Should you get long-term care insurance?

Here’s something to think about: the median cost for a year in a nursing home is about $82,000 a year, according to an industry survey. Most Americans over 65 will need some type of long-term care.

Long-term care insurance can help cover the assistance you may need with things like bathing or preparing meals in nursing and assisted living facilities and even in your home. The average cost of such policies is about $2,700 a year. However, the older you are, the more you’ll pay.

You’ll also pay more depending on your health. With some serious conditions like Alzheimer’s or metastatic cancer, an insurer might refuse to offer a policy at all.

An alternative is a short-term care policy which is generally about a third the cost of long-term insurance. It can be less than $1,000 a year, but it covers a lot less. You’ll only get about a year in a nursing home. It may not cover an assisted living facility or home health aides.

Hybrid insurance combines life and long-term care in one policy. It allows you to tap into the death benefit if you need it for care, but that type of insurance requires a significant upfront payment. The average is $89,000.

There are a couple of caveats on hybrid policies. The big upfront premium is not tax deductible, and the growth you get on the policy may be low. You might be better off investing the money wisely yourself and saving it for when you need more care.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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