When Maura Carley's mother was offered guaranteed-issue, group long-term care insurance, she snapped it up. That proved to be a good decision, Carley says, when the policy paid for her mother's care during the last seven weeks of her life.

Most people dread the day when they may be old or disabled enough to need care from a paid health professional or aide. Long-term care insurance gives them the peace of mind that comes from knowing that an insurance company will pay for at least some of their care.

It protects assets — whatever the family doesn't have to pay can be passed along to heirs — and can reduce family stress during an illness or at the end of someone's life.

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