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4 signs that you need long-term care insurance, according to experts

Long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of nursing homes and in-home caretakers. Yuri Arcurs Images

Healthcare costs have been on the rise for decades. While this impacts virtually every American, those on limited incomes — like seniors and retirees, for example — are uniquely affected. 

This is especially true when you consider the high costs of long-term care, which many older Americans will need as they age (seven out of 10, in fact, according to insurance company Genworth.) The typical nursing home runs from $8,669 to $9,733 per month, while in-home care ranges between $5,720 to $6,292. 

Fortunately, there are insurance options — like long-term care insurance — that can help you and your loved ones deal with these rising costs. But is this unique form of insurance best for you? We asked some experts but their thoughts on how to tell if long-term care insurance is right for you.

You can easily explore your long-term care insurance options online now.

4 signs that you need long-term care insurance, according to experts

Here are four indications that you may require long-term care insurance, according to the experts we spoke to.

You're over 50

While long-term care usually isn't needed until much later in life, your 50s are the "sweet spot" for getting long-term care insurance, according to Dan Schulte, senior vice president of annuities and insurance at Benjamin F. Edwards. 

"These contracts require medical underwriting, so the later someone waits to purchase coverage, the less likely they are to qualify for care, and the more costly the premiums," Schulte says. 

Your 50s are also a time when you may have more funds to put toward added retirement and health needs.

"At that point, retirement is front of mind, and people begin to seriously think about situations that they may have struggled to fathom earlier in their lives," says James Bremis, a senior financial planner at Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group. "When you're younger, there are usually a lot of other competing priorities — kids, college funding, etc."

Learn more about your long-term care insurance options here.

You're still in good health

It's important to consider long-term care insurance before you actually need it — meaning before any chronic conditions have developed or you're unable to fully care for yourself.

"Long-term care insurance is not a good fit for people who already have complicating, chronic medical conditions that would prohibit them from qualifying for the medical underwriting required," says Bill Comfort, director of training at Certification for Long Term Care and owner of Comfort Assurance Group.  

Getting your policy when you're healthy won't just help you qualify, though. It can also get you lower premiums.

You want to maintain a comfortable retirement

Long-term care insurance can prevent you from dipping into your retirement funds too far, so if you're worried about maintaining a comfortable lifestyle as you age, it may be worth a look. 

This is a particularly important consideration for couples, Comfort says, as often one will need long-term care before the other, leaving the still-independent spouse with little financial resources."For couples where one needs care, most can't afford that extra monthly expense without seriously jeopardizing their ongoing lifestyle and financial security," Comfort says. 

You have no caretaker options

Finally, you should also look into long-term care insurance if you have no caretaker options (kids, spouse, etc.) or you don't want those loved ones to deal with the responsibility and costs of your care.

"Long-term care insurance is also for those who don't want to burden their children or family members should care be needed," says Suzanne Haslam, senior vice president at insurance and benefits firm Woodruff Sawyer. "It will allow someone to pay for outside or in-home care that they need."

See how much a long-term care insurance policy could cost you here.

Getting the insurance you need

If you do opt for long-term care insurance, shop around for your insurer first. Eligibility requirements and premiums can vary from one company to the next, so comparing options can help you get the best coverage and price

"You can also see if your employer offers a group sponsored program where you can take advantage of group discounted pricing," Haslam says. "Or you can talk to a licensed agent who can help you explore the options in the individual marketplace."

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