By Byron Udell
Women live longer than men, a fact many life insurance companies had ignored, up until last year, when calculating premiums for long term care insurance (LTC). Since April 2013, the new underwriting systems consider women a greater risk for LTC than men. Not only do they live longer and are therefore more likely to need LTC, but statistics show they may need LTC for longer. Because of this, women now have to pay an increase of 20 to 40 percent on their LTC insurance costs, unless they live in Colorado and Montana, where unisex pricing is enforced by the state. How can women still get an affordable LTC insurance policy?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Purchase long term care as a couple. Stand-alone LTC insurance policies are expensive. A “shared care” plan, however, is a good option. It allows a couple to double the lifespan of their policy without paying extra.
- Shorten the benefit period. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average time spent in nursing homes is 835 days (approx. two years and 3 months). So instead of investing in a LTC policy with a benefit period of 6 to 10 years, consider one with a 3-year benefit period.
- Combination policies. LTC insurance can be sold as a rider on your life insurance policy. This makes LTC a lot more affordable. With a combo policy, any LTC costs you may incur are taken out of the death benefits.
- Keep healthy. If you’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle, you can qualify for the best rates! It could earn you a 10 to 20 percent discount each year.
- If you own a business, remember to take advantage of tax-saving benefits on your LTC insurance.
Last but not least, while most insurers consider gender to determine insurance rates, there are other factors that can cause significant savings when you comparison shop. For this reason, shop around with AccuQuote to get the best quotes from dozens of top-rated insurers.