What’s the Best Age to Buy Long Term Care Insurance?
There is an optimal time to start thinking about long term care.
Future costs for care should be considered in any financial plan, especially in your 50s and beyond. Some may be able to cover such expenses out-of-pocket, but for many, Long Term Care (LTC) insurance may be a better option. It can help pay for a broad spectrum of services such as home care, adult day care, assisted living, and nursing facility care.
Long Term Care Insurance Provides Options
There are many ways to pay for care when you need it and where you’d like to receive it.
If you conclude that LTC insurance makes sense for you, you might be wondering at what age you should buy a policy. If you buy too early, you may end up paying premiums for many years before you need care, but if you wait too long, it may become unaffordable—or worse, you may find yourself ineligible for coverage. So what’s the optimal age to buy a policy?
LTC insurance premiums are based largely on age and health—the older you are and the more health issues you have, the more expensive coverage becomes:
- Premiums always increase with age. The younger you are, the lower your premium will be—for the life of your policy.1 If you’re in your 50s, premiums typically increase 2%-4% with each birthday. But once you reach your 60s, premiums jump 6%-8% each year.2 So if you wait until age 65 to buy a policy, you could end up paying premiums that are twice as high than if you had purchased at age 55.
- Chances are you’ll never be healthier. Ideally you’ll want to secure coverage before you develop any health issues that could derail your application. As you get older, you’re more likely to have a diagnosis or prescriptions that could cause you to pay more for coverage or even render you uninsurable.
- Consider LTC Insurance Before Age 60. For most, the optimal time to start exploring your LTC options is during your mid-50s when, if you’re healthy, you’ll benefit from significant premium savings. It’s a good idea to evaluate your situation each year. Most experts advise purchasing LTC before age 60 and certainly by age 65, assuming you’re in good health and eligible for coverage. You’ll want to consider whether your family members have hereditary health conditions and whether have needed assisted living or nursing care. If so, you may want to purchase a policy sooner rather than later. Ultimately, you’ll need to balance the benefits, risks, and costs, and decide what’s best for you and your family.
1Once you lock in your LTC premium, it stays level unless the insurer raises rates for everyone with your type of policy.
2American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, https://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/ltcfacts-2020.php#2020total.
3American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.