Best age to buy long-term care insurance?

Stretching your insurance dollars

If you're feeling tapped out from paying a mortgage, home, auto and life insurance, college tuition and other midlife expenses, you can purchase a so-called linked policy that combines long-term and life insurance.

The way these policies typically work, Graves says, is that if you have $500,000 in coverage and you use $100,000 for long-term care, your death benefit would drop to $400,000.

You also can save money now by locking in a lower amount of care at a more affordable rate and "stacking" an additional policy when you're older.

"You can always add another policy down the road if you want to increase benefits, but you will have to go through underwriting again," Boglioli says.

Other factors that impact cost are whether you opt for an automatic inflation clause, the policy's start date for care and the amount of your monthly benefit.

"Every single person has a different plan," Boglioli says. "What some people want is going to be different from what I want."

If it's not cost holding you back from adding long-term care coverage, remember that such protection is a "big void" for people of all ages in that it's not part of most health insurance policies, says Graves.

Yet, 4 in 10 of those getting long-term care insurance are 18 to 64, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information.

"All of our health care coverage is aimed at acute care, and nothing is aimed at chronic care," Graves says. "Anybody who has 'Cadillac coverage' under the current situation, if they end up with a lifelong limitation, their health coverage is not going to give them any help."


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