At what age should you Purchase Long Term Care Insurance?

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008

Long Term Care

It's something most of us don't really like to think about - but the reality is that there is a good chance of us requiring long term care insurance at some point. On average, around 6.4 million people aged 65 or over in the United States need long term care on a regular basis.

The general rule is that it is never too early to purchase long term care insurance. Of course, there is more chance of needing it at an older age - the average age that a person is admitted to a nursing home is 83. However, a person of any age may need long term care - around 40% of long term care recipients are aged between 18 and 64.

The advantage of buying the coverage at an early age is that the younger you are, the lower the premiums tend to be. The cost of the premiums are based on your age at the time that you apply and take out the policy - not on the age that you might be expected to use the insurance. Admittedly, it's difficult to follow this advice - most of us aren't planning that far ahead in our 20s and 30s.

Some financial experts advise you to purchase it as soon as you can. If you work and your employer offers health insurance, it's often offered as an option. And apart from the cost savings, it's a good idea to purchase long term care insurance at an early age as you simply never know when you might need it, due to a medical condition. But you could also be spending hundreds of dollars every year purchasing coverage for something you may never need.

And some advisors consider that the best time to purchase long term care insurance may be when you are middle-aged - in your 40s or 50s. From a financial point of view it makes sense - a long term care plan that costs $1,600 at age 50 will cost around $7,500 at age 70. During this time of life, you will perhaps have some realistic idea of whether you might be needing a policy, your health may still be relatively good - and the premiums won't be as high as they might be if you wait another ten years.

Likewise, if you wait until you are older to take out long term care insurance, the cost of your premiums will generally be higher. Many people make the understandable mistake of waiting until they are in their 70s or 80s, or experiencing declining health and then trying to buy a policy - an age at which you may be considered to be too high risk to obtain insurance.

Even if you are able to obtain long term care insurance at an old age, the cost of the premiums may be prohibitively expensive. And many long term care policies also have restrictions on them as far as an applicant's age and state of health is concerned - if you are in your 80s you may find it difficult.

Long term care insurance is certainly one of those things that shouldn't be left until the last minute - it's just too important for that.

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