Is long term care insurance a wise purchase? You'll need to evaluate the pros and cons of long term care insurance to come up with your own answer. Here are five questions to ask to help you determine the pros and cons of long term care insurance.
- Do you lead a healthy lifestyle? Believe it or not, healthy may mean you are more likely to need care. The healthiest people are often the ones that end up needing long term care assistance later in life, whereas heart problems or cancer may take the unhealthy ones sooner. One of the pros of long term care insurance for a healthy person is it can allow you to stay in your home and maintain your independence longer. This is because most policies issued today cover the cost of in-home care, which can provide someone to help with many of the activities of daily living.
- What does your family's health history look like? What is longevity and health like for your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and siblings? Has anyone needed care later in life? Who was there to assist them? What if they had needed care? How would it have affected the family? A pro of long term care insurance is that it reduces the burden of care that may other wise fall on loved ones.
- Are you willing to spend your own assets down and then become a dependent of the state, or dependent on your family, should you need care? What if you break a hip later in life? What if your mind remains fully alert, but you need help cooking, cleaning and dressing, and you do not want to move in with a family member? Who would help and how would you pay for their help? Full time long term care assistance can run $6,000 - $10,000 a month or even more if medical care is needed. If you have sufficient assets to cover this cost, then you have no need for long term care insurance.
- Can you afford a premium that would provide you a reasonable amount of coverage? Long term care insurance has features that you can adjust. Like buying a car, you can get all the extras, and pay for them, or you can buy a base model that costs less but still provides decent transportation. The major con of long term care insurance is the same as any insurance: you may pay premiums for years and never use the coverage. You need to look at it the same way you look at any other type of insurance. After paying for homeowner's insurance for years, are you upset that your home never burned down and that you never used your insurance?
- What do the long term care statistics say about how many people will need care, and how long they will need it for? According to long term care statistics "the lifetime probability of becoming disabled in at least two activities of daily living or of being cognitively impaired is 68% for people age 65 and older." It is good to look at the statistics, but your personal odds are either zero or 100%. You either will need care or you won’t.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Long Term Care Insurance
- The pros of long term care insurance are that it allows you to maintain your independence and reduces the financial and psychological stress that a long term care need causes a family.
- The cons are the cost of the premiums.
Whether you buy insurance or not, you’ll want to have a plan in place so you and your family know what to do if you need care. That plan involves talking to family and friends about their ability to help, if and when help is needed.