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Can you buy long-term care insurance in your 80s?

You may still qualify for long-term care insurance - even in your 80s.  Getty Images

Long-term care insurance is a product designed to help you plan for the financial burden associated with a potential need for long-term care later in life. And that burden isn't just a costly one, it's also a common one among older Americans. Many of these seniors can benefit from the nursing home, assisted living facility and in-home caretaker coverage a long-term care insurance policy offers.

That noted, long-term care insurance providers have to account for the risk they accept when they sell coverage - a risk that's higher when they cover older adults. But, what if you're in your 80s? Do you still qualify for long-term care insurance? And if so, is it even worth buying

Find out if you qualify for long-term care insurance today

Can you buy long-term care insurance in your 80s?

You may be able to buy a long-term care insurance policy in your 80s, but it's important that you act quickly. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the maximum age for this type of insurance is typically 85. So, it's important to act before then. 

It's also worth noting that your age isn't the only qualifying factor for a long-term care insurance policy. Your height, weight and current health factors (like pre-existing conditions and current medications) will also play a role in your ability to qualify for coverage. Nonetheless, as long as you're between 80 and 85 years old, it's worth applying as you may still have access to quality coverage options

Compare your long-term care insurance options now before it's too late

Why you should buy long-term care insurance in your 80s

There are several reasons to purchase long-term care insurance, even if you're in your 80s. The first reason to do so is to protect yourself financially. 

Long-term care services are often costly - generally ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars annually. Even if you have a sizable retirement nest egg, such a significant cost can pose a threat to your financial stability later in life. And when you're in your 80s, that threat is more pressing than it has been in the past as your likelihood of needing long-term care grows with age

Long-term care insurance can also protect your ability to receive care on your own terms. For example, a private room in a nursing home is typically more expensive than a semi-private room. While long-term care insurance may make it easy to choose a private option, if you're paying out of pocket, you may not be able to afford that luxury. 

But self-protection isn't the only reason to purchase long-term care insurance when you're in your 80s. In fact, this type of insurance can protect your friends and family members, too. Here's how: 

  • Providing professional care: Even if you plan to age at home and lean on your loved ones for your care, those who provide that care may need a break from time to time. Long-term care insurance usually covers services that make it possible to give the family members and friends who provide your care breaks when needed. For example, your policy may pay for adult daycare or the occasional home health aide. 
  • Providing payment for care: Some long-term care insurance policies, like cash benefit long-term care insurance, make it easy to pay your caregivers regardless of whether they're formal or informal. As such, you'll be able to use your long-term care insurance to pay your informal caregivers (like friends and family members) as long as you choose the right type of policy.  
  • Inheritance protection: If you don't have a plan to cover the cost of your care, you may lean on your estate for the money you need if a long-term care event takes place. Unfortunately, that means a long-term care event could result in you having fewer assets to leave behind for your family and friends when you die.  

The bottom line

Long-term care insurance can make it easier to plan for the cost of your care in the future. But, if you're in your 80s, it's important to act before you turn 86 as most providers won't accept applicants who are over 85 years old. 

Nonetheless, if you're between the ages of 80 and 85, long-term care insurance may be an effective way to plan for the cost of your care and protect your ability to choose the care you receive. It can also protect your loved ones from financial and emotional strain. Compare your long-term care insurance options now, before it's too late.

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