Q.  With changes in Health Care on the horizon should I wait to purchase Long Term Care (LTC) insurance? I am 61 years old.  Please advise pros and cons of such a purchase.


A.  LTC insurance is a bet against the insurance company that costs more as you age because the insurer has less time to collect the premiums.  You win if you end up needing the care for a long number of years.  The insurer wins if you don't.  The odds are stacked in favor of the insurance company although costs have increased so much lately that many insurers have dropped out of the market.


That's not to say that I'm opposed to it, at least in some degree.  A person doesn't have to go all the way by having a policy that would pay $90,000 a year with an inflation adjustment.  (But it's meaningless without an inflation adjustment.)  Do you think you could continue to keep it active if the premiums increase appreciably?


You should consider your alternatives.  Do you have a relative that can provide the care?  Is your home suited for a wheelchair, bathroom holding bars, a place for a care-taker to stay, etc.?  Can you recognize enough money from the sale of your home or a reverse mortgage to support LTC?  Do you have some of the small LTC facilities near your neighborhood that provide care for less than a half-dozen people and are therefore less costly?  Do you think you will be on Medicaid which will pay for LTC, unlike Medicare?


Those are some of the things you should consider.  If you still come to an absolute indecisive position, go half-way with a partial coverage, inflation-adjusted policy.  That way you will feel better if you need some financial assistance at the time.