Buying long-term care insurance (LTC insurance) in your 60s doesn’t have to be stressful. However, we will tell you off the bat that you should lock in your coverage as soon as possible to ensure you qualify at an affordable rate.
Now that you’ve found the complete guide to buying long-term care insurance in your 60s, the answers to your questions are all in one place.
Read on for everything you need to know about long-term care insurance, including why it’s so important, how to select a daily benefit amount, how to account for inflation, and much more.
Quick Article Guide:
1. Most People Need Long-Term Care at Some Point
2. Long-Term Care Insurance Gets More Expensive as You Age
3. Waiting to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance Can Affect Your Quality of Care
4. Don’t Skimp on the Daily Benefit Amount
5. Elimination Period: Short or Long?
6. Choosing a Term for Your Coverage
7. Inflation Protection for Long-Term Care Insurance
8. Long-Term Care Insurance Savings for Married Couples
9. Get a Free Long-Term Care Insurance Quote
We all like to think we’re aging gracefully, but the reality is that most of us will need assistance with daily activities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime.
HHS expects the number of individuals using paid long-term care services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home care programs to double from 13 million in 2000 to 27 million by 2050. Many will require support for several years, which can lead to high medical costs for family members. New York Life estimates the average annual cost of a nursing home to be $96,000 and rising. Even assisted living or home care can approach $50,000 per year for quality care.
Long-term care insurance is designed to cover the cost of long-term care involving the activities of daily living (ADLs) that many elderly patients need assistance with. These activities include:
- Household tasks, etc.
Since Medicaid, Medicare, and health insurance usually do not cover these costs, long-term care insurance is sold as either a standalone product or an add-on in a whole life insurance policy. It is not a replacement for health insurance and should be considered as an addition to any health coverage you already pay for.
In long-term care insurance, age is a means of measuring the likelihood that the insurance company will have to pay out on a policy, which determines the cost of your coverage. To put it simply, the older you are, the more likely you are to have health problems, and thus the more expensive long-term care coverage will be.
Many people purchase long-term care insurance around the age of 50, when they realize the cost of their parents’ care. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) suggests that your mid-50s are the ideal time to buy affordable long-term care insurance, giving the following example:
“You are age 55. You want what we term a “standard” plan of coverage. That equals $172,600 in current benefits (based on a $150 daily benefit for a 3-year plan). Your cost is $1,084 per year because you qualify for the preferred health discount (spousal discount too).
Long-term care insurance protection should grow to keep pace with rising costs. The one we are illustrating does. So, by age 65, the $172,600 benefit you bought at age 55, will have grown in benefit value to $276,000. Someone age 65 (today) would pay $3,275 for $276,000 in coverage because it’s very unlikely they will still qualify for that good health discount.”
We want to make it clear that if your 50s have passed, you can still find long-term care insurance. You will just have to pay more than you would have back then. Regardless of your age, we recommend buying long-term care insurance sooner rather than later to keep your policy premium as low as possible. AALTCI’s example is from 2010, so we pulled real-life LTC insurance rates from March 2017 to illustrate the difference between buying long-term care insurance in your 50s and buying the exact same policy in your 60s.
Real-Life LTC Insurance Rates (March 2017)
$200,000 benefits, $5,000 per month in benefits, no deductible for in-home care, 90-day deductible for facility care.
55-year-old male: $85.55/month
55-year-old female: $131.80/month
60-year-old male: $105.44/month
60-year-old female: $165.85/month
65-year-old male: $152.41/month
65-year-old female: $236.13/month
As you can see, the cost of a policy at age 60 can rise significantly by the time you turn 65: from $105.44 per month to $152.41 per month for a male, and from $165.85 per month to $236.13 per month for a female. Again, this is because at age 65, you are simply a higher-risk policyholder than you were at age 60. If you are rounding out yours 60s, we hate to make you feel the pressure, but it is our job to inform you that you are approaching the danger zone of not being able to qualify for any LTC insurance coverage, much less a policy that is affordable. Kiplinger explains:
“Buying while still in good health has become more important as insurers tighten underwriting standards. Some companies have added blood-test requirements and started scrutinizing family health history for conditions such as heart disease and dementia. One-fourth of applicants age 60 to 69 are rejected, and 44% of those age 70 to 79 are denied coverage, according to the long-term-care association.”
“Kokomo” is a fictional place yet very real lifestyle in the Florida Keys. It’s also a town in Indiana that—lovely as it may be—can be very disappointing for retirees who always envisioned growing old in the tropics.
We say this to illustrate that waiting until later in life to purchase long-term care insurance might mean cutting back on your long-term care when you do need it, because you will have to pay more for less coverage. Instead of soaking up the sun in Miami, Florida, you might find yourself in Miami, West Virginia in order to enjoy a private room in a nursing home rather than a shared room. Or, you might have to settle for an average facility, when you could have afforded a luxury facility had you bought long-term care insurance sooner. Our point here? Don’t let buying long-term care insurance in your 60s turn into paying more for less coverage in your 70s! The future you will thank you for locking in a desirable LTC insurance policy when you had the chance.
The most important aspect of a long-term care insurance policy is the daily benefit amount. This is the amount you will be reimbursed each day for the cost of your long-term care services.
Going back to the $96,000 per year average nursing home cost, you can expect to pay roughly $260.00 a day for a quality nursing home. So, we recommend buying a long-term care policy with a daily benefit amount of $250.00 to $300.00 per day. Kevin Leinum, owner of Capstone LTC Insurance Services, tells us, “Most people who have long-term-care coverage wish they had bought more.”
Genworth’s long-term care calculator is a great tool to help you come to a ballpark daily benefit amount. You can also call JRC Insurance Group directly at 855-247-9555 if you would like personalized assistance. There is no obligation upon calling, and there is no cost to you for our service. We’re here to help!
The “elimination period” in a long-term care policy is the amount of time that must pass, usually between 30 and 180 days, before the policy goes into effect. During this time, you are fully responsible for any long-term care costs. While a longer elimination period might save money on the front end of your policy, the savings are often negated by increased costs once the policy does begin. Long-term care insurance companies tend to have the most aggressive rates for policies with a 90-day elimination period.
If you don’t have a large savings set aside and cannot comfortably afford several months of paying 100% cost on long-term care, select a policy with a shorter period. The difference between the cost of LTC insurance and the cost of LTC itself can be tens of thousands of dollars, even in the short term. If you have ample savings and are more concerned with the monthly cost, a longer elimination period might work for you. One of our agents can help you find perfect balance on the daily benefit amount vs. elimination period scale. (It really is a balancing act that takes time and patience to achieve.)
Long-term care insurance reimburses the costs of your long-term care needs for a set period of time, referred to as a term. Most LTC insurance policies offer a term of three to five years. The longer the term, the more the policy will cost. The average stay in a nursing home is 2.3 to 2.6 years, so three years will often suffice. However, if your immediate family is in relatively good health, you may want to consider spending the extra money for a policy that provides longer lasting coverage.
If you buy a policy now and do not need it for many years, that’s a good thing health-wise. You are indeed aging gracefully! However, a dormant policy loses value to inflation as the years pass. For this reason, we recommend adding a feature called “inflation protection” to account for the rising cost of care. Most LTC insurance policies offer 3-5% compounded inflation protection; the higher inflation protection percentage you choose, the higher the cost of your policy. But again, the extra cost can be worth it to know that you’re covered.
Did you know that married couples typically enjoy 10-15% lower LTC insurance rates than single applicants?
The insurance company assumes that your spouse or partner will be able to provide some of the care needed, thus delaying an influx of daily care costs with a provider or care facility. If you and your spouse, or domestic partner, apply for long-term care life insurance together, you might even save up to 35 percent! Kiplinger explains further:
“Married couples should consider a ‘shared care’ rider, which allows couples to share benefits. If a husband and wife each have a three-year benefit period, for example, and the wife develops dementia and uses up three years of care, she can dip into her husband’s benefits.”
There is a lot at play when you’re buying long-term care insurance in your 60s. Let JRC Insurance Group help you secure an affordable and reliable long-term care insurance policy, so you can get back to doing the things you love. The peace of mind in knowing your long-term care costs are covered will bring an added sense of freedom to your life, which is exactly why we love our work as independent insurance agents. We take pride in helping each and every client find the policy that’s right for them. For a free quote and consultation from your friends in the insurance industry, call JRC at 855-247-9555 today!
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