Saturday, April 22, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Health-care costs

Rising health-care costs also have spiked prices at assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. Long-term-care insurance can help protect you from facing fees of $50,000 or more per year but, as with any insurance policy, wading through the fine print is a job.

Policies differ in length of time they cover, the amount per day they pay and whether they are adjusted for price increases.

Those in their 50s will pay much lower premiums than older people but must pay for a longer period of time; however, waiting to buy can be a gamble on staying healthy enough to qualify for the coverage.

The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance is a good place to start a search for this kind of coverage; it's a trade association but its Web site's calculators are straightforward and not weighted toward buying anything.

To see Growing Older columnist Liz Taylor's series on long-term-care insurance, go to

Sources: Fidelity Investments;; Employee Benefit Research Institute

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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