical insurance. It is an insurance policy designed to reimburse you for the expenses that could result when you reach an age when you are unable to take care of yourself. This is usually considered the point when you are incapable of performing day-to-day tasks such as washing, eating and getting dressed on your own. The proceeds from your insurance policy go toward covering the expense of living in a nursing home.

When Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

In general, you should have a long-term care insurance policy in place by the time you are 60 years old. If you wait until after, your insurance costs will begin to sharply increase. Of course, you don’t have to wait until you are 60 to get this important insurance, as the younger and healthier you are when you buy it the better the prices will be.

Tips for Choosing a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

When you are shopping for an insurance policy, here are some things to keep in mind that will help you save money and get the best deal possible:

  • Knowledge is power. Do plenty of research on all the different types of policies that are available to you so that you understand your options and are able to make an informed choice.
  • Select a trustworthy insurance provider. You can do some research on a company and read third-party review websites to see whether it has a history of satisfied customers or not.
  • Bundle your policies. Sometimes bundling your policies will save you more money than if you purchased a separate policy from another unaffiliated insurance company. Ask your life insurance provider about the options it provides.
  • Purchase more than one policy. In many cases, it can be financially advantageous to purchase a policy for yourself and your spouse. Compare joint policies to see if you can save.

Take your time and compare quotes to make sure you are getting the right insurance for your needs.  With proper planning, you can enjoy the benefits of long-term care later in life without worrying about the financial impact on your family.

About the Author: Sandra Peterson is a financial advisor who runs a blog offering practical money management advice for families. She loves to help people with tips on saving, mortgages, where to find long-term care insurance reviews and much more.