Long-Term Care You Can Afford

By taking more risk, you can snag a lower premium.

If you're thinking about buying long-term-care insurance, here's one more reason to do it: Long-term-care costs continue to escalate. In 2009, the average annual cost of a private nursing-home room rose 3%, to nearly $80,000. Luckily, many employers are now offering long-term-care insurance as an employee benefit, and the deals tend to be better than they were even a few years ago.

Previously, group long-term-care policies asked few, if any, questions about an applicant’s health. That made group plans a good choice for people with preexisting conditions, but not so great for healthy people. Now, group policies look a lot more like individual long-term-care insurance -- but at a better price.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.