Is there an age limit, or health restrictions that would prevent a person from getting long-term care insurance?


Q: Now that my parents are in long-term care facilities, I'm beginning to think about my own future care needs. At what age should I start thinking about buying a long-term care policy?

Generally, the younger you are at the time you purchase, the less expensive the premium and the greater the likelihood you will be health-qualified and accepted for coverage. The best rates and range of services are available when a person is still healthy.

Middle age is the best time to think about buying long-term care insurance because that's when a person is most likely to qualify for a policy and when premium costs are at their lowest. The premium at age 50 is significantly less than ages 60 or 70.

If there is a pre-existing conditions clause, the policy may exclude certain medical problems. Some pre-existing conditions that typically exclude a person from coverage include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or AIDS. However, other types of pre-existing conditions, like diabetes or stroke, might not disqualify a person from long-term care insurance eligibility.

Without long-term-care insurance, which typically covers the cost of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and in-home care, the last years of life can be financially devastating for seniors and their families unless a person has the funds to pay for their own care.

Industry statistics estimate that the 45-to-54 demographic accounts for about 1 in 5 long-term care policies, while those 55 to 64 make up more than half of those buying the coverage, according to a 2010 report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

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The best time to buy a long term care insurance policy is one month before you need to make a claim.  That way, you would only pay one month's worth of premium and then you would receive benefit payments from the insurance company for many years to come. 

Unfortunately, none of us knows what month that will be.  None of us knows when we're going to need care.  Some people will never need care.  Others won't need care until their 80's or 90's.  But, many will need care in their 60's and even their 50's and 40's, (e.g. Christopher Reeves and Michael J. Fox.)  How then can we come up with a "rule of thumb" for determining the best time to purchase a long term care insurance policy?

Since long term care insurance is nothing more than income and asset protection, we should use a "financial model", not an "age or health" model for determining the best time to purchase long term care insurance. 

I think the time to purchase a long term care policy is when you can comfortably afford the premium without sacrificing contributions to your retirement accounts.
The short answer is "no." But Bob Bua is right, the younger the person is, the less expensive the policy. The other condition to consider is the purchaser's current health. A doctor's certificate is helpful.

Ask around. If you are considering a particular facility, part of the entrance policy may be that the resident have long-term health insurance. That means they can put you in touch with people in the facility who already have a policy. Do your own investigation as well. "Angie's List" will provide you with a place to start.

Good luck, and God bless.
Oftentimes, people 80 years and older are denied of long term care (LTC) insurance. It is advisable to buy it while you are in your 40s-50s, the premiums are affordable and there is little chance that you will be declined. However, insurance providers have pre-existing conditions so if you already have an illness that is in their list of pre-existing conditions, there is a big probability that you will be declined. The rules of different providers regarding the health of a person differs, but AIDS, Alzheimer's, dementia or even multiple sclerosis are usually in their list so it pays to talk to a professional and different providers so you will be more informed. Independent organization like aaltci and infolongtermare provides free quotes online and comprehensive guides in buying long term care insurance so before buying, do some research first.