The IRS has just released its annual inflation adjustments for tax year 2020. This includes the amount of LTC insurance premiums which are considered deductible health insurance premiums (the "Eligible Premium") and the minimum tax-free benefit amount for "cash benefit" indemnity plan payments - what the IRS calls "per diem" plans.
FOR CLAIMS IN 2020 with a "cash benefit" or indemnity (per diem) policy the minimum tax-free benefit increases to $380 per day ($11,558/month).
(This is a $10/day increase from 2019 which was $370/day.)
FOR PREMIUMS PAID IN 2020 the amount of tax-qualified premiums paid based on your age at the end of the tax year (on 12/31/2020) are considered a deductible medical expense up to the following age-based, "Eligible Premium" limits:
NOTE that most taxpayers will not be able to realize any deduction as you must first be able to itemize deductions on Schedule A, have total un-reimbursed medical expenses including the LTC Eligible Premium that exceed 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), and only the amount above the 10% threshold is deductible.
HOWEVER, if you have funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) - or an employer-funded Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) - you CAN use those tax-free dollars to pay tax-qualified LTC insurance premiums up to the age-based, Eligible Premium amount shown above.
BUSINESS OWNERS (and spouses) get to take the age-based, Eligible Premium deduction "above-the-line" on page one of Form 1040 as part of the "Self Employed Health Insurance Deduction" (Line 29). This applies to owners of business incorporated or taxes as: Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, or S-Corporations. (Shareholder/Employees of a "regular" C-Corporation can have the entire premium deducted - without limit - if paid as an employee benefit by the corporation.)
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS FOR LTCI.
It's not too late to get a LTC deduction in 2019!
If you already own LTC insurance, here are the limits that apply for tax year 2019.
If you have not yet bought LTC insurance, you can still apply in 2019 and get a deduction this year for any premiums paid - including pre-payments with an application - subject to these 2019 Eligible Premium limits:
2019 TAX-QUALIFIED LTC ELIGIBLE PREMIUM LIMITS:
Age at end of 2019 Max Deductible Premium
40 or less $ 420
41-50 $ 790
Read more from the IRS website by clicking here:
* The tax information presented here is for general information only and should not be used nor relied upon as specific tax advice. Taxpayers should consult with their CPA or qualified tax professional for advice regarding their own tax situation and the tax status of LTC premiums and benefits.
For a quick look at average/sample rates for LTC insurance see our new information page by clicking the button below!
The state of Washington has passed the first of its kind government-run LTC insurance program for working residents of the state.
The plan will provide $100 per day of benefits which will increase with inflation for a maximum of 365 days (1-year). Each day of benefits is considered a "unit" of coverage and units can be combined to pay for care services above $100/day, but that would also shorten the total benefit period. The benefit can be used to pay family members to provide care after they have completed a minimum amount of mandatory training.
Every employee in the state will have a payroll tax withholding to pay for the plan. The tax is 0.58%, or $0.58 for every $100 in payroll income. A person earning $4,000 per month would pay $23.20 per month.
The plan does not cover people already retired or who will retire in the next 6 to 10 years. It also is not portable if an employee leaves the state of Washington.
Payroll deductions will not begin for 3 years, and no benefits will be paid for at least 3 years after that as the plan requires that employees pay in for a minimum of 3 of the previous 6 years to be eligible. To be fully "vested" in the plan an employee must pay in for at least 10 years.
"Self employed" people will not be automatically covered, but can opt-into the plan at the same payroll tax rate.
Employees who have private LTC insurance can opt-out of the tax and coverage.
Read more details by clicking here:
Comfort LTC owner, Bill Comfort, is featured on a new website for insurance agents and financial advisors seeking to learn more about LTC insurance and other care-planning options.
Licensed agents and advisors can access the new NAIFA Center for Limited and Extended Care Funding at: https://naifa.lifehappenspro.org
Watch Bill's video promoting the CLTC designation training program here:
Good advice from Kaiser Health News: Hold off on genetic testing until AFTER you buy LTC insurance (or life or disability). You must disclose the existence of the testing and any known results on an application and results can be used to deny or limit coverage.
Looking forward, LTC insurance is more secure and reliable than ever.
CLICK HERE to read my new article on why LTC insurance remains a valuable insurance product with a future that should be much more stable than in the past.
Here is a link to an excellent article from Forbes.com that provides valuable, even critical, context to any discussion of long-term care planning and funding your plan with LTC insurance.
In many ways a recent Wall Street Journal article simply re-packages old news in a new emotional wrapper since LTC insurance rate increases have been under way across the industry for more than 10 years. It also gets a couple of very important things wrong - including the fact that there are many options for dealing with a rate increase other than just walking away from the coverage.
"The WSJ piece essentially falls into the 'bad news sells' category of reporting ... Its “Woe is me!” theme actually pushes people away from doing quality long-term care planning. Instead of lamenting past missteps, the article could have emphasized some of the new techniques for building effective and sustainable solutions to the budding long-term care crisis."
“Long-term care, for most people, is a home care problem,” said Bill Comfort, who owns Comfort Long Term Care, a brokerage based in St. Louis and Durham, N.C."
Check out this excellent article on using Partnership LTC insurance to design meaningful and affordable LTC insurance coverage - especially for care at home. CLICK HERE to read the full article.
Penn Treaty Network America LTC insurance company will now go into liquidation. A Pennsylvania court gave the PA Department of Insurance final approval to liquidate the LTCI company on March 1st. Benefits will still be payable if premiums continue to be paid on-time, but according to the PA DOI about 50% of policyholders may have their benefits limited.
Liquidation means that the claims liabilities now fall to individual states' insurance "guarantee funds" which most commonly limit total benefits to $300,000. A few states are slightly higher and a couple - including Missouri - have a cap of only $100,000 for LTC insurance. Note that in most cases you would be covered by your state of residence at the time of liquidation (March 1, 2017), NOT the state where you bought the policy.
While this insurance company failure is being reported as the largest financially in US history, it's important to note that Penn Treaty's policyholders account for only one-percent (1%) of all LTC insurance policyholders in-force, and that along with grossly under-pricing its overly-liberal policy benefits, Penn Treaty accepted people with health risks that no other insurance company would consider.
My general advice to Penn Treaty policyholders: Keep your coverage, especially if you are older or uninsurable and cannot replace your coverage. Even if you could qualify for a replacement, you may be better off keeping Penn Treaty on a limited basis.
Contact us for a policy/coverage review.
According to the PA DOI, Policyholders with questions about policies, claims, or related to liquidation should call Policyholder Services at: 1-800-362-0700.
If an insurance agent tells you to replace your long-term care (LTC) insurance, be careful! Take your time. Get a second opinion. It's probably a mistake, and the agent pushing a replacement may be breaking the law.
It is almost NEVER a good idea to replace an in-force LTC insurance policy.
We are hearing stories almost daily of unscrupulous agents urgently telling their clients to immediately replace their in-force long-term care (LTC) insurance for a variety of reasons, all bad:
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