The Long Term Care Conversation

I was talking with a friend recently when the topic of Long Term Care came up. Speaking in broad strokes, I mentioned that I always discuss Long Term Care when working with millennials.

Surprised, he said: “You tell all millennials to buy long term care insurance?”

Like my friend, most people make a series of direct leaps from the words “Long Term Care,” and their thought process normally goes something like this:


At this point, I usually try to draw an important distinction. There is a big difference between Long Term Care (LTC) and Long Term Care Insurance (LTCi)

LTC is defined as “Services and supports necessary to meet health or personal care needs over an extended period of time.” LTC Insurance is a type of insurance coverage designed to pay for some (or all) of the expenses associated with an LTC need.

And, as it turns out, “Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services … in their remaining years.” Furthermore, LTC needs can arise after automotive accidents, workplace injuries, or terminal illness. In other words, this topic probably matters to you.

Does that mean everybody needs to go out and buy a long term care insurance policy? Not necessarily. Depending on your situation, an insurance policy might be unnecessary or unaffordable. Insurance is just one way to plan for LTC. An examination of your own resources, support network, and care preferences are also key components of the process.

Family, friends, visiting nurses, in-home care, day programs, and a full spectrum of residential services can all fill the needs presented by an LTC event. Some of these cost money, some don’t. Some can be insured against, and some can’t.

The Bottom Line

So what can you do to get started?

  1. Have the conversation. Talk to your parent or loved one about their coverage, needs, preferences, and expectations for you or others.
  2. Look in the mirror. Examine your own circumstances: assets, current policy ownership (if applicable), risk tolerance, and legacy goals.  Discuss this with your CFP® and insurance professional to weigh the cost/benefit of various coverage types, exposure to risk, and the impact a long term care event may have on your financial plan.


Advisor is not a licensed insurance broker or agency and does not sell or solicit the sale of any insurance products.  Licensed individuals should be contacted for insurance product suitability and policy acquisition needs.

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