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3 smart long-term care insurance moves to make in your 70s

Long-term care insurance may still be a viable option in your 70s.  Getty Images

Long-term care insurance can offer valuable financial support by helping pay for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in-home caretakers. But if you're shopping for long-term care insurance in your 70s, you've likely faced some hurdles. After all, with rejection rates around 50% for 70 to 74 year old applicants, it can be difficult to find a policy that gives you affordable peace of mind - but it's not impossible. 

The good news is that you likely have multiple options to choose from, even in your 70s. However, it's imperative that you choose the best policy for your needs. And, there are a few smart moves you can make to ensure that you do. 

Compare long-term care insurance policies now and lock in your coverage today

3 smart long-term care insurance moves to make in your 70s

"When you enter your 70s, you may have had a health event or witnessed a friend or sibling with a health event," explains Rhonda Bills, CLTC, and trainer for Certification for Long-Term Care, a training company that offers long-term care insurance agent certifications. "One of my clients' first questions to me is, 'Did we wait too long?' The response is always NO." 

Here are a few moves you can make to find the best policy for your needs: 

Make a plan

The first thing you should do as you look for long-term care coverage in your 70s is make a plan. Do you know how to access care when the need arises? Do you plan on leaning on your family members? Would you rather age at home or does the constant professional health assistance that comes with a nursing home or assisted living community sound more fitting?

These are important questions to think about because the cost of long-term care varies depending on the type of care you receive. Moreover, some policies will only cover formal long-term care options while others will make it possible to pay informal caregivers like your family members and friends. 

You should also take this time to think about how much insurance you need. Chances are that you have retirement income. But how much of that income can you allocate to your care - and how much of a financial gap does long-term care insurance need to fill? The answers to these questions will help you find the type and amount of coverage you need. 

Chat with a long-term care insurance expert now if you need help making your plan

Shop around

Long-term care insurance options, limitations and premiums often vary from one provider to the next. So, it's important to shop around. That's especially true when you're in your 70s as potential rejection and high prices are valid concerns. But, comparing multiple policies may bring quality coverage options at affordable prices to light.

"If you're age 70 and shopping for long-term care, you should consider the difference in cost between insurance companies," explains Justin Stivers, financial advisor and founding attorney at Stivers Law, a law firm specializing in estate planning. "This is even true for policies with similar coverage. By shopping around, you can compare costs and identify policies that offer the best value." 

It's also important to note that different policies may come with different coverage options and features. "Shopping around for long-term care insurance can also allow you to explore policy features and select a plan that aligns with your needs and preferences," says Stivers. "Some policies may offer more comprehensive coverage for home care services and alternative care."

And shopping around could help you find better policy customization opportunities, "such as inflation protection riders, shared care benefits and non-forfeiture options," says Stivers. 

Get started

"A barrier for this age group is acceptance since the rejection rate by 70 years old is about 50%," Afik Gal, co-founder and president of the financial planning and insurance firm, Assured Allies, told CBS News Wednesday. And that "barrier" only grows as you age. Not only will prices rise, but the coverage you do get offered may not be as comprehensive as it could have been if you had applied at an earlier point. So, it's important to start now to give yourself the best chance of finding an effective policy at a reasonable price. 

The bottom line

Shopping for long-term care insurance in your 70s can be challenging. But, it may still be possible to find affordable coverage that meets your needs. Before you shop, think about what your needs are and create a long-term care plan. Then shop around to find a policy that fits within your plan. And, perhaps most importantly, you should start your search for coverage now as it may not be available or affordable later. Get in touch with a long-term care insurance specialist today to discuss your options

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