Who Should Consider Long-Term Care?

Last updated: March 29, 2016

When It Might Be a Good Idea and When to Walk Away

Who Will Most Likely Need Long-Term Care Services?

Your personal risk of needing long-term care depends on some of the following factors:

1. Life Expectancy: The longer you live, the more likely it is that you will need long-term care. Know your family history.

2. Your Gender: Women are at a much higher risk of needing to pay for formal long-term care for several reasons. Women tend to marry older men, have longer life spans and often outlive their spouses.

3. Family Situation: If you have a spouse and adult children, you are more likely to receive informal care at home. If family members are unable to provide care and you cannot stay home alone, a nursing home is often the only available option.

4. Health Factors: If you have been diagnosed or treated for a certain health condition, you may be at greater risk than another person of the same age and gender. Unfortunately, it may be this known health condition that will make you ineligible to buy long-term care insurance.

Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Whether you need long-term care insurance depends on your income, family situation, and personal risk factors. After you have considered your chances of needing long-term care, you will also want to look at why you would buy a long-term care policy and how you intend to pay for it. People buy long-term care insurance for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • To avoid spending assets for long-term care

  • To decrease the chances of going on Medicaid

  • To give the individuals more freedom of choice regarding the type of care received

  • To protect family members from having to pay for or provide care

Purchasing a long-term care policy while you are younger means that you are less likely to develop a condition that could disqualify you from getting coverage.

Who Shouldn’t Consider Long-Term Care Insurance?

Not everyone should buy a long-term care insurance policy. For some, a long-term care policy is an affordable and attractive form of insurance; for others the coverage is too expensive, or the benefits they can afford aren't enough.

  • You shouldn’t buy a long-term care policy if you have trouble stretching your income to pay for utilities, food, or medicine.

  • You likely shouldn’t buy a policy if your only income is Social Security.

  • The Kansas Insurance Department recommends that people whose combined Social Security benefits and retirement savings total less that $50,000 not buy long-term care insurance.

    • This is because the cost of care can quickly deplete the savings of members of this group. Once your savings have been depleted you become eligible for Medicaid, which covers many of these expenses.

This article is published on KansasMoney.gov. Find more information by contacting these state agencies: