Long-term care insurance isn't something you should wait to buy. You may not consider it an essential expense when you're still young and healthy, but the day will come when that's no longer the case.

This is one time when it isn't about what age you feel. You may feel young at heart, but putting off buying long-term care insurance will cost you more money. The status of your health can also make it harder to get a policy approved if you wait too long.

Age Increases the Cost

When it comes to your age, insurers aren't interested in the notion that you look and feel younger than you are. What matters to them first is that chronological number we refer to as age.

The best time to buy a long-term care insurance is when you are in your mid-50s, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. That's when premiums are the most affordable. Since you aren't as likely to have as many health problems at that age as you are later on, it's also easier to qualify for coverage.

Even when you're still in your 50s, for every year you put off buying a policy, your premiums will increase by 2 to 4 percent on average. If you wait until you are in your 60s before buying long-term care insurance, every birthday that passes could cost you an additional 6 to 8 percent. But reality tends not to set in until about that time.

Similar to life insurance, insurers base the premiums you pay for long-term care insurance on how old you are when you take out a policy. The sooner you buy, the less it will cost you in the long run. Waiting until you reach your 70s or 80s to buy a long-term care policy could even make the premiums unaffordable.

Chronic Health Problems Set In

Deteriorating health is going to cost you more in the premiums you pay. But cost isn't the only consideration. The chronic health problems that often come with age can make getting a long-term care policy harder.

You wouldn't think it, but just one decade can make all the difference when it comes to your health. Your chances of being denied a policy for health reasons increase as you get older, and the insurer's requirements get tougher.

If you wait until you are in your 60s to buy a policy, you could already be experiencing a chronic health problem that could get you denied. More people in their 60s are turned down for policies than their 50-something counterparts. By the time you are in your 70s, you decrease your chances of getting a policy even more.

The best time to buy a long-term care policy is before you need it. Otherwise, when you need it in order for care from places like St. Joseph's Ministries, you may not qualify.