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Deciding whether or not to buy long term care insurance needs to happen in your 50s

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If you’re in your 50s, it’s time to investigate buying long term care insurance. 

You might not choose to buy long term care insurance but the time to decide yes or no isn’t when the price will be so far out of reach as to make a decision a non-starter.  The time to decide is when you still have other options if you decide against a policy.  An article on this website covers how Americans are reluctant to making a decision early on.  Here’s a summary of a MarketWatch article you can read here.

  1. Enrolling early costs less money and provides more benefits.  Yes, it’s true that you pay out for a longer period but over the long run, the cost will be considerably less.  The MarketWatch article has this link to an analysis to the cost of insurances every five years beginning at age 55 until age 75.  Here’s an AgingOptions story about the cost of long term care insurance.
  2. Alternatives may have tax implications.  Charitable remainder trusts work like annuities and the initial payment is tax deductible so they benefit people in high tax brackets.
  3. A diagnosis can kill the plan.  Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other age-related diseases can be reason enough for insurance companies to deny coverage, yet some of those diseases have relatively early onsets so if you are considering buying long term care insurance, the time to buy is before you have such a diagnosis.
  4. You can buy a hybrid policy that covers life insurance and long term care.  One of the issues people have with long term care policies is the amount of money they shell out for a policy they many never use.  Here’s an article about some other options.
  5. Because government programs will likely change as more and more individuals access government benefits to pay for long term care, those options may disappear.  That will mean that more and more of the burden will fall onto the individual to pay for care.  Due to long term care’s high costs, it will be important for the individual not interested in paying for a long term care policy to look at self-insurance options.

Other articles about long term care:

Women are different than men when it comes to long term care.  Generally, men are cared for by their spouse before they pass away and women receive long term care from someone other than a spouse.  The result is that women are more expensive (but we knew that).  Here’s an article about it.

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