Only one in 10 folks who buy long-term care insurance end up using the full benefit. But for them, it's an estate saver and your 50s is when you're likely to get the best deal. A healthy 55-year-old can expect to pay $1,000 a year for a basic plan; the cost doubles if you stay healthy and start coverage at 65. Once your health turns you'll pay at least 10% more and might be denied coverage altogether. Not everyone needs this coverage, which pays for costly assisted living near the end of life. But considering that these costs can easily total $300,000 over a couple of years you may want it to protect an estate larger than that. Prime candidates are anyone with Alzheimer's, stroke or other degenerative illnesses in their family.