The average cost of long-term care insurance has fallen for men, risen slightly for couples and increased more significantly for single women in the last year, according to the 2014 National Long Term Care Insurance Price Index, compiled by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.
A 55-year-old single man buying a new long-term care insurance policy can expect to pay an average of $925 a year for $164,000 in benefits, according to the report. For coverage that increases the benefits to $365,000 at age 85, he will pay an average of $1,765 a year, down 14.5 percent from last year's average.
A 55-year-old single woman would pay an average of $1,225 a year for $164,000 of benefits, up 12 percent from 2013.
"We advocate a 'good, better, best' approach to long-term care planning for those in their 50s and 60s," Jesse Slome, the association's executive director, said in a press statement. "Good coverage provides $164,000 of available benefits for each spouse. Better coverage includes an option to add future coverage. The best option, also the most costly, includes an automatic inflation growth feature."
The average cost for "best" coverage for a 60-year-old couple, each purchasing $164,000 of immediate coverage that grows to a combined pool of $730,000 ($365,000 each) of benefits at age 85 is $3,840 per year, about 3 percent higher than 2013, Slome said.
Last year insurers began charging women higher premiums than men. Women accounted for two-thirds of the $6.6 billion in long-term care benefits paid by insurers in 2013, according to the association.
The association's annual study continues to show a wide spread among rates offered by insurers. Price differences ranged from 31 percent to as much as 114 percent for the same levels of coverage.