How to Pay for Long-Term Care

Most people will need long-term care at some point, but insurance is pricey. Here’s a guide to covering the expenses.

A senior woman sits at a table.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless you maintain your health and mobility for the rest of your life, chances are you’ll eventually need some form of long-term care. Government estimates suggest that as many as 70% of older adults develop a need for long-term services and support before they die. Yet most adults haven’t taken any steps to prepare for it, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The numbers are daunting. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home exceeds $100,000 a year, according to the Genworth Cost of Care survey. The cost of a home health aide averages more than $60,000. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term-care expenses, so many Americans are on their own to fund their care. The options include traditional long-term-care insurance (purchased on the private market or as an employee benefit), a hybrid insurance policy or annuity with a long-term-care component, or self-funding care from your savings — or, if you deplete your assets, you may qualify for Medicaid. 

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Senior Retirement Editor,

Elaine Silvestrini has worked for Kiplinger since 2021, serving as senior retirement editor since 2022. Before that, she had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including and, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.