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Long Term Care > Basics

Purchasing long-term care insurance is affected by your age when purchasing the policy. The younger you are, the less you will pay for your premiums, though you will be paying them for a longer period of time.

Buying an $800 policy at 55 will save you from buying the equivalent at 65 for nearly twice as much. A good time to buy long-term care insurance is between 50 and 55, though you may want to purchase one earlier if your employer sponsors a long-term care group plan at an affordable rate. Most insurers will not sell you a long-term care policy if you're over the age of 85, or if you have a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

The most important aspect of a long-term care policy is its benefit triggers, the conditions that must be true for you to being receiving coverage. Usually, you must have a medical condition requiring nursing care. The most comprehensive, and most expensive, plans start paying benefits if you suffer from cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer's, even if you can still bathe and dress yourself.

Bathing is the first of the several activities of daily living to be in need of assistance for most people. Activities of daily living are the most commonly used benefit triggers. They include bathing, dressing, and different kinds of mobility. Your benefits start getting paid when you can no longer perform a certain number of activities of daily living without assistance; good policies require two.

You should ensure that your long-term care policy covers all levels of care, custodial or personal, in a variety of settings. The settings can include adult day care, assisted living facilities, facility care services and nursing facilities. Make sure you're aware of the types of services and facilities that are covered by your policy.

Make sure that the policies you are looking at have the waiver of premium feature. This will allow you to stop premium payments once you begin receiving benefits. Check the limitations on this feature. Some policies require you to be in a nursing home for a specified period of time, usually 60 to 90 days, before your premiums are waived.

Most long-term care policies must be guaranteed renewable, though that doesn't mean that your insurance company will guarantee a fixed premium. You'll just be able to get the same policy no matter what your medical condition.

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