July 25


At What Age Should You Get Long-Term Care Insurance?

By Harrison O'Reill

July 25, 2023

As you age, it’s natural to start thinking about your future and what kind of care you may need as you get older. Long-term care insurance is one option that many people consider to help cover the costs of care. However, you may be wondering if there is a point where it’s too late to get long-term care insurance.

The truth is the ideal time to purchase long-term care insurance is when you’re younger and healthier. Premiums tend to be lower when you’re younger, and you’re more likely to be approved for coverage.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s ever too late to consider long-term care insurance. In fact, there are still options available to you, even if you’re older or have health issues.

Why? Keep scrolling through to find out more!

Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance that covers the cost of long-term care services for individuals who are unable to perform basic activities of daily living (ADLs) on their own due to illness, injury, or age-related conditions.

Long-term care insurance provides coverage for services such as nursing home care, in-home care, and adult day care center services. It is important to note that long-term care insurance does not cover medical care but rather custodial care that helps individuals with ADLs.

Types of Services Covered

Long-term care insurance covers a range of services, including:

  • Skilled nursing care
  • Personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Homemaker services, such as cleaning and cooking
  • Adult daycare center services
  • In-home care, including home health aides and skilled nursing care

Cost and Premiums

The cost of long-term care insurance varies depending on factors such as age, gender, marital status, and pre-existing conditions.

Women typically pay more for long-term care insurance than men, as they tend to live longer and require more care. Premiums also increase with age and the presence of pre-existing conditions.

It is important to consider the timing of purchasing long-term care insurance. The younger you are when you purchase a policy, the lower your premiums will be. Waiting until you are older or have health problems could make it difficult to obtain coverage or result in higher premiums.

Bottom Line

Long-term care insurance can be a valuable investment for individuals who want to ensure that they will be able to afford long-term care services if needed. However, it is important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of a policy before purchasing one. It is also important to note that long-term care insurance is not a substitute for Medicare or other medical insurance.

Alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance

If you are concerned about the cost of long-term care insurance or if you are no longer eligible for coverage due to your age or health, there are still alternatives available to help you cover the cost of long-term care.


Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals, including seniors who need long-term care. If you meet the eligibility requirements, Medicaid can help cover the cost of nursing home care, as well as some in-home care services.


However, Medicaid has strict income and asset limits, and you may need to spend down your assets before you can qualify.

Savings and Assets

Another option is to use your savings and assets to pay for long-term care expenses. This can include selling your home or other assets or using retirement savings such as a 401(k) or IRA.

It is important to work with a financial advisor to develop a plan that balances your long-term care needs with your retirement goals.

Other Insurance Policies

You may also have other insurance policies that can help cover the cost of long-term care. For example, some life insurance policies have a long-term care rider that allows you to use the death benefit to pay for long-term care expenses. Additionally, some health insurance policies may cover certain long-term care services.

Financial Advisor

Working with a financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive plan for covering the cost of long-term care. A financial advisor can help you evaluate your options, including long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and using your savings and assets.

They can also help you plan for other retirement expenses and ensure that you have a plan in place to cover the cost of long-term care if it becomes necessary.

In summary, long-term care insurance is not the only option for covering the cost of long-term care. Medicaid, savings and assets, other insurance policies, and working with a financial advisor are all viable alternatives. It is important to evaluate your options and work with a professional to develop a plan that meets your needs and goals.


In conclusion, determining the right age to obtain long-term care insurance is a critical decision that requires careful consideration. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, several factors can guide individuals in making an informed choice.

It is generally advisable to consider long-term care insurance in your 50s or early 60s when premiums are more affordable and you are still in good health. By purchasing coverage at a younger age, you can lock in lower premiums and ensure comprehensive protection against the potential costs of long-term care.

However, each person’s financial situation, health condition, and personal preferences should be taken into account. It is important to weigh the risks, benefits, and affordability of long-term care insurance while keeping in mind that procrastination can lead to limited options or potential denial of coverage due to health issues.

Consulting with a financial advisor or insurance professional can provide valuable insights and help you navigate this complex decision-making process. Ultimately, the goal is to secure a long-term care insurance plan that aligns with your specific needs and offers peace of mind for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the common questions about this topic:

When should I consider getting long-term care insurance?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but it’s generally recommended to start considering long-term care insurance in your late 50s or early 60s. This is when you’re still relatively healthy and more likely to qualify for coverage at a lower premium.

Waiting too long may increase the risk of developing health conditions that can make it difficult to obtain coverage or result in higher premiums.

What factors should I consider when deciding the right age to purchase long-term care insurance?

Several factors can influence your decision. First, assess your family’s medical history and consider any potential genetic predispositions for certain conditions.

Second, evaluate your financial situation and determine if you can comfortably afford the premiums. Finally, think about your personal risk tolerance and preferences for long-term care options, such as home care or assisted living facilities.

Can I wait until I’m older to purchase long-term care insurance?

While it’s possible to wait, keep in mind that the cost of premiums generally increases as you get older. Moreover, there’s always a chance that your health may deteriorate, making it difficult to qualify for coverage or resulting in higher premiums. Waiting too long might also limit your policy options, as some insurers have age restrictions.

Is it ever too early to consider long-term care insurance?

It’s uncommon for individuals in their 30s or 40s to prioritize long-term care insurance, as they may have other financial priorities like saving for retirement or paying off debts. However, if you have a family history of chronic illnesses or conditions that commonly require long-term care, it may be worth exploring long-term care insurance options earlier.

Additionally, some policies offer benefits like premium discounts for those who purchase coverage at a younger age.

Can I rely solely on Medicare or Medicaid for long-term care coverage?

Medicare only provides limited coverage for short-term skilled nursing care, typically following a hospital stay. It doesn’t cover custodial care, which includes assistance with activities of daily living like bathing or dressing.

Medicaid may offer long-term care coverage for those with limited assets and income, but eligibility requirements vary by state, and it’s typically reserved for individuals with low income and few assets.

Long-term care insurance can provide additional coverage options and flexibility beyond what Medicare or Medicaid offers.

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