Certain long-term or chronic conditions require a substantial amount of care, and they can be incredibly expensive. For example, on average, assisted living facilities cost $4,000 per month ($48,000 a year). Private rooms in a nursing home run over $100,000 annually.
In many cases, standard health care coverage (including Medicare) contribute very little toward long-term care costs. As a result, long-term care insurance might be necessary to make it financially manageable. However, waiting until a critical health event occurs might make long-term care insurance impossible to obtain. If you are wondering if it can ever be too late to get long-term care insurance. Here’s what you need to know.
When It’s Too Late to Get Long-Term Care Insurance
There are instances where a person might not be eligible for long-term care insurance. Usually, this is based on the covered person’s current health, and certain conditions make them ineligible.
For example, individuals with AIDS (or AIDS-related complex), Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, metastatic cancer, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease will almost always be denied access to long-term care coverage. Similarly, anyone with a progressive neurological condition or who has had multiple strokes typically aren’t eligible.
Additionally, most insurers have a maximum age cutoff for new policies. Usually, anyone over 80 years old will be denied, though some companies may have stricter policies regarding age and others may allow those who are 80+ to get a policy, though might charge a high premium to provide the coverage.
Diagnosed With a Chronic Illness or Condition
Usually, the only time when it is definitively too late is when a person has been diagnosed with a chronic or degenerative illness or condition that is practically guaranteed to result in long-term care needs. In the eyes of insurers, that would be like giving a homeowners insurance policy to a house that was actively on fire. They just won’t do it.
Age-related denial can be a factor as well, especially for those who are 80 and older. Similarly, individuals who don’t have any of the health conditions above but are in poor health might struggle to find coverage. Most insurers require medical screenings and review applicant’s medical records. If they believe a person is too risky to cover, they simply won’t.
The Best Time to Get Long-Term Care Insurance
In many cases, long-term care insurance is easier to obtain if you are younger and in good health. Plus, your premium will be substantially lower, which can make your policy more affordable. This means that planning ahead pays off. It also ensures that you’ll have coverage in case you are diagnosed with a chronic or degenerative condition at any point in the future, as long as you pay your premiums.
However, if you are a younger adult and don’t want to commit right away, you should strongly consider it once you reach your 40s or 50s, depending on your health and financial state at that time. At times, making the decision to get insured even younger might be a smart move, particularly if your family has a history of health issues that you may experience as you age and could make it hard for you to get coverage.
Do you have long-term care insurance? Tell us what prompted you to get it or why you chose not to in the comments below.
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