Wednesday, Jan. 06, 2010

When to Buy Long-Term-Care Insurance

One thing that Medicare and Medigap do not cover is the potentially bankroll-busting cost of assisted living near life's end. These costs will be paid for under Medicaid coverage, which is essentially Medicare for low-income families and individuals. The important catch, though, is that Medicaid does not kick in until your personal resources have been all but exhausted. If you have little or no savings, you do not need long-term-care insurance. But given that a stay in a nursing home or another assisted-living arrangement including in-home care can easily run to $300,000 over two years, anyone with a sum of money to protect should consider long-term-care coverage through a private insurer. The annual costs range from $1,000 a year to $5,000 or more depending on your age and health and the benefits you select. Because this coverage can be expensive, and only about 1 in 10 people who buy it end up using the full benefit, you should consider skipping it if you have $1 million or more in savings and can thus be considered self-insured.

See more questions about Medicare:
Introduction: What About Health Care?
When — and How — to Enroll in Medicare
Medicare's Part A, B, D and More
How Medigap Policies Can Help