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Should I Buy a Long-Term Care Policy?

Exploring the Factors to Consider

Deciding whether or not to purchase a long-term care insurance policy is a complex decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. Long-term care (LTC) insurance provides coverage for individuals over the age of 65 or those with chronic or disabling conditions who require ongoing care. In this article, we will delve into the key factors to help you determine if buying a long-term care policy is the right choice for you.

Factors to Consider

  1. Affordability: One crucial factor to evaluate is whether you can afford the premiums associated with long-term care insurance. It's important to assess your financial situation and ensure that you have the means to make consistent premium payments over time. If you have financial insecurities or anticipate challenges in paying premiums, it may not be advisable to purchase a policy at this time.

  2. Family Medical History: Consider your family's medical history and whether there is a likelihood of requiring long-term care in the future. If you have a family history of chronic conditions or disabilities that necessitate ongoing care, having a long-term care policy can provide valuable financial protection.

  3. Liquid Net Worth: Assess your liquid net worth, which includes your readily available financial assets. Evaluate whether you have sufficient liquid assets to cover potential long-term care costs without depleting your savings or investments. A long-term care policy can help safeguard your nest egg and prevent it from being spent down due to the high costs of care.

  4. Cash Flow Needs in Retirement: Analyze your cash flow needs in retirement and determine how much of your income can be allocated towards long-term care insurance premiums. Ensure that purchasing a policy aligns with your overall retirement budget and financial goals.

  5. Coverage Gaps: Medicare provides some coverage for certain aspects of long-term care, but it does not cover all expenses. Evaluate the gaps in Medicare coverage and determine if a long-term care policy can bridge those gaps and provide comprehensive coverage for your specific needs.

  6. Policy Flexibility: Long-term care insurance offers more flexibility and options compared to public assistance programs like Medicaid. Consider the level of flexibility you desire in terms of choosing care providers and the types of services covered. Assess whether a long-term care policy can provide the level of control and customization that meets your preferences.

Consult a Financial Advisor

Given the complexity and significance of purchasing a long-term care policy, it is highly recommended to consult a financial advisor. A financial professional can assess your unique circumstances, evaluate your financial goals, and provide personalized guidance on whether long-term care coverage should be incorporated into your overall financial plan. They can help you understand the costs, benefits, and alternatives to long-term care insurance, ensuring that you make an informed decision.

Review and Understand the Policy

Before finalizing any long-term care insurance purchase, carefully review the policy's terms and conditions. Pay close attention to coverage limits, daily benefit amounts, and any restrictions or limitations. Understand the premium structure and any potential premium increases over time. Take advantage of the free-look period offered by the policy, which allows you to review the terms and cancel without losing money if you are not satisfied.

In conclusion, the decision to buy a long-term care insurance policy should be based on a thorough evaluation of your financial situation, family medical history, and retirement goals. Assessing affordability, understanding coverage gaps, and consulting with a financial advisor are crucial steps in making an informed choice. By carefully considering these factors, you can determine whether purchasing a long-term care policy aligns with your needs and provides the necessary protection for your future care requirements.


Whether you should own a long-term care insurance policy depends on a myriad of factors, including but not limited to affordability, family medical history, your liquid net worth and your cash flow needs in retirement. It also depends on your ability to make consistent premium payments to ensure your policy stays in force over time.

Since a Long-Term Care plan requires you to keep paying the (steep) premium until you actually start to use the coverage – or you’ll lose it, it may not be a great idea to buy the policy if you have financial insecurities in the near (or even distant) future.

That being said, a long-term care insurance policy can be an effective way to cover the bases that Medicare does not, while also protecting your nest egg from being spent-down as a result of needing to pay for care. Ultimately, you should consult your financial advisor to see if long-term care coverage can and should fit into your overall financial plan.

What is AARP?
What does Medicaid cover?
How Often Should I Call my Financial Advisor?
How Do I Calculate my Net Worth?

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