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Tips for getting long-term care insurance

Savings

Limiting your benefits can save you money. Accepting higher deductibles and limiting the length of time covered can substantially cut annual premiums. Few people need their benefits for more than five years.

Inflation

Don't skip inflation protection. Over time, unprotected benefits can shrink drastically in value and out-of-pocket expenses will soar. The AARP recommends protection that covers inflation at the rate of 5% a year.

Do homework

Research your company and your agent. Consumer experts recommend that you select an agent who is part of your community and who sells policies for more than one firm.

Know your policy

Consumers often misunderstand what care is covered by their policy and what events trigger coverage. If you want your policy to cover in-home services and the cost of a nursing home, be sure it is spelled out.

Be careful

Be wary of pitches to change your policy -- it could waste all the money you've paid in premiums. "There should be a good set of reasons" to swap policies, cautions Bonnie Burns of California Health Advocates.

Source: Times research

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