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Is long-term care insurance worth buying in your 50s? Experts weigh in

Long-term care insurance can help you plan for the high cost of care you may experience later in life.  Getty Images

You should strongly consider purchasing long-term care insurance as you age. Long-term care services can be costly, and since most older adults will need them, it's important to plan for that cost well in advance. Long-term care insurance can help you absorb those additional costs later in life by paying for services like nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health aides and more. 

But, you may be at a loss if you're in your 50s. After all, at 50, you're more than a decade from retirement age and it's normal to wonder whether spending money on long-term care insurance premiums now would be a waste. 

Then again, you never know when the need for long-term care may arise - and there may be other benefits to purchasing this type of insurance in your 50s. So, should you purchase a policy in your 50s? We asked multiple long-term care experts to weigh in.

Compare your long-term care insurance coverage options today

Is long-term care insurance worth buying in your 50s? Experts weigh in

Long-term care insurance is a strong product to consider in your 50s. For starters, it's typically less expensive and more available when you're younger. "Long-term care insurance in your 50s can be a wise investment," explains Larry Nisenson, CGO at Assured Allies, a firm that helps consumers plan for their long-term care needs. "The cost is lower because premiums are based on your age and health, which are generally better in your 50s. Even an unexpected health change could make it difficult or expensive to get coverage later."

"Should you buy long-term care insurance in your 50s? Absolutely," explains Virginia Barausky, National Director of Sales at The Pinnacle Group, a firm that helps consumers and financial advisors plan for long-term care needs. "This is the best time to take a look at long-term care policies," she said. "Policies are priced based on age as one of the factors, and putting a policy in place in your 50s vs. 60s or 70s, will truly save you money." 

Not to mention, your health plays a role in the affordability and availability of coverage. "Most people in their 50s tend to be very active and healthy, which allows for a better approval chance (there is an underwriting component to most policies)," Barausky added. 

Long-term care insurance is an important source of protection for your children, too. "Those in their 50s may have first hand experience dealing with parents in a long-term care situation," says Barausky. "This issue becomes front of mind as they look towards their own children and do not want to be a burden when they need care."

It's also important to think about your spouse. "If one spouse needs care, all assets could be spent leaving the surviving spouse with very little," explains Steve Azoury, ChFC and owner of the financial planning firm, Azoury Financial. "This could make buying long-term care insurance while you're still young worth it, shifting the risk of needing care onto the insurance company."

Finally, purchasing your coverage in your 50s may mean you have more benefits to fall back on. A key advantage to purchasing your policy at this age is that "your policy funds have a longer period of time to grow with the compound inflation protection benefit," explains Lori Martin, trainer for Certification for Long-Term Care, a company that provides certifications for long-term care insurance agents. "Someone who purchases a long-term care insurance policy at age 55 may not need any caregiving assistance until they are 85. That's 30 years of inflation protection growth on purchased benefits, providing even more funds to pay for care."

The bottom line

The bottom line is simple. If you're in your 50s and don't already have long-term care insurance, now is a compelling time to purchase a policy. Considering the fact that your age and health play a significant role in your premiums and acceptance, purchasing long-term care insurance now can offer savings. And, since a long-term care event can also have an impact on your children, spouse and other loved ones, purchasing a policy can offer peace of mind for all involved. Compare your long-term care insurance coverage options today

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