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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.

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