According to the American Health Care Association 9,803,755 Americans needed long term care in 2010. Four out of every 10 older people stay in a nursing home at some time, and nearly one in ten will stay for five or more years (the average stay in a nursing home is 2 and half years). And if you are lucky enough to live to a ripe old age then this rises to one in four people over the ages of 85 living in nursing homes.
Now, let me ask you a question. Are you wealthy? If you are then you won't be for long if you have to pay for this! The average daily cost of nursing home care ranges between about $100 a day to over $300 a day. So you are looking at typical annual charges of between $36,400 and $109,200. And the average cost of nursing homes varies dramatically depending on which state you live in, from $90 a day in parts of Georgia to over $300 in Boston, with the average cost around $192 a day for a private room. (over $70,000 a year). And remember that long term care is NOT covered by Medicare, so these are expenses that fall on YOUR shoulders. Given these facts it definitely makes sense to investigate long term care insurance.
The first thing to bear in mind is that long term care is generally not covered by most health insurance policies or disability insurance. So it is something that you need to make special provision for separately. Discuss your long term care plans with your family (as they may be involved in caring for you), and consider the range of options that you may require, from day care, assisted living facilities or nursing home care. Also remember that the younger you start any long term care insurance plan, the cheaper it will be. If you buy a policy in your 40's or 50's then you will be able to get far more comprehensive coverage then you will if you wait to buy until later.
Also whatever policy you do decide on make sure that it keeps pace with inflation. You might not need to use the benefits at all (hopefully); but if you do then you want to be confident that your long term care insurance will actually buy you some long term care! Whatever your current circumstances or age though this is an area well worth investigating now. The years have a habit of flipping by all too quickly, and it is always nice to know that your future health and care is ensured.