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The Short Answer

When Is the Right Time to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

Lower premiums might not always be worth the opportunity cost.


Question: My husband and I are in our early 50s with no kids. We'd like to purchase long-term care insurance but wrestle with the right time to do so. I know it's cheaper to buy a policy when you're younger, but my hope is not to need this coverage for another 30 years, if at all. Any guidance?

Answer: With nursing home care averaging $200 a day in 2008, according to  MetLife  (MET) (and skilled home health care or nursing care at higher-end facilities or in high-cost geographies costing a lot more than that), you're wise to contemplate a purchase of long-term care insurance. But you've hit on one of the crucial questions: When is the time to buy it?

Much like the questions surrounding when to begin collecting Social Security benefits, timing a long-term care insurance purchase is more art than science and involves guessing about your own health and future.

Christine Benz does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.