What to consider before you invest in long-term care insurance

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Long-term care insurance covers expensive nursing care needs but is it a good investment? Here’s what experts say about what you should take into account.

Long-term care insurance covers nursing homes, assisted living and home health care expenses.

“If you live a long life, the chances of needing long-term care are high, but long-term care insurance is not an option for everybody. You need to start thinking about it generally before you turn 65,” said Jesse Slome, the director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.

Long-term care insurance is a one-time purchase.

Experts suggest you take into account any assets you want to pass onto your kids and whether it’s worth paying the premiums.

But Greg Marchildon of AARP Vermont says there are many considerations Vermonters have to take into account.

“You could end up paying into a system for a long time and then there could be bad news at the end of the game and a plan could fold or go under or there could be rate increases that are unsustainable,” Marchildon said.

Last week, we told you about underpriced plans sold in the 1980s seeing big rate hikes. But many of today’s plans are offered as a hybrid along with life insurance and are on better actuarial footing.

“Planning ahead is good and to just be prepared for what can happen. You can’t always predict what will happen,” said Glenn Jarrett of Jarrett & Luitjens Estate and Elder Law.

There are also medical requirements for some plans.

“You have to qualify medically, so if you have serious illnesses or the beginnings of dementia, you probably won’t be able to obtain long-term care insurance,” Jarrett said.

Experts also say your income and savings, what you want to pass to the next generation, and what role your family will play in your care are all factors in whether people should take out a policy.

“These policies are complex, they vary and it really requires you, the consumer, to do some comparison shopping or ideally work with a specialist who understands and can do the comparisons for you,” Slome said.

Experts say choosing long-term care insurance is a lifestyle and financial decision.

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