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Investing Specialists

Five Key Questions About Long-Term Care Insurance

How likely are you to need it, and what kind of coverage should you buy?

When to purchase long-term care insurance--or perhaps more significantly, whether to purchase it at all--is on your mind, judging from the many responses to last week's article on the topic.

Many readers argued that this coverage is an essential component of their financial plans, for peace of mind as much as its role in preserving their nest eggs. Others, meanwhile, are forgoing this coverage because they question the likelihood that they'll incur long-term care costs or they have worries over insurance companies' financial health.

My previous article centered around the timing of a purchase of a long-term care policy, which is a key consideration for this type of coverage. If you buy a long-term care policy in your early 50s and don't need the coverage until you're 82 (or not at all), you'll pay a steep opportunity cost. But if you wait too long to buy a policy, it might be prohibitively expensive or you may have encountered a health condition that makes you uninsurable.