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Buying long-term care insurance in your 60s? 5 ways to lower the costs

Healthcare costs refer to the expenses associated with medical services and the overall maintenance of one's health.
If you're facing high costs for your long-term care insurance coverage, there are strategies you can use to reduce the price, even in your 60s. Getty Images

As we get older, the possibility of needing long-term care becomes much more likely. But whether that care comes in the form of a home health aide who helps out for a few hours per day, an adult daycare that provides daytime supervision and care or a nursing home for round-the-clock assistance, these services can come with a hefty price tag if you have to pay out of pocket.

For example, in 2024, the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home surpassed $100,000 nationwide. And, the costs of this type of care can be even higher in some areas. Given the high average price tag, long-term care costs like these can put an enormous strain on your retirement savings, especially considering that Medicare typically does not cover long-term care costs. In turn, many older adults find themselves seeking solutions to make this type of care more affordable.

One potential solution is long-term care insurance. This type of insurance coverage is designed to help cover costs associated with long-term care services. By paying premiums to an insurance company, you gain access to a pool of funds that can then be used to pay for qualifying long-term care needs in the future. But the premiums for long-term care insurance aren't cheap, especially if you're buying it in your 60s. As such, it can pay off to look for ways to lower the costs. 

Find out what your long-term care insurance coverage costs could be here.

5 ways to lower long-term care insurance costs in your 60s

Before you try to cut the costs of your long-term care insurance, it's important to know what factors drive the cost of this type of coverage. The costs of a long-term care insurance policy are generally based on items like your age, health status and the level of coverage selected. 

In turn, purchasing a policy at a younger age and in good health will generally result in lower premiums. That's why many experts recommend at least exploring long-term care insurance options in your late 50s or early 60s before premiums become prohibitively expensive.

But there are ways to help make long-term care insurance more affordable — even if you're buying it in your 60s. Here are five potential strategies to reduce the costs:

Purchase a policy earlier in your 60s

The costs of long-term care insurance are based largely on your age and health status when you first purchase a policy. By purchasing a policy earlier in your 60s, such as age 62 or 63, you may have a better shot at locking in lower premiums compared to waiting until later in that decade. Every year in which you delay purchasing long-term care insurance you risk the premiums becoming more expensive due to your increased age and risk profile.

Compare your top long-term care insurance options online now.

Choose a longer elimination period

The elimination period tied to your long-term care insurance policy is essentially the waiting period before your long-term care insurance benefits kick in to start covering costs. Policies often have elimination periods ranging from 0 days to 120 days or more. By choosing a longer elimination period, you may be able to reduce your insurance premiums, as you are taking on more of the upfront costs of the policy before the insurance kicks in.

Opt for a shorter benefit period

Long-term care insurance policies will cover care costs for a set period, such as three years, five years or a much longer duration. The shorter the benefit period you choose, the lower your premiums will typically be. While a long or unlimited benefit period provides the most comprehensive coverage, a three-year benefit period can make your policy significantly more affordable — and depending on your needs, it could be perfectly adequate in terms of coverage.

Limit the inflation protection

Many long-term care policies have an inflation protection option that increases your benefit amount over time to keep up with rising long-term care costs. While this feature is quite valuable in today's inflationary environment, it can also greatly increase your premiums. So, if you want to save money on the costs of your policy, you may want to opt for lower amounts of inflation protection or remove it entirely to bring premiums down in the short term.

Consider a policy with a co-pay

Similar to health insurance policies, some long-term care insurance policies allow you to have a co-pay amount, where you pay a portion of costs out-of-pocket and the insurance policy covers the rest. And, in general, the higher your co-pay percentage is set, the lower your insurance premiums will be. For example, a policy with a 20% co-pay will be less expensive than one with no co-pay. 

So, it could make sense to opt for a long-term care insurance policy with a co-pay to help save money. Just make sure that you have enough money put away to afford to pay it out of pocket, should you need to utilize your long-term care insurance.

The bottom line

Ultimately, proper planning is key when it comes to long-term care costs, as these costs can drain your retirement savings if you have to pay out-of-pocket. By exploring options like long-term care insurance and finding ways to lower the premiums, you can hopefully ease the burden of these expenses later in life. And, while some of these cost-saving measures may lower your long-term care insurance benefits down the road, they can make the coverage much more affordable when purchasing a policy in your 60s. Before you make these moves, though, it's critical to weigh your retirement budget, health and potential long-term care needs to strike the right balance between coverage amounts and cost.

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