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Is long-term care insurance worth it for seniors in their 70s? Experts weigh in

a nurse visits an elderly disabled woman at home and helps her
Experts say long-term care insurance can make a lot of sense in many cases — even if you're over the age of 70. Getty Images

The cost of nursing homes, assisted living and at-home care is pretty pricy these days. In fact, data shows the average nursing home facility runs seniors anywhere from $8,600 to $9,700 per month. Unless you have long-term care insurance, those costs can eat into your retirement funds and nest egg quickly.

"Long-term care insurance helps cover the exorbitant costs of in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home stays, which can easily run $50,000 or more per year," says Neal Shah, founder of caregiving platform CareYaya. "With a good long-term care policy in place, seniors can preserve their assets and ensure they have access to the care they need without going bankrupt."

But while long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of this type of care, long-term care policy premiums also increase as you age, so at what point is buying a policy no longer worth it? Once you hit 70, do the benefits still outweigh the cost? Let's find out.

Explore your long-term care insurance policy options online now.

Is long-term care insurance worth it for seniors in their 70s? Experts weigh in

Here's when experts say a long-term care insurance policy might work out for seniors in their 70s.

When long-term care insurance can be worth it for seniors in their 70s

Long-term care insurance might be worth it if you're still in good health, as these policies require medical underwriting. They also may be worth it if you're looking to protect your loved ones financially as you age. 

"Over 50% of aging adults will likely need caregiving support," says Larry Nisenson, chief growth officer at Assured Allies. "A long-term care insurance policy can help ease the family's financial and emotional burden by providing a source of income to cover professional caregivers."

If you rely solely on Medicare to cover the costs of your care, then buying a long-term care insurance policy can also be smart, says Esther Cromwell, founder of Avendelle Assisted Living.

"With Medicare covering limited aspects of long-term care, this insurance is critical in securing a stable and worry-free future," Cromwell says. "It protects both the seniors and their families from financial burdens."

Learn more about how the right long-term care insurance policy could benefit you today.

When long-term care insurance isn't worth it for seniors in their 70s

Long-term care insurance premiums increase as you age, so getting a policy in your 70s will likely cost you more than it would have years earlier. 

"Long-term care insurance can be quite expensive," Shah says, "especially for those purchasing it later in life."

If you have plenty of cash available to cover the costs of future care, then long-term care insurance may not be worth the price. According to Bill Bunting, COO of Avendelle Assisted Living, seniors at his facility use a wide variety of income sources to pay for their care — Social Security payments, pension plans, investment and retirement accounts, savings, 401(k)s, and more. Many seniors also use proceeds from selling their properties or businesses to fund long-term care.

"The aging senior population has prepared for retirement," Bunting says. 

If you have loved ones who have the cash to care for you or can care for you physically themselves, you may also be able to skip the long-term care policy. In fact, you might have to if you're already in poor health or have a life-threatening illness. 

"When someone gets a dire diagnosis that could lead to long-term care needs, it is almost always too late to purchase the insurance," says Mark Baron, owner of Baron Long Term Care Insurance.

The bottom line

If you want to minimize those high costs, shop around and compare several long-term care insurance companies before taking out your policy. There are also other ways to protect against long-term healthcare costs you might want to explore. For one, many life insurance policies offer long-term care benefits or riders. These cover your long-term care costs or, if you don't end up needing long-term care, pay out those benefits to your heirs once you pass away. Some annuities offer similar perks.

If you're considering one of these alternatives, you'll want to explore them before applying for any long-term care policy. According to the American Association for Long-term Care Insurance, nearly half of all applicants 70 to 74 are denied long-term care insurance policies. These denials can make it impossible to get approved for other products, like life insurance or annuities, Baron says. 

"If someone gets declined, they may have lost a chance for other products," Baron says. "Some plans are an automatic decline for at least a full year if someone was declined for long-term care coverage elsewhere."

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