As you get older, you have to start thinking about what happens next in life. This next stage may require you to move into a long-term care facility or seek other help to maintain a healthy life. Paying for the care you may need is something that many people fail to plan for. You do not want to end up facing a situation where you cannot afford care in Washington.

One solution you have is to get long-term care insurance. According to AARP, this is a type of coverage that pays for your care needs in a nursing home or another care facility or in-home care. It picks up where Medicare leaves off in terms of coverage. However, buying this type of insurance is like buying any other insurance. You have to be careful and choose wisely. Here are three things to keep in mind as you shop around:

  1. Alternative insurance options exist

The popularity of traditional long-term care insurance plans continues to wane as other options enter the market. Whole life insurance may be a better option for you, as your policy may allow you to use it for care needs. You also can usually pay less for this type of insurance.

  1. Typical terms may not suit you

The average long-term care insurance plan often comes with a three-month waiting period; you cannot use it before then. Plans also generally only pay out three years of coverage. Even when they do payout, they often limit the daily benefit to $160.

  1. Premiums are high

The average premium runs about $2,700 a year, which may not be in your budget. However, you may have other options. Medicaid, for example, may cover the same costs for you if you have a low income and few assets.

Additionally, it is possible you can afford long-term care on your own. However, this can substantially deplete your assets and savings, so it is wise to see what wealth-protection options you have available to you.