Should you buy long-term care insurance?

When I give my talk, “7 Actions You Can Take to Stay Out of a Nursing Home”, people often ask about long-term care insurance. This insurance might be a prudent investment, unless you are in one of two income categories.

If you have few assets and would easily qualify for Medicaid, then check with a lawyer who can advise you specifically about spending down if you need to qualify for Medicaid. It will pay for skilled care (most residents of nursing homes are on Medicaid), but will limit your choices on where you go to live, often for the rest of your life.

According to the AARP in 2015, people with sufficient resources to pay $100,000 a year for extended long-term care, can afford to self-pay. Having enough money to fund your own long-term care will give you more options such as home care, high-end assisted living, and some of the more elegant nursing homes, which do not accept Medicaid.

I’m going to include this information in the 3rd edition of my book, to be published soon. Please email me at if this is not clear. It’s complicated!

Published by jeannettefranks

Jeannette Franks, PhD, is a passionate gerontologist and for over 20 years has taught ethics, grief and loss, and courses on geriatrics and gerontology for the University of Washington. Franks' most recent book is, To Move or To Stay Put: A Guide for Your Last Decades. Look for it now on the University Bookstore website It is also available at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge. Franks previously published a definitive guide to independent and assisted living titled Washington Retirement Options, and often speaks on retirement options, disability issues, end-of-life issues and is an advocate for accessibility. She has a goal of making Bainbridge an elder-friendly community and is available to groups and families to discuss these issues. She served for nine years on the Kitsap County Advisory Council on Aging and Long-term Care. She also has the privilege of working in a small way for the past 15 years with the Suquamish tribal elders.

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