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Is long-term care insurance worth buying in your 40s? Experts weigh in

Long-term care insurance may be worthwhile in your 40s as long as you can afford it.  Getty Images

As you age, it's normal to start thinking about retirement and the joys and challenges that come with it. If you're in your 40s, it may be some time before you retire. But, planning for that time now can have its benefits. 

However, that involves more than simply deciding how much money you'll save to maintain your current quality of life. There are also added expenses later in life. For example, most older Americans will need long-term care services. Those services include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as home health aides and even adult day care

And, those services can be expensive. The estimated average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in 2024 is $8,929 per month, according to Genworth. And, in 2050, when those in their 40s are more likely to need this type of care, Genworth estimates that the cost of a semi-private room will have climbed to $19,256 per month. 

Long-term care insurance can help you pay that bill. But, is it worth buying in your 40s or should you wait until later in life?

Discuss your long-term care insurance options with an expert today

Is long-term care insurance worth buying in your 40s?

Whether or not long-term care insurance is worth buying in your 40s depends your financial ability and how you perceive the benefits of buying this type of insurance when you're young. Here are a few things you should consider as you make your decision:

Benefits of buying long-term care insurance in your 40s

There are several benefits to purchasing long-term care insurance when you're in your 40s. First, purchasing this type of insurance at this age can lead to significant savings. While there are several factors that play a role in long-term care insurance premiums, two of the most important factors to consider are your age and your health. 

When you purchase long-term care insurance in your 40s, rather than waiting, "it is significantly less expensive," explains Virginia Barausky, national director of sales for The Pinnacle Group, a company that helps consumers and financial advisors plan for long-term care needs. When comparing premiums for a 45 year old and a 52 year old "the difference is 34% in cost just for waiting 7 years."

"Premiums are age-based," says Keith Bercun, regional sales director at the financial management firm, OneAmerica. "So, getting it at age 40, you're going to get it at a much lower price than if you waited until you were 50 or 60."

"Not to mention, at age 40, you're generally going to be a lot more insurable than you will be in your 50s or 60s," explains Bercun. "So, the chances of getting coverage are dramatically increased by doing it in your 40s."

Finally, considering the fact that insurance companies must consider risk when writing policies, your long-term care insurance options may be limited as you age. "Typically, when people are in their 40s, their health is still good, which means they will have many options to choose from," explains Kelly Augspurger, CLTC, trainer for Certification for Long-Term Care, an education company that offers certifications for long-term care insurance agents.

Get long-term care insurance now before prices go up

Other considerations

While there are benefits to purchasing long-term care insurance in your 40s, there are also some drawbacks to consider: 

  • The cost: Long-term care insurance typically comes with monthly premiums. "Many folks simply do not have access to extra disposable income to fund a policy at this age," says Barausky. Not to mention, "you'll have to pay premiums for a longer period of time," explains Steve Azoury, ChFC and owner of the financial planning firm, Azoury Financial.
  • Inflation may limit your coverage: "If you buy a policy and you didn't get enough benefit coverage and/or, you did not add inflation protection, you run the risk of buying a policy at age 40, not needing it until you're 85, and you didn't buy enough coverage - which can leave you dramatically under-insured at the time you use it," explains Bercun. So, be sure to discuss inflation with an expert when purchasing a long-term care insurance policy in your 40s. An inflation rider may be needed.

The bottom line

Long-term care insurance is typically worth purchasing in your 40s. That is, as long as you can comfortably afford the premiums. The good news is that when you're in your 40s, your premiums may be lower than they will be later in life. Not to mention, you'll have a high probability of acceptance and plenty of options to choose from. Discuss your long-term care insurance options with a professional now

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