Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Buying Long Term Care Insurance

There was a time when buying long term care insurance was fairly easy and pretty cut and dry. Times have changed for this particular type of insurance and anyone considering buying it would do well to spend some time investigating carriers and coverage levels as well as premiums.

Generally speaking, the cost for a nursing home resident today is about $71,000 annually, which works out to around $200 a day. The cost for non-resident, assisted living comes in at around $32,000 a year, or $88 dollars a day. In both cases, that is a lot of money over the course of time.

The major reason people want to buy long term care policies is so they can protect their assets in the event they need to pay for nursing home occupancy, assisted living expenses, or home care expenses. Those who do not have this type of insurance are often forced to liquidate their assets in order to get the care they need. For many people this means selling the home, cashing in on retirement funds, and depleting savings accounts.

On average, if you have more than $300,000 in personal assets, you may want to look into long term care insurance as a means of protecting yourself.

The age in which you purchase these types of policies is important. A person who is fifty-years-old may pay $2,000 for a policy, while a seventy-year-old may end up paying as much as $8,000 or more for the same policy.

Your physical condition is also important. If you suffer from certain forms of mental conditions such as schizophrenia or dementia, or if you are wheelchair bound, you may not even be able to get coverage. All in all, the younger you are when you get the policy and the better your health, the lower your premiums will be.
The truth is there are fewer companies offering this type of insurance today than there were some years ago. At one time there were over one hundred companies offering long term care policies, now there are only five or six.

If you believe that you need this insurance, you should try to get coverage only with a well-established company that has a history of being in business for at least fifteen years and has faithfully served its long term care policyholders.

You will also need to check and make sure that the company has not had to raise its premiums drastically. These increases in premiums often occur when companies begin to pay out on policies that they wrote years ago and that they did not accurately price. Your state insurance commission can also help you in deciding what fair pricing is in your region as well as inform you on any current regulations that pertain to long term care insurance.

Researching what your options are in long term care insurance will take time, so the sooner you begin the better. You should not sign up for any plan until you have had time to look into several plans. As an added precaution, you may want to speak with a reputable financial planner to get some tips on how to best approach this time of life.

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