One of the most significant factors to consider when looking for long-term care insurance is the expense involved.
That's why, before you decide on a policy, you should shop around and work to understand the variables involved.
There is no way to make a smart purchasing decision if you don't have an idea of what the costs should be.
Today, we'll give some brief background on long-term care insurance, and then answer the most crucial question—how much does long-term care insurance cost on average?
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What is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care insurance is a specific type of insurance that covers extensive care and services you may need as you age.
For example, if you need to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility or if you need professional in-home care, long-term care insurance helps you pay those expenses.
If you suffer a heart attack, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, or another serious medical condition, you may benefit from long-term care insurance.
Long-term care insurance helps protect your savings and improve your quality of life as you age.
This type of coverage makes accommodations you may not be able to afford otherwise available to you.
Due to the high expenses of long-term care, long-term care insurance gives you a level of financial safety and personal security that your savings may not provide you.
How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?
The cost of long-term care insurance varies based on several factors, including:
There are other components, but these encompass some of the most significant factors.
According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the average long-term care insurance policy costs $2,466 per year for a couple at age 55.
The cost goes up as you get older. For example, if that same couple purchases a policy at age 60, their prices rise almost $1,000 to an annual average of $3,381.
That's because as you age and your health worsens, insurance companies are less likely to approve you for a policy.
Why Get Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance?
While some people do have enough savings to cover their long-term care, the majority do not.
On average, it takes $1.5 million in savings to afford this care comfortably. That number goes up the longer you require care, too.
Long-term care insurance covers expenses you may not have the funds for without it. Plus, it offers death benefits to your family.
However, you might also consider the fact that you may not need long-term care in the future.
By purchasing long-term care insurance, you're preparing for a hypothetical situation. Whether you choose to buy a policy or not presents different risks on both sides.
If you don't require long-term care, you've paid for something you never used for 20 to 30 years.
At the same time, if you do need long-term care and your savings don't cover it, you could find yourself without the care you need.
Even if you don't use the policy during your lifetime, the death benefits paid to your family can help beyond the period of care.
Will The Government Pay for Long-Term Care?
Usually, the government will not pay for your long-term care. Medicare does not cover these expenses.
Medicare Part A may cover short-term nursing home expenses or hospice care for less than six months, but nothing more.
Most people who turn to government assistance for long-term care have Medicaid. However, Medicaid won't cover all individuals.
Medicaid is a program intended for people whose income falls below a certain level and is intended for low-income families.
That means that if you have more than $2,000 in assets, you probably don't qualify.
Medicaid eligibility also varies by state. Your eligibility in Massachusetts may not be the same as it would be in New York, California, or Texas.
The State Overviews page on the Medicaid website can help you determine your eligibility for long-term care.
The National Institute on Aging lists several government programs that can help with long-term care as well.
These include the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).
The problem with any government-run program is that not everyone is eligible for all or any of them.
For this reason, you must understand whether you qualify for these programs. If not, you must prepare with long-term care insurance or an alternative.
Examples of Long-Term Care Insurance Costs
According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), your insurance costs vary based on age, gender, and couple status.
Below are a set of quick sample costs for long term care insurance:
The above figures are from 2018, but the ratios remain around the same for 2020.
As you can see, women almost always pay more for long-term care insurance, making it even more critical to purchase early if you're female.
This is the one case where living longer doesn't work in your favor—you could end up paying premiums over $4,000 per year otherwise.
Should Young Adults Buy LTC Insurance?
Young adults don't need to buy long-term care insurance for themselves. After all, if you buy a policy in your 30s, you'll pay premiums for far longer than necessary.
However, if you are a young adult, you can purchase long-term care insurance for your parents.
This decision depends on your ability to afford these costs, but it could be an investment that helps the whole family in the future.
On top of ensuring your loved ones are covered in their time of need, you ensure that those costs and potential debts don't fall to you.
When considering long-term care insurance, it's essential to know how much it will cost.
Whether you're in your 50s and anticipating the future care you'll need, or in your 20s or 30s and thinking about care for your parents, long-term care insurance might be the right choice.
Consider your personal needs, as well as what long-term care insurance can do for you.
It's time to take action because the longer you wait to get yourself (or your parents) covered, the more expensive it will be.
You can click here to get a few quotes or any of the buttons above to start your long-term care insurance journey.
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