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Consumers Over-Estimate Long Term Care Insurance Cost

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new report reveals that American consumers perceive costs for long term care insurance are more than twice the actual cost of protection.

The report from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the industry trade organization highlights the most commonly held misperceptions about long term care insurance. According to the report, consumers also associate long-term care primarily with nursing home care. The prevailing misperception however is cost. Consumers perceive the cost is significantly higher than reality and most are not aware of ways to reduce the price for this protection.

The perception that longterm care insurance is expensive is the number one reason given by individuals for failing to investigate this important planning option, according to the report's author. A significant percentage greatly overestimated what they would actually pay for coverage.

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Costs for long-term care insurance are based on the age of the applicant, their health status when they apply and how much coverage they purchase. By right-sizing a plan of protection to match the level of retirement funds you want to protect and by taking advantage of the many discounts available today, an individual can pay as little as $20-a-week for a solid plan of protection the report acknowledges.

The organization's 2009 industry Sourcebook report examined what individuals in New York State paid for long-term care protection. Those between the ages of 50 and 54 paid as little as $989-per-year; for those between 60 and 64 the lowest amount paid was $1,125. The report notes that the average purchaser of long term care insurance currently pays between $1,800 and $2,000 a year, but points out "the choice to buy more protection is a personal decision based on each person's need and ability to afford coverage.

Over half of those who purchase long term care insurance do so through an independent insurance agent with the rest now buying coverage through an employer-sponsored plan. The study examined what those who purchase coverage at work pay. Those between the ages of 45 and 54 paid as little as $430-per-year. For those between 55 and 64, the lowest amount paid was $750. The average paid for each age-band was $690 and $1,120 respectively.

It is important for consumers to understand that long-term care is expensive but long term care insurance need not be, the report concludes. There are numerous ways people can reduce the cost. Among the savings techniques are, working with an agent who has access to coverage from multiple insurers. The study found that costs can vary significantly from one insurer to another. Ask about discounts offered when both spouses purchase coverage, reduced costs for those in good health and consider co-insuring some of the initial cost by including a deductible.

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance