By the time you turn 40, you should have saved some money for your future retirement. The problem is, too many people forget to protect those retirement funds against the high costs of long-term care. The US Department of Health and Human Services says that if you turn 65, you will have a 70% chance of needing long-term care service. Health insurance, Medicare, and supplements will only pay for a small amount of qualified services and only for 100 days. They will not pay anything for the child care services (help with activities of daily living) that most people will need as they get older.
This often means crisis management. Family members become caregivers. Caring is difficult, but when a family member has to be a caregiver, it adds more dimensions. This usually means that the responsibility falls on a daughter or daughter-in-law. They usually have their own careers and family responsibilities. Not to mention the emotional difficulties that come with having a family member a caregiver.
The financial costs and the burden of aging will impact your savings and your family. Affordable long-term care insurance will protect your assets and ease the burden on the family.
There are very few true specialists in long-term care insurance. This means that you should seek help from a genuine long-term care specialist. This person must have at least three years of long-term care insurance experience, represent major insurance companies, and have at least 150 clients with long-term care insurance.
Most financial advisers and general insurance agents lack the skills to design an affordable plan based on your specific needs. Plus, they usually don’t understand the underwriting requirements that each insurance company uses to determine if they will even offer you a policy. They have generally never been the subject of a claim, so they do not fully understand how these policies are actually used at the time of the claim.
That’s why I help consumers across the country using my unique process where a customer sees my computer screen while we are talking on the phone. A number of other high level specialists will do the same. The key here is to ask lots of detailed questions about your health, family history, retirement plans, and concerns. Most financial advisers and general insurance agents may ask only a few questions. This means that the recommendations they may give you are not appropriate and may even cost you more than it should.
Because they don’t deal exclusively with long-term care planning, they usually don’t understand the products and the positive effects they can have on your loved ones. They also tend to over-belay. A true long-term care specialist will make the appropriate recommendations and consumers will find that LTC insurance is very affordable and adds tremendous peace of mind when planning for your future retirement.
If you talk to someone about long term care insurance, ask a few questions:
How long have you worked with long term care insurance?
According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), no less than three years is acceptable.
How many clients do you have with long-term care insurance?
No less than 100 is acceptable says the AALTCI.
How many companies do you represent?
The AALTCI says no less than three.
How many claims have you been involved in?
The more the better, keep in mind that someone who has worked for three years may not have had a complaint yet despite over 150 clients. Ideally, you want someone who has more than 15 complaints.
What is your general philosophy when designing a long term care insurance plan?
Listen to how they answer the question, and pass judgment if that sounds well thought out.
Here are some warning signs you should be aware of:
1. The agent or advisor sends you quotes without asking you many questions. A true long-term care specialist will spend a lot of time asking detailed questions about health and family history, in addition to asking questions about your future (or current) retirement plans. If they only take five minutes or less, you should get away.
2. The agent or advisor immediately starts talking about active or hybrid plans without asking a lot of questions. These are life insurance or annuities with long term care riders. They can be a great way to plan for some people, but anyone who gives you this type of solution without asking a lot of questions should be avoided.
3. The agent or counselor does not explain the long-term care partnership program. Not all states have active partnership plans in place, but most do. If they don’t mention it, don’t hesitate to ask. If they can’t explain it, move on.
4. The agent or advisor does not have a website, or their website has very little information available, this is usually not a good sign. True LTC specialists will usually have a comprehensive website with many resources available for education.
5. The agent or advisor suggests that you self-insure and put money in investments. For most people, this puts your money at too much risk, does not provide tax benefits, and does not reduce the burden on the family since most LTC policies include case management. It may make money for the advisor, but you should be more concerned about how it will protect your money and reduce the burden on the family. If they make that kind of recommendation, ask them to put it in writing. Then ask them how their plan would really benefit you and your family with the financial costs and burden of aging.
Long term care insurance has become a key part of retirement planning. Call in a specialist to help add peace of mind to your plan. It’s a simple and affordable way to help you achieve success in future retirement.
Working with a long-term care specialist will give you the exact information you are looking for. There are several reference websites for research:
LTC News offers articles and resources: http://www.ltcnews.com
US Department of Health and Human Services: https://longtermcare.acl.gov/
Long-term care will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. Long-term care insurance is easy and affordable asset protection. These plans not only protect your savings, but reduce the burden on family members. Take action before you retire to take advantage of lower premiums and better overall health.