1. Introduction
  2. What Long-Term Care Insurance Protects Against
  3. Who Should Buy Long-Term Care Insurance and When?
  4. The Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance
  5. Finding an Affordable Policy
  6. Rate Increases
  7. How Much Insurance Should You Buy?
  8. Choosing a Long-Term Care Insurer
  9. Using Your Long-Term Care Insurance Policy
  10. The Bottom Line

We’re living longer, but we aren’t always able to care for ourselves when we’re older, especially after an illness or injury. Close relatives and friends we count on today might not be alive, capable or available to help us get dressed, get around or feed ourselves if we need it. Even if they are, we might not want to rely on them for help – especially when it comes to highly personal activities like bathing and using the toilet. That’s why long-term care is something you should think about years before you might need it.

If you’re healthy and active today, it’s hard to imagine a time when you might ever need extensive help. And it's also not pleasant to think about the possibility of being so dependent on others. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that about half of Americans who turned 65 in 2015 will need long-term care services

If life spans continue to increase, the odds of needing long-term care will go up, too, unless we get better at preventing hip fractures, strokes and other incidents that handicap us – not to mention illnesses that can be severely debilitating over the long run, like cancer and Alzheimer’s. (See also Taking the Surprise Out of Long-Term Care.)

Getting help with activities of daily living, as elder-care professionals call it, isn’t cheap. According to the 2015 cost of care survey from Genworth Financial, an insurance and annuity company, the national average for a year of long-term care services is about $18,000 for adult day care, about $43,000 for an assisted living facility, about $45,000 for in-home care, about $80,000 for a shared nursing home room and about $91,000 for a private nursing home room. (Adult day care, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is a program that supervises adults who need assistance during the day so their regular caregivers can go to work, run errands or otherwise take a break.) 

Long-term care (LTC) insurance can help you manage these high costs, but a policy can be so expensive that many people don’t buy one. In this tutorial, we’ll tell you what LTC insurance covers; who should buy it and at what age; how much it costs and what factors affect premiums so you can design an affordable policy; how to buy a policy and how it works if you need to use it.

What Long-Term Care Insurance Protects Against
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