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5 reasons why retirees should buy long-term care insurance

5 reasons why retirees should buy long-term care insurance
Retirees should invest in long-term care insurance to protect themselves, their assets and their families. 

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Retirement can be a joyous time in one’s life. Your working days are over, you can spend your time relaxing and, if you’ve planned it right, you have plenty of savings to support yourself. 

One issue that can keep you from fully enjoying your retirement, though, is the prospect of spending big money on the care you’ll need as you age. And, one way to potentially defray these costs is to buy a long-term care insurance policy

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5 reasons why retirees should buy long-term care insurance

While you can certainly buy this policy before you retire, some experts actually say that near retirement age is the best time to buy a policy. Jesse Slome, founder of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, says that the ideal time to buy is between 55 and 65.

“This product requires that the applicant meet pretty stringent health requirements,” Slome says. “After Medicare eligibility age, issues start getting found and entered into medical records that disqualify folks from being accepted.”

If you recently retired or are about to retire, you may want to look into long-term care insurance. Here’s why:

To protect your assets

Long-term care services are expensive. A private room in a nursing home costs more than $9,000 on average, according to Genworth’s most recent cost of care study. If you live in a particularly expensive region, it could be much more. 

Getting long-term care insurance can help you save money on these costs. This product works like any other insurance product — you pay premiums upfront in exchange for benefits down the line. While there’s a risk of not needing as much coverage as you pay for, the coverage also protects you from having to pay large sums out of pocket. 

Not only does this let you use your money for other things, but it also leaves you with an estate to pass on to your children or loved ones.

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To get the best care

Slome notes that having long-term care insurance gives you options around both the type of care you get and who will be providing it. 

If you don’t have long-term care insurance, you may find yourself in a position to bargain shop for healthcare services. When it comes to long-term care you want the best, though — and you get what you pay for.

Investing in long-term care insurance now can help make sure you’re able to get yourself the best possible care when you need it.

To keep your independence

If you don’t have long-term care insurance, you may be reliant on other people to help you — which could mean that you’re unable to do things on your terms. With long-term care insurance insurance, though, you can get the help you need while still maintaining control of your life.

To keep the costs from impacting others

If you need long-term care and can’t afford it, the cost may fall on others – like your family. If you invest in long-term care insurance now, though, they can rest easy knowing you’re cared for.

“If you live a long life, into your 80s, 90s and beyond, the chances are incredibly high that you’ll need services which we refer to as long-term care,” Slome says. “It’s not covered by Medicare and thus people will spend their savings (retirement income) or force loved ones into a life of caregiving.”

Rates will get higher as you age

If you want to get the best rates, the best time to invest in long-term care insurance may be before you retire. You can still buy long-term care insurance later, though, albeit for higher premiums. Or, you may be turned down altogether. Slome says that after age 70 people will rarely pass a health qualification for long-term care.

So, recent retirees and soon-to-be retirees may want to start investigating their options early on to lock in as low of a premium as possible. 

The bottom line 

Long-term care insurance is a product that lets you get the care you need as you get older without the financial burden of paying out of pocket. If you’re recently retired or are starting to prepare for retirement, you may want to consider investing in long-term care insurance. Remember, though, that the longer you wait, the higher your premiums will get, so it can benefit you to act quickly.