The Best Age to Buy Long Term Care Insurance
There's an assumption amongst younger people, particularly those in their 20s, that goes along the lines of it being unnecessary for them to ever need long-term medical care. In their years of health, it becomes tempting to believe that this kind of condition will last forever. As a result, many young adults ignore the long-term health services that many of us, and potential themselves, will rely on.
This includes basic services such as health insurance – a vital service that's all too frequently passed over by 20-somethings assuming that they'll never need it. Another 'needless expense,' it's trashed in an effort to save money and limit overall spending. Other forms of insurance are often next to leave, largely in an effort to conserve their income and focus on the here, now, and near-term future.
It's a relatively short-term mindset, and one that presents numerous long-term challenges. Health insurance is a vital service, and it's one that produced short-term results and visibility. At the next end of the scale entirely is long term care insurance – a form of advanced health and personal care that's never seen until the later years of your life, and as a result is passed over more than anything.
Despite the best efforts of the government, services like Medicaid and Medicare aren't designed to cover long-term medical stays and hospitalization. They're not built to deal with the after-effects of a severe illness, the requirements of a disability, or the hospitalization period required after a high-level operation or surgery. Despite this, many Americans depend on them for their sole coverage.
Likewise, health insurance often doesn't cover these long-term care requirements, instead offering a relatively simple and limited form of overall coverage. When people find themselves requiring long stays at hospital – either to recover from an illness, recuperate from an operation, or simply wait out a severe disease – the absence of long-term care insurance makes their stay a pricey experience.
In short, long-term care insurance is insurance for the worst of situations – a time period where you may need ongoing medical assistance for several months, or even years. There's this old assumption that long term care insurance is a service reserved for the elderly and frail – one that's backed up by the service's focus on the elderly. This is, like most assumptions, completely untrue and dangerous.
Why? Because over a third of the people cared for under long term care insurance policies are aged well below their 60s. Strokes, heart disease, and other conditions can produce a need for care in the 'healthiest' of young bodies. As such, it's essential that you invest in long term care insurance, even if you don't expect or anticipate needing it. After all, who can successfully foresee a stroke?
There's an advantage to this strategy – one that's reflected in the price you'll end up paying for your long-term care. In the same way that building your retirement savings early brings you higher levels of interest and recurring income, starting early with your long term care insurance results in lowered premiums. The younger you are, the less you'll be required to pay annually for insurance coverage.
But it's not just an annual saving, either. The earlier you start purchasing long term care insurance, the less you'll pay overall over the course of your policy. This is because of the time-based effects of purchasing an insurance policy early. If you were to start in your seventies, your premiums tend to be raised to the point where you'll pay more in ten years than you otherwise would in thirty.
There is, however, a cost apex to this, and a secondary apex that shows where and when in their life most people gain an interest in buying long term care insurance. As with many other long-term plan expenses, it's rarely thought of by those in their twenties, and even those in their thirties. For most, a long term care insurance policy becomes a reality in their 50s, or even the early years of their 60s.
There are other considerations to make, however. Do you need full care coverage or only a partial policy? In the first case, you'll be covered well into the hundreds of dollars daily, allowing the top level of care for you in your later years. In the latter, you'll be covered only to a certain point – the limit, as dictated by your policy. This is generally reflected in the ongoing costs of your coverage.
Then there's the conditions of your policy – factors that can make a huge difference to its total cost and value to you. Inflation protection, an important service that protects you from the ever-present increase in costs over time, can prove helpful in ensuring your care is affordable. It's important that your policy is fluid and able to adapt over time, letting you get the most from it when it's ever used.
As a vital service, and one that's frequently passed over early in life, there's no best age to buy long term care insurance. However, as with other investments, it's always best to start early. Purchase an easy-to-manage, fluid long term care insurance plan as early as possible in your life, and you'll find your long-term expenses will be minimal, and your potential benefits will be hugely maximized.