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:
This week the news media lost its collective mind over a silly, old social media trope about a guy who says he won't live out his days in a nursing home, rather he'll simply stay at a Holiday Inn. It's cheaper, and the service is better, so it says. But it's a false narrative.
I wrote an extensive blog on this in 2016. The e-mail I copied into that post from three years ago and the "new" Facebook post getting all the current attention are identical, word-for-word. It's certainly not original, it's specious and misleading, and the numbers are (still) way out of date.
A TV station in Houston, KHOU, even found an internet post from 2004 with nearly the same wording as this old-is-new-again misleading social media joke.
You can't compare "independent retirement living" with CARE in a nursing home - or an assisted living facility. Hotel staff - nor cruise ship staff - will bathe and dress you, help you to and from the toilet, nor will they make sure your dementia doesn't lead you out the front door into traffic - or over the rail into the ocean - in the middle of the night. Once you need CARE, you'll be on the curb - or the dock.
CLICK HERE to read my 2016 blog post for more details on why this is a ridiculous idea.
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."
"Aging in place" is an oft-quoted ideal for seniors of all ages and stages. But it takes a lot of personal, professional, and community resources to do so. The Villages movement seeks to expand the idea by helping people "age in community".
NPR looked at the "village" movement for seniors last month in a four part series. Villages are groups of seniors living in the community who come together to offer support and companionship to each other as they "age in place".
For an annual fee, Villages provide volunteers and vetted professional services like handymen, as well as sponsoring events, arranging assistance for members, and other services suited to each unique "village".
CLICK HERE to read - or listen to the stories!
We have moved our St. Louis office! We love our new space with room to grow.
You will find us at:
8229 Clayton Rd., Suite 200B (2nd floor)
St. Louis, MO 63117
We are in Richmond Heights, just west of Brentwood Blvd., directly across from the Galleria's Clayton Rd. entrance. If you remember the Scholarshop, we're next door, just left of the old location.
Our phone number and e-mail addresses stay the same.
We are pleased to be sharing a suite with Allstate agent Matt Stark and his team. Matt has attended CLTC continuing education training with Bill Comfort in the past and we are thankful for many other personal and professional connections that should make this a great new location for our business and all of our clients, agents, and advisor partners.
Give us a call and schedule a time to stop by and see us!
“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.
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