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Long-Term-Care Insurance -- Why You Need It

Cameron Huddleston

If you don't think paying for this sort of coverage is a worthy expenditure, think again.

My mother has Alzheimer's disease -- and she doesn't have long-term-care insurance. She was turned down for coverage several years ago because of another health condition (she hadn't been diagnosed with Alzheimer's at that time).

Without long-term-care insurance, you (or your family) has to foot the bill for assisted-living or nursing-home care. Health insurance doesn't cover it. Medicare doesn't cover it. Medicaid does cover long-term care but only after you've depleted most of your assets. Considering that the median annual rate for a private room in a nursing home was $74,208 in 2009, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, it wouldn't take long to spend yourself into poverty. At that point, you're basically letting the government pick a nursing home for you.

Is that what you want? Probably not. That's why you need to consider buying a long-term-care policy. The younger and healthier you are when you get a policy, the cheaper your premiums will be. If you wait until you have a problem that requires long-term care, you won't be able to get coverage.

To learn more, start by taking our quiz to see how much you already know about long-term-care insurance. Then see our special report on long-term care for advice on shopping for a policy, deciding how much coverage you need and dealing with the paperwork after you file a claim. The special report also includes advice for people caring for a family member.

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