Even people over 65 aren't always aware that neither Medicare not "Medigap" supplemental insurance nor employer health insurance covers the cost of nursing home care.

Insurance coverage for long-tern care is available, however. Some policies cover home health care as well as traditional nursing homes.But the policies are expensive, and getting more so. The main reason: Nursing home care itself costs $20,000-$30,000 and up annually, and costs are rising. Expenses for personal care or health care itself add to these figures.

To control expenses, most policies are "indemnity": They pay a fixed number of dollars per day for home health or nursing home care and are not adjusted for inflation. Most limit eligible nursing homes to those licensed by the state.

For more information about how to shop for long-term care insurance policies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Insurance Association of America have published "The Consumer's Guide to Long Term Care Insurance."