What Is Long-Term Care Coverage?

Long-term care coverage helps pay for “custodial care.” This includes assisted living care, time spent in a nursing home, and in-home health monitoring. Most health insurance policies don’t cover this kind of care — and neither does Medicare.

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Why is LTC coverage important? Many experts claim that people over the age of 65 have a 70% chance of needing some kind of long-term care in their life. That care can be expensive. In 2004, the average cost of a year in a nursing home was $70,080. That kind of bill can put a big dent in anyone’s retirement savings.

When should you buy an LTC plan? Many experts recommend buying one a few years before retirement. The idea is to get the coverage before you need it. The older you are when you buy a policy, the more it will cost you.

In addition to the specific kinds of care covered, most experts recommend you look for “inflation protection” when you’re comparing plans. You may buy an LTC policy today that offers $100,000 in coverage — but that $100,000 will pay for a lot less care 20 years from now. Inflation protection makes sure you get your money’s worth.

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