Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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How important is long term care insurance to an older woman

Long term care insurance is important to protect your health and finances.

While it is easy to say that if you were to need long-term care in or outside of your home then this insurance could save your life, financially speaking, the truth is that that a long-term care insurance policy could end up never paying out if you find that you are ever in need of long-term care.

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Some of the factors that impact the importance of long-term care insurance in your life will include your family’s medical history, your personal finances and your current age. Read on for help deciding whether or not this type of insurance will benefit you.

Your Family’s Medical History

This information and your finances, in conjunction with your current age, are the two most important things to think about when considering whether or not to purchase long-term care insurance. To begin with, we are going to discuss your family’s history.

It is important that you discover just how many people in your family have ended up needing long-term care and for what reasons. For example, does your family have a history of living to be 110 years old but unable to care for themselves and their every day needs?

If you are remarkably healthy and your family tends to live far beyond the average, then this is one of the considerations that you should make. The longer you live, the more you will delve into your savings, pension plan, etc. to live on. Eventually, you will find that the money runs out and if you don’t have people who can commit to taking care of you when you are unable, then you should consider long-term care insurance.

Another, more likely, consideration is a family history of poor health. If you have family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, stroke or serious heart disease, or other illnesses that run in the family, then you may want to consider long-term care insurance for yourself, especially if your doctor believes that you are at risk for any of these problems.

It is important to understand that not every elderly person will require long-term care; the majority lives their entire lives without need of this type of care or only short-term care that is often covered by Medicaid (although Medicaid doesn’t cover long-term care only acute medical care). Just be aware that an accident or illness can put even a young and healthy individual in the position of needing LTC.

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Your Personal Financial Situation

The next thing you should consider is your personal financial situation. There are many schools of thought on this as some people believe that if you have a lot of money you should purchase long-term care insurance to ensure that your family gets a larger inheritance when you die.

Others argue that if you have the money you should purchase a large life insurance policy and let your estate pay for your long-term care, especially if you have millions of dollars. The thought here is that there are taxes on an estate but no taxes on a life insurance payout.

This means that anyone who is not a millionaire should purchase long-term care insurance, or at least that is what your insurance agent will tell you. There is a lot of merit to this argument as well. The cost of long-term care can vary depending on the type of care that you need.

For example, if you need long-term care in a nursing home, then the cost will be higher than if you need long-term care at home. Regardless, the costs can range from $3,000 to as much as $10,000 a month depending on the type of care you need, the type of facility that you use and where you live.

This may seem like the stopping point for you where you decide that you definitely need long-term care insurance, and perhaps it is, but you also need to know that long-term care insurance is one of the more expensive types of insurance to purchase. This makes the best age to purchase LTCi an important consideration. Naturally, the older you are, the more expensive your premiums will be so that is something to take into consideration as well.

Your premiums will probably increase annually if your purchase long-term care insurance immediately, which means that you could end up paying thousands of dollars in premiums. If you do a search online, you can learn that some adults over the age of 70 pay $1,000 a month in premiums for their long-term care insurance. The bottom line, however, is that the cost of long-term care is far more expensive than the cost of the premiums.

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Many people wait until they are past the age of 55 to purchase long-term care insurance. This is a practical plan, but it does come with some risk. If you need long-term care before that time, then you’re out of luck. In addition, if a physical reveals a condition that may require long-term care in the near future, you will be denied as well.

Again, it all boils down to your ability to pay premiums. If you can afford them for years, then it’s a non-issue. However, for many people, paying over $100 a month for 10 years and then $200 a month for the next 10 and then $400 a month once they reach 60 and so on, may simply not be affordable.

It may benefit you to find a policy with a guaranteed premium. What this means is that you start paying, for example, $400 a month even though you are only 35 years old. When, however, you turn 65 you are still paying $400 a month while other people are paying $700 to $1000 a month. This helps to moderate the cost, especially for when you are older when you may possibly be living on a very tight budget. Insurance companies may offer this option for two reasons.

First, they still get their entire monies because you started at a higher rate much earlier in life. The average cost of long-term care insurance for someone under 50 is $150 a month for a $165,000 lifetime cap.

The second reason is that the chance of having to pay the full amount of your long-term life insurance policy is pretty low as according to the AHIP, only 19% of Americans actually end up needing long-term care, which means that the insurance companies aren’t really risking a whole lot by offering this type of insurance.

How Much Coverage You Need

As you can imagine, there are a lot of opinions about just how much long-term care insurance you need. The truth is, there is no way of knowing whether you will need this care or for how long.

If you don’t have any family history of needing long-term care, you have family members who can contribute to your care, or you simply don’t have enough money for a large policy, then it is generally recommended that you purchase enough coverage for thee years of long-term care.

The area you live in will greatly contribute to the amount of coverage you purchase. If the average cost of long-term care in your state is $50,000 a year, then you should purchase $150,000 in coverage. Don’t forget to account for inflation.

If you have a family history of diseases that require long-term care, then you need to consider longer care options. You can purchase up to a $30M cap on your long-term care insurance, which can cover your for 30 years at $100K a year. This is probably much more than you would need, but it gives you an idea of what your options are.

Before you purchase your long-term care insurance you need to compare rates between insurance companies to ensure you get the lowest premiums. You can do that right now with our free quote tool. It is easy to use and you will get your results fast.

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