In my previous post, I discussed the factors we should consider for long-term care insurance, the 3 main types of long-term care insurance policies and their specifications. Now, here we’ll discuss the ideal age for starting long-term care planning, the difference between an agent and a broker in this aspect, along with  other important things.

So, let’s get started.

The ideal age for starting long-term care planning

This is an  important aspect to consider when you want to start your long-term care planning. Practically, it is best to start at the point when you have the most options available. For qualifying a long-term care insurance, you should have a healthy body. For that reason, you need to start planning when you are still in good shape.

The best time for planning a long-term care is between 52 and 64.

Each year, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance surveys people who opt for this service. According to the report in 2011, 150,000 people applied for a new policy that year.

% of applications declined for policy cover:

  • Below age 50 – 11%
  • Ages 50-to-59 – 17%
  • Ages 60-to-69 – 24%
  • Ages 70-to-79 – 45%

When it comes to long-term care insurance, you are paying the money to get the best health support later. For that reason, it is recommended that you should start planning between 52 and 64.

Hiring a knowledgeable industry expert

You can get good discounts from several insurers, so don’t forget to do rate shopping. For that reason, hire an expert from the insurance industry with whom you can work related to the long-term care insurance.  A knowledgeable professional knows how to deal with different insurance companies’ policies and rules.

An agent or a broker – Which one is best for you?

Here’s something you’ll not know being a consumer. Some insurance executives only work for a single insurance company. They are called “agents” and handle only policies provided by that  company. So, practically, they can only offer you the deals and discounts that the company intends to offer. Agents can’t offer you the best policy available at the same cost. So, you’ll have to do the comparison shopping with the other companies  all by yourself.

Whereas, insurance brokers deal with multiple insurance companies and sell long-term care insurance provided by several  companies. They can compare prices and benefits from multiple insurance policies and do the rate shopping and comparison for you. A good broker can  help you get the best deal (rate/cost) with the best possible coverage.

Questions you should ask when you first meet an insurance agent

Here are some simple, basic questions that you can  ask your insurance broker:

  1. Do you have a license to sell long-term care insurance? Since how many years?
  2. How many long-term care insurance companies are you associated with till date?
  3. How many of your clients are receiving benefits from their long-term care insurance policies ?
  4. Will you tell me the rates even if I don’t buy the policy from you?
  5. With which insurance companies  you worked with for last two policy sales? Will you refer the same company to me? If so, why are you recommending them?

Special cases – If you have some health conditions or taking serious medicines

After the age of 50, most people experience few common health conditions and go through one or more commonly prescribed medications. If you are in perfect health, every insurance company will be interested to offer you the best coverage with customized health discounts (only available to non-tobacco users). Normally insurance companies offer great discounts to the consumers with good health.

% Qualifying for good health discount (2011, AALTCI study):

  • Ages 40-to-49 – 60%
  • Ages 50-to-59 – 48%
  • Ages 60-to-69 – 34%
  • Ages 70-to-79 – 16%

But if you have some health conditions or take prescribed medicines, you may need to talk with a knowledgeable long-term care insurance professional.

Each insurance company has its  own policies and criteria about  long-term care insurance. So, ask your insurance broker to “shop your health” to get the policy with the best coverage and low price.

So, there are clear reasons why you should start planning for a long-term care insurance policy at the ideal age. To get lucrative discounts, start planning at the perfect age when you are healthy. Doing so, you’ll save money on your insurance policy.

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