The average annual cost of private long term care insurance is $772 for a 55-year-old and $1,456 for a 65-year-old, a trade group says.

The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, Westlake Village, Calif., has published those figures in a report on its 2006 LTC Insurance Price Index.

The index is an indicator of current costs for typical comprehensive policies that include compound inflation protection and allow policyholders to receive care either at home or in a skilled care facility.

Factors affecting actual costs include the health and marital status of the insured, the level of coverage purchased, and state of residence, says AALTCI Executive Director Jesse Slome.

The $772 average cost for a 55-year-old includes both preferred health and spousal discounts for a 3-year policy that provides $100 a day in benefits, or roughly $110,000 in current protection, Slome says.

“The policyholder’s benefits increase at 5% compounded annually, so if care is needed in 15 years, the $65-a-month policy premium provides up to $227,823 in benefit payments,” Slome says.

The $1,456 average annual premium is for a 65-year-old who qualifies for a spousal or partner discount but not for preferred health savings.

“Health changes as we age, and less than a third of those who apply in their 60s qualify for preferred health discounts, versus 44% who qualify in their 50s,” Slome says. “The ability to lock in good health discounts can save you 10% to 20% yearly.”

The 2006 survey was the AALTCI’s first, but Slome estimates LTC premiums are about 4% to 5% higher this year than in 2005.