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Is it worth getting Long-Term Care Insurance?

There is a cost to getting older. It is inevitable. The vigor most of us in Texas enjoy through most of our lives doesn't usually last to our dying day. For some the decline can be sudden. For others, issues related to aging can strike relatively early and last for years.

Private insurance can help cover some of the costs with a properly structured policy. Medicare and Medicaid will help, but only so far. Long-term insurance is available, but a lot of insurers have stopped selling the product. When it's available, it can be expensive and rates just seem to be going higher. You have to ask if it's worth it.

It's probably safe to say that most financial planners and attorneys with experience in elder law and estate planning would agree that if a client can afford LTC coverage, it should be bought. Such insurance is only one element of a comprehensive estate plan, however, and the decision to include it should follow a full assessment of your particular situation in consultation with skilled counsel.

To understand the possible implications, consider a few facts. According to the federal government, 70 percent of seniors can expect to need some form of long-term care in their lifetimes. As of 2010, the average cost of care in the U.S. stood at about $6,235 a month for a semi-private nursing home room. The price approaches $7,000 a month for a private room. If you are able to get by in an assisted living setting, the average price will be about $3,300 for a one-bedroom unit.

Of course, costs vary from state to state. As it happens, the government says costs in Texas may run somewhat lower than the national average, but not always.

Considering the risks, it seems clear that the only way to be confident that you are prepared is to understand the data and cover all the many bases in a well-crafted plan.

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