You’ve seen the stats. Long term care is expensive, and we’re all likely to need it at some point in our lives. The cost of spending time in a nursing home or assisted living facility adds up quickly, which is why many retirees choose to insure against it through a long term care insurance policy.
Problem is, since there’s a high likelihood of requiring long term care, insurance is an expensive proposition in its own right. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the premium costs of a policy today don’t rise in the future. Genworth, one of the biggest underwriters in the long term care insurance, received approval in the Q1 of 2019 to raise premiums an average of 58%. (Insurance companies must receive approval on a state to state basis). That’s also after the company raised costs an average of 45% in 2018, and 28% in both 2017 and 2016. Ouch.
Are you better off crossing your fingers and hoping you don’t need expensive care for a long period of time? Or is it better to cover this risk through an insurance policy that will cost you an arm and a leg anyway?
This post will cover the essentials of long term care insurance, including exactly how to decide whether picking up a policy is a good decision for you and your family.
Long Term Care: The Stats
So here’s the big question. What are the chances you’ll ever need long term care? According to longtermcare.gov, about 70% of people turning 65 will need long term care services at some point in their lives. With the average annual cost of a nursing home totaling around $100,000 these days (depending on where you live), this can be a scary proposition.
The stats can be misleading, though. Many people who need long term care services only need them for short periods of time. And since most long term care policies have elimination periods (the waiting period before the policy starts paying out) of around 90 days, many people won’t even need care long enough for their coverage to kick in.