Nationwide Financial plans to introduce a hybrid variable annuity and long-term-care product next week.

The Columbus, Ohio-based financial services company will begin selling The Best of America InvestCare in its home state. The single premium product, which Nationwide said is the first of its kind, will be available across the country in March. Nationwide will also sell the product through the bank channel.

The idea is to combine retirement savings with protections against the devastating cost of long-term care, the company said in a statement.

The long-term care feature will offer coverage for expenses like nursing home care, assisted-living help, and adult day care.

But the hybrid product, unlike many stand-alone long-term-care policies, will return a customer's principal investment if no long-term-care benefits are used. That principal may be used for retirement or passed on to heirs. The product carries a high investment price tag. A healthy 55-year-old would typically be required to invest $30,000 to $50,000.

Only five million Americans own long-term-care insurance, this at a time when baby-boomers are getting closer to retirement. The need for long-term-care insurance is growing in what is already an underserved marketplace, according to Nationwide.

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