One of the key features of the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program is that eligible persons can apply for coverage at any age, during federal employment or after retirement (subject to passing the underwriting requirements).
In practice, many enrollments occur just before or just after retirement, when the possibility of needing such coverage looms larger. But there are several considerations to bear in mind.
First, any delay in purchasing the coverage means paying higher premiums, since premiums are set for life at the age of purchase. The ltcfeds.com site has a calculator function allowing you to check out the exact impact. Remember, other factors of your choice—such as the benefit amount you want or purchasing inflation protection or not—also will impact premiums.
Second, at the age many people think of buying long-term care coverage for themselves, many have elderly parents who themselves would benefit from having such coverage. In the FLTCIP, parents of active employees are eligible to enroll but parents of retirees aren’t. Thus, an employee who might want to get his or her parents enrolled in the FLTCIP would have to make sure they had their coverage effective before he or she separates for retirement.
Third, the widow(er) of a federal annuitant who did not elect a survivor annuity is not eligible to enroll after the annuitant’s death (although if the survivor had previously enrolled the coverage would continue as long as premiums were paid). In order for a surviving spouse of a federal employee or a surviving spouse of a federal annuitant to be eligible to apply for this insurance, he/she must be eligible for a federal survivor annuity.