Thursday January 25, 2018
LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE – BETTER THAN EVER
Here’s the number one myth in retirement planning. It’s the fallacy that long term care – the sustained care many of us will need during retirement – is covered by Medicare or private health insurance.
Contrary to what most people believe, long term care – the type of care required by those suffering from cognitive impairment or the inability to perform the basic activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, transferring and continence) – is not covered by these programs. Long term care insurance is vital in addressing this critical gap. “As Baby Boomer and Gen Xers come of age, most have not seriously considered how they will pay for or even deal with a future need for care at home or in a facility. Since private health insurance or Medicare will not cover extended care, this issue is growing with pandemic implications,” Don Levin, Chairman of the Board of the National LTC Network, said, adding, “While they might not know how to pay for it, one thing is sure: The clear majority do not want to place the burden of care on their children.” Long term care insurance (LTCI) was certainly a novelty when created in the mid-1970s. The unique benefits paid by LTCI made pricing difficult at best, and the older blocks of early policies were vastly underpriced. Low prices, long benefits and wrong assumptions by carriers offering the early LTCI products have demanded significant premium increases to survive.
Current pricing on new policies reflects lessons learned from those early years. Levin explains, “The plans today offer policyholders a wide range of coverage options and features, some of which were not available in early policies. Over 70% of those receiving care now do so in the privacy and comfort of their homes. Benefit flexibility is an important part of what today’s policies offer.”
Anyone doing retirement planning today should know that long term care insurance is an important part of retirement planning.
Monday February 5, 2018
DON’T GET CAUGH WITH YOUR PLANS DOWN – LONG TERM CARE PLANNING IS CRITICAL
Many smart people make what they believe are comprehensive plans for retirement. Planning topics, and to-do lists include: where to live, rebalancing investments, planning for minimum retirement distributions, updating wills, advance care directives, and even preplanning and prepaying funerals.
None if these, however, prepare a person – and their family members – for the financial and emotional toll of what to do if a need for long term care arises. “You could say they are caught with their plans down!” quips Don Levin, Chairman of the Board of the National Long Term Care Network. He continues, “Retirement plans that don’t specifically address long term care needs are grossly inadequate.”
Contrary to what the vast majority of people believe, long term care required for those suffering from some form of cognitive impairment or because they can no longer perform the basic activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, transferring and continence) is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.
Long term care insurance was certainly a novelty when first created back in the mid 1970’s. It was largely nursing home or catastrophic insurance that paid the bills for those willing to be cared for in a facility. “The plans today offer policyholders a wide range of coverage options and features. Over 70% of those receiving care are now doing so in the privacy and comfort of their homes,” said Levin.
Additional options now include products that combine the features and benefits of life insurance or annuities with those of long term care. “It really is the best of both worlds. Everyone agrees that they are going to die, so the death benefit will be available to their heirs, and if they don’t die immediately, the long term care provisions allow them to remain at home in the care of professionals while their family members can spend quality time with them.”
The key to acquiring this coverage is to do so while young enough with the requisite health and ability to pay premiums. “While you may pay for this coverage with your money, you buy it with your health,” said Levin. “So many of the people that we encounter who are genuine in their desire to acquire this important coverage have simply waited too long, and no longer have the requisite health. It is the single largest frustration that our agents face when attempting to provide peace of mind to these people.”