With average life expectancies growing longer, the chances of needing long-term care at some point is increasing. So is the cost of care, however, which makes it prohibitive for many. Consider this: according to long-term care insurance provider Genworth, in 2015 the annual median cost of adult day care was $17,904 while an assisted living facility cost $43,200 a year on average and a nursing home cost anywhere from $80,300 to $91,250 annually.

One way to defray these costs is to take out long-term care insurance. This type of insurance will cover any long-term care needs, whether it’s an assisted living facility, in-home care or a nursing home. But it's not cheap. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, in 2012 a couple age 55 paid anywhere from $2,080 to $4,824 for a benefit of $164,000 each. That payment jumped to between $2,794 and $5,637 at age 60. Wait even longer and the annual premium will be even higher. (Read more here: Long-Term Care Insurance: Who Needs It?)

While long-term care insurance can be expensive, there are still ways to save. From taking out insurance at the right age to looking for discounts, here’s how to get your long-term insurance cheaper.

The Younger You Are, The More You Save

As with health insurance, people taking out long-term insurance are charged based upon their health when they begin the policy. So if you get coverage when you're in your 70s, it will cost more than if you had taken out a policy at 55, when you're generally healthier. That’s because the older you are, the higher the odds that your health will suffer, making you a bigger risk for the insurer. So there's a chance you won’t get coverage at all, or will have to pay through the roof for it.

To lock in savings, consider taking out long-term care insurance when you're in your mid 50s to your early 60s when the premiums are cheaper.  (For more, read: What’s the Best Time to Get Long-Term Care Insurance?)

Shop Around For Coverage

If you like to scour the internet for deals on everything, you should apply your frugal nature to purchasing long-term care insurance. The price that carriers charge for coverage varies from one insurer to the next, which is why you'll want to get multiple quotes before choosing which provider to go with. Rates can vary for a lot of reasons, such as if an insurance provider stops offering a certain insurance product. You could use an insurance agent, but if you choose one who can only sell one or two polices, you'll be greatly limited in your choice and in your ability to save. Safe bet: pick an insurance agent who sells polices from four or more insurance providers.

Extend the Waiting Period For Coverage To Kick In

High-deductible insurance plans are a way to save on auto and health insurance premiums. But when it comes to long-term care insurance, extending the waiting period is a good way to achieve that. With long-term care insurance, policy holders choose when to have their benefits kick in. Typically the waiting periods are 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, with 30 days being the most expensive and 120 days the cheapest. The longer your waiting period, the more you'll save in premiums because there’s less burden on the insurer.

That said, this only makes sense if you have other money set aside for long-term care.  After all, if you do get hurt, you want to make sure you can afford your care until your benefits kick in. (Read more here: Long-Term Care: More Than Just A Nursing Home.)

Forgo Inflation Protection

Long-term care insurance is meant to protect you against future medical events. But in the future, whatever coverage you take out today will be worth less thanks to inflation. To combat that, many insurance providers offer an inflation rider. That means the daily benefits you’re paying for will carry the same value in 10 or 20 years. Consumers pay for this protection, so forgoing it can reduce your premiums. Much as like when you choose an extended waiting period, you'll need to cover any (inflation-related) shortfall if you get sick or hurt. (Read more, here: How to Choose the Best Long-term Care Insurance.)

The Bottom Line

Long-term care insurance can give you peace of mind and protect you from a costly illness or injury that renders you incapacitated. This insurance isn’t cheap, however, and can be cost-prohibitive for those who can't afford the premiums. Thankfully there are ways to save on premiums. Shopping around, forgoing inflation protection and extending the waiting period can all reduce costs associated with long-term care insurance. So can taking out this insurance when you're younger and, hopefully, healthier.

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