Whether you should buy a long term care insurance policy will depend on your age, health status, overall retirement goals, income and assets. For instance, if your only source of income is a Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you probably shouldn’t buy long term care insurance, as you may not be able to afford the premium.
On the other hand, if you have a large amount of assets but don’t want to use them to pay for long-term care, you may want to buy a long-term care insurance policy. Many people buy a policy because they want to stay independent of government aid or the help of family. They don’t want to burden anyone with having to care for them. However, you should not buy a policy if you cannot afford the premium or aren’t sure you can pay the premium for the rest of your life.
If you already have health problems that are likely to mean you will need long term care (for example, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease), you probably won’t be able to buy a policy. Insurance companies have medical underwriting standards to keep the cost of long term care insurance affordable. Without such standards, most people would not buy coverage until they needed long-term care services. Some states have a regulation requiring the insurance company and the agent to go through a worksheet with you to decide if long-term care insurance is right for you.The worksheet describes the premium for the policy you’re thinking about buying and asks you questions about the source and amount of your income and the amount of your savings and investments. Some states require you to fill out the worksheet and send it to the insurance company. Even if you aren’t required to fill out the worksheet, it might help you decide if long term care insurance is right for you.
Remember, not everyone should buy a long term care insurance policy. For some, a policy is affordable and worth the cost. For others, the cost is too great, or the policy they can afford doesn’t offer enough benefits to make it worthwhile. You should not buy long term care insurance if the only way you can afford to pay for it is by not paying other important bills. Look closely at your needs and resources, and discuss with a family member to decide if long term care insurance is right for you.
If, after careful consideration, you decide that long-term care insurance is right for you, check out the company and the agent, if one is involved, before you buy a policy. Insurance companies and agents must be licensed in your state to sell long-term care insurance.