On average, long-term care premiums are decreasing for men and increasing for women, according to a study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry trade group.

For instance, a healthy 55-year-old man can expect to pay an average of $ 1,015 annually for a new policy offering $164,000 in long-term care benefits, which is down 4.2 percent from last year, according to the group. But for a woman in the same situation, the average premium would be $1,490 – an increase of 7.2 percent over last year.

The difference reflects the fact that, statistically, women are more likely than men to incur significant long-term care expenses. Rates for policies covering married couples are also declining. For example, if a married couple who are both age 60 buy a policy this year covering $328,000 of long term care, the average premium will be $2,010 – down 7.5 percent from last year. If the couple elect an inflation growth option that will build their benefit pool to a combined $730,000 at age 85, it will cost an average of $3,560 a year, which is 9.4 percent lower than last year.

The study considered policies in Tennessee, which the trade group considers a representative state. However, rates in other states may vary somewhat. Also, the group notes that there is a wide range of premiums, such that some companies charge well above the average while others charge considerably less. So it’s worth the effort to shop around.

Simmons & Schiavo • (781) 397 – 1700 • info@sslawoffices.com • www.simmonsandschiavo.com