Long-term care insurance for the golden (and platinum) years
I’m in Arkansas this week and, naturally, long-term care insurance is on my mind. That’s because I’m spending time with my parents, both in their late 80s. As I’m enjoying their company and spring weather without a hint of humidity, I’m reminded of the longevity we are blessed with in my family. It’s a joy to see my mom tend her garden as her 89th birthday approaches. Dad does not get around as well, yet he keeps his blood pumping by spending hours at his computer watching his stocks rise and fall (mostly fall).
When I’m in my 80s, I fully expect to be puttering along as well as they do. There will be a lot of us. According to the U.S. Census data, in 2010 there were 22 people over the age of 65 for every 100 people. By 2030, that number will rise steeply – with 35 of every 100 Americans being over 65 years old. That’s 19 percent of the population. No surprise that Florida ranks #1 with the most households with senior citizens. Obviously, the need for long-term care insurance will increase.
Most people buy long-term care insurance around age 60, says the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The younger you are when you buy it, the more likely you are to be accepted for coverage. If you apply in your 50s, there’s a one in 10 chance you’ll be rejected. If you apply in your 60s, the chance of rejection is two in 10, and the odds against you double if you wait to apply for coverage until you hit your 70s. Of course, the younger you are, the lower the premium will be for a given set of benefits and features. Once the premium is set, it stays at that amount for the life of the policy, unless the claims for the group of people who have bought that type of policy require rates for the group be raised to cover claim payments.
You’ve got lots of options in planning for the silver and golden (and platinum) years. Some people think they should invest what they would have paid in long-term care, rather than buying an insurance policy. But that may leave you vulnerable if you need the benefits earlier than planned. Like most things in life, do your homework on long-term care. And, celebrate your years – since this is Older Americans Month, and the theme is “Never Too Old to Play.” I like the sound of that!