Nancy Nall Reporting

What do you pay for peace of mind? Let’s put it this way: It doesn’t come cheap.

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Many older adults, facing the prospect of long-term nursing care, look around for ways to protect themselves against the staggering cost of the service, and reach for long-term care insurance. The good news/bad news breakdown is simple: Long-term care insurance can protect those with substantial assets by covering the cost of nursing-home care in later life, but it isn’t cheap.

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Daily nursing-home care in the state of Michigan averages $182, according to the AARP Bulletin, or more than $5,000 a month. Expect to pay that much a year for long-term care insurance, should you purchase your policy in your 60s. (Those who buy in their 50s could pay around $3,000 a year.) The cost could be higher, and the quality of the policies varies widely.

Any insurance-policy purchase is a bet on the future, and should be made only after careful investigation. The AARP Bulletin carried a recent comprehensive story on the subject. You might also find help at the Federal Trade Commission site or at the Consumer Law Page’s guide to avoiding fraud in LTC policies.

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