Planning for retirement can feel like an overwhelming task.  With so many things to consider, it can be hard to know where to start.  While long term care insurance may not be right for everyone, having a plan for long term care is.  To help ease your mind and give you a starting point, here are 6 tips to consider before buying long term care insurance:

1)    Do your research – was designed to be your ‘go to’ resource for long term care preparation.  We provide unbiased information on the cost and benefits of insurance in an easy to understand setting. 

2)    Compare plans – It is a good idea to compare the cost and features of different types of plans from a variety of long term care insurance carriers.  Costs can vary greatly based on your age, health, state of residence and what carrier you apply with.  Our Long Term Care Insurance Instant Quote tool is the first to give anyone the ability to compare costs from multiple carriers, with multiple benefit options without giving personal information first.

3)    Speak to a specialist – It is important to work with someone who specializes in long term care planning who can make the complex simple.  You want to be able to trust your specialist and they should be able to offer you multiple options.  The goal of a specialist should always be to educate first and foremost.  You want to look for someone with experience when choosing a LTC Specialist.  If they have hundreds or thousands of customers they have helped buy LTCI, it is a good indication they have the experience needed to help you.

4)    Apply early – Despite what people may think, you have to health-qualify for long term care insurance.  If you have pre-existing health issues, it may be a deal-breaker in obtaining coverage.  That is why we encourage people to apply for long term care insurance early, before certain health issues arise.  A good milestone to consider is your 50th or 55th birthday.

5)    Don’t overspend – You will likely have this plan for 30+ years, so it is important to pick a plan with a price that you can afford not just today, but when you are in your 80s.  A long term care policy is only good if it is inforce at the time of claim, so having a policy for years, only to drop it because it is too expensive, is a waste of money and will leave you unprotected.  Make sure to consider if you could afford to keep the policy if rates go up by 20-30% at some point.

6)    Have the talk – Once you have your plan, make sure to communicate it to your loved ones.   Let them know where items are stored and who should get them and your wishes for care if you cannot communicate.  It is also a good idea to give the family member who will be responsible for you a copy of your policy in case they need to call the carrier on your behalf.

The best advice that you can follow is to do your research and speak with a specialist.  All LTC Consumer specialists focus on education above all else.  Whether you work with us or not, make sure to use these tips as you plan for a long term care event.

LTC Consumer is an independent, free online service to help consumers understand what long term care insurance is, how it works, and how to evaluate coverage options. Our mission is to provide an educational, no-pressure resource for learning about long term care planning, with the opportunity to speak with specialists who can help them.