You know that the cost of health care is only going to go up. Sometimes I shudder at the thought of trying to pay for long term health care. One strategy that many people use to help them better afford long term care costs is to purchase long term health care insurance. This type of insurance can help you cover the costs of health care in a nursing home, or some assisted living facilities. However, even long term health care insurance can be expensive. Here are seven ways to reduce the costs associated with long term health care insurance:

1. Shop Around

As always, the best way to get a good price on any product or service is to shop around. Look for policies that offer the coverage you want, at the best prices. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when you look at different policies. Check the fine print, and look for reputable companies. You want to make sure that you are getting your coverage from a source that is respected and reliable.

2. Find Out What is Covered by Your Regular Health Insurance

Realize that some long term health care stays are covered by your regular health insurance, or by Medicare. Knowledge is financial power. Find out exactly what is covered, and for how long. Some long term care stays will not be covered by your insurance or Medicare, and it helps to know this. Choose a long term care plan that is compatible with your regular health insurance plan.

3. Extend the Waiting Period

You can get a lower price on long term health care insurance by extending the waiting period. By paying premiums a little longer, or specifying a certain age before the coverage kicks in, you can squeeze a little more value out of your insurance policy. Be careful, though: You never know when you might unexpectedly need your long term health care policy. You don’t want the waiting period to be too long.

4. Limit Payout Years

Some long term health care insurance policies will guarantee a pay out until you die. If you limit the number of years the policy will pay out, you can get a break on price. However, this can be tricky, since you don’t want the insurance to run out before you do.

5. Look for Discounts

Many organizations offer discounts for long term health care insurance. Check to see what discounts are available through associations, businesses and other societies that you are involved with. You might get a better price if you get your long term care insurance through an employer, professional organization or membership body.

6. Consider Tax Benefits

In some cases, you might get a deduction for long term care health insurance premiums you pay. (You normally have to own a business for these deductions.) Additionally, some states offer credits — dollar for dollar reductions in what you owe for taxes — when you pay for long term care. States are willing to do this because if you don’t have long term care insurance, and you end up in a state nursing home, it costs them.

7. Buy When You are Younger

You often pay less in premiums when you get long term care health insurance when you are younger. Plan ahead now, and get insurance when you are a little younger (with years before you will need it), and you could see savings.

Image source: Jim Ross via Wikipedia.org