Long-term care insurance an option for the aging

For many, the words "long-term care insurance" have little meaning.

But for Micki Fernandez, it could have made all the difference. She takes care of her mom in her home and wonders what would happen if she weren't able to.

She said there's no way she or her mom could pay for long-term care.

"I'm very concerned about that and the more I think about it the more it scares me. It's a scary feeling," said Fernandez.

Fernandez has no children so she also worries about her own care down the road. She is considering buying a long-term care policy.

"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," said Consumer Reports Money Editor Penny Wang.

The average cost of such policies is about $2,700 per year.

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," said Wang.

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 at an average of $89,000.
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