Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

CHECK OUT OUR
NEW IPAD APP!

ATM Mobile App for iPhone and Ipad

Enjoy the best of AARP’s award-winning publications

on the go with the new

AARP ePubs iPad App

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Most Popular

Viewed

Commented

share your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Your Financial Future

Health Cost Paradox

Being healthy could cost you in the long run, so consider the pros and cons of long-term care insurance

Long-term care policies make sense if you are “concerned about spending down your resources,” said Christopher P. Covill, a partner at the Mercer consulting firm. The problem is, you don’t know what your health needs will be or how much they will cost. Covill said that long-term care policies typically offset costs but don’t fully cover them.

Questions to ask

If you think long-term care insurance is a good idea for you, shop around. Some of the issues to check out include whether a policy is inflation-adjusted so that payouts will rise over time; how flexible it is about where services are delivered; how good the company’s credit rating is (this will give you an idea of how likely the company is to be around when you need it); and what happens if you miss a premium payment.

Some policies offer a partial return of premiums if the benefits are not used. While features like that may make policies more attractive, Covill said that few people buy any kind of long-term care. When employers offer long-term care policies, usually on better terms than are available on the open market, fewer than 10 percent of employees opt for the benefit, he said.

That’s because buying long-term care insurance means facing mortality, your own, Covill said. “I think you need it, Martha, but I don’t. I’m going to die on a beach, running,” he joked.

Just remember: In the long term, we’re all dead, but in the longer term, it’s more expensive.

Martha M. Hamilton writes a regular column for the AARP Bulletin on retirement and financial issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Medicare & Medicaid News

Discounts & Benefits

bring health To Life-Visual MD

AARP Bookstore

AARP Bookstore - woman reaches for book on bookshelf

VISIT THE HEALTH SECTION

Find titles on brain health, drug alternatives and losing weight. Do