For The Golden Years

Q: What can you tell me about long-term care insurance? I am in my late 30s, but I was told that as I financially plan for my retirement, I should consider insurance for my old age.
–Via the Internet

A: That’s pretty much what long-term insurance is: Insurance to protect your finances if your health should deteriorate in old age. According to the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii .org), one main reason to consider such insurance is to preserve your assets for your family instead of spending the money on extended healthcare. Such care could be required as a result of injury or illness, including diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which would cause cognitive impairment.

Of course, long-term insurance has to be purchased before you use it. Since it is nearly impossible to predict what your state of health will be in the future, if you are considering purchasing long-term insurance, make sure you fully understand all the conditions — particularly when and under what conditions you would become eligible to receive benefits. The Insurance Information Institute notes that the best policies pay for care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at home. Some requirements are very restrictive. But there are options that can provide you with the maximum in coverage. For more information on long-term insurance, visit the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education online at www.life-line.org or the Health Insurance Association of America at www.hiaa.org. For general and inside information on insurance plans and benefits, check out Insurance Secrets Revealed (Trebor & Taylor Publishing Co. Inc.; $13.95) by Rodger Nelson.

Mail your consumer empowerment questions to Ask Your Advocate, BLACK ENTERPRISE130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011or send an e-mail to alleynes@blackenterprise.com.

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