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Combination life and long-term care insurance policies gain favor
By Insure.com staff

Combination life and long-term care insurance policies are growing more popular among people in their 40s and 50s, according to the 2012 Buyer Study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

The policies eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it risk that comes with long-term care insurance. Such a policy -- also known as a linked benefit policy -- provides long-term care benefits if the insured person needs them. If not, the policy operates like a life insurance policy, with unused benefits paid to a beneficiary when the insured dies. Some products also have a return-of-premium option for policyholders who decide they don't want the insurance after all.

The association's study found 53 percent of buyers of combination policies were under 65 in 2011, compared to only 48 percent in 2010. About 42.5 percent of male buyers and 38.5 percent of female buyers were between ages 55 and 64, according to the trade group.

"A linked benefit policy has advantages that many pre-retirement consumers find attractive," Jesse Slome, executive director of the association, said in a press release.

Sales of combination policies rose 14 percent in 2011 among linked benefit insurers participating in the association's study.

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