For many it is too late. By 60 years old, approximately 25% of us are not healthy enough to be accepted for this insurance. It gets more expensive the longer you wait as well. For each year you wait in your fifties, you will pay 3% to 4% more, while in your sixties, waiting a year will add 6% or more to the premium.
I am taking some of these statistics from two excellent articles published recently, one from a USA Today insert on Sunday, April 13, 2014 and the other from the Wall Street Journal on Monday, April 14th, 2014. The first one stated that eight out of every 10 couples will have an individual who requires long term care (LTC).
The WSJ listed mistakes people make when buying LTC insurance. The first is waiting too long. The second is buying on price alone. There are a number of moving parts in LTC insurance, how much, for how long, deductible, inflation, etc. It is easy for an agent who is not intimately familiar with all the things one needs to consider to offer an inexpensive policy that does not address inflation. Purchasing a daily or monthly benefit today that does not grow, and may not be needed for 30 or 40 years, will give a low price, but may be completely useless when needed. If you had set aside $0.29 for a gallon of gasoline while in high school back in 1965, and tried to buy that gallon of gasoline with it now, you would be very disappointed.
This is not a product to be purchased without some expert guidance. There are features that may be very important to you and others that may not matter much at all. Each person’s situation may be different making what is unimportant to one, very important to another.
The new hybrid policies were also addressed in the article. These are typically life insurance or annuities with a LTC feature. While it is great to have life insurance to claim if LTC is never needed, some have no inflation on the amount paid for LTC services. Thirty or forty years from now when this problem becomes apparent it will be too late to go back and make corrections. If the cash flow at time of claim is not enough, along with your other available cash flow, then spending down to Medicaid impoverishment may be inevitable. If this happens, one must generally cash in any life insurance to obtain Medicaid, and all is lost.
If you have saved well and are ready for retirement, wonderful. Have you also planned for unforeseen expenses? If 80% of couples will have one person needing LTC, and the number of Wisconsin seniors is expected to double by 2035, there will be a lot of unprepared people hoping the government will still be able to pay for their LTC. Good luck with that! I got my LTC insurance at age 52. When will you consider investigating it for yourself? More information is available at www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com