Consumer Reports: Should you get long-term care insurance?

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Here’s something to think about -- the median cost for a year in a nursing home is about $82,000 a year, according to an industry survey. Most Americans over 65 will need some type of long-term care.

Long-term care insurance can help cover the assistance you may need with things like bathing or preparing meals, in nursing and assisted living facilities and even in your home.

The average cost of such policies is about $2,700 a year. However, the older you are, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also pay more depending on your health. With some serious conditions like Alzheimer’s or metastatic cancer, an insurer might refuse to offer a policy at all.

An alternative is a short-term care policy, which is generally about a third of the cost of long-term insurance. It can be less than $1,000 a year. But it covers a lot less. You’ll only get about a year in a nursing home. It may not cover an assisted living facility or home health aides.

Hybrid insurance combines life and long-term care in one policy. It allows you to tap into the death benefit if you need it for care. But that type of insurance requires a significant upfront payment -- on average about $89,000. A couple of caveats on hybrid policies are the fact that the big upfront premium is not tax deductible, and the growth you get on the policy may be low. So you might be better off investing the money wisely yourself and saving it for when you need more care.

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