A recent column in the National Law Review on long-term care planning and the importance of LTC insurance states unequivocally:
"An advisor experienced in long-term care is an important part of every advisory team."
"The Sooner the Better: Planning With Long-Term Care Insurance", makes a simple case for buying LTC insurance as soon as possible. And that all comprehensive estate plans should include a detailed discussion of LTC insurance.
CLICK HERE to read the full article:
Want to know how to identify an experienced LTC specialist? Read our 5-Tips by clicking the button below:
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:
This is a fun ... and serious read about the importance of planning ahead for extended care (long-term care) needs! The five points:
Here is the link to the full article:
And remember, a little chocolate always helps!
A huge mistake that many people make when considering LTC insurance is "over-quoting".
Most people do not need to buy coverage for 100% of the cost of the highest-possible cost of care (skilled nursing home), and even shorter benefit periods (3-4 years) will cover the vast majority of care needs. It's kind of like thinking, "If I can't afford a Mercedes, then I'll just wait for the bus." It shouldn't be a zero-sum, all-or-nothing decision - that's a HUGE mistake. A Malibu with cloth seats and a 4-cylinder is great transportation ...
$3000 a month of LTC insurance benefits will pay for five hours of home care seven days a week, or 10 hours every-other day. It will cover more than 1/2 of a good Assisted Living Facility in most of the country, and provides a 33% "discount" to a $9000/month bill in a nursing home.
LTC insurance claims data show that 60%+ of claims start at home. Guess what, about 60% of claims also END at home. Only about 20% of LTC insurance claims end in a nursing home.
The average LTC insurance claim is less than four years, even less than three years for men. Cover that first before you worry about Alzheimer's care for 6+ years. If you only buy a 3-year policy (couples can "share" up to a total of 6 years for the price of 3 each), and if you do get Alzheimer's, you will still have much more private-pay flexibility than having nothing.
We need to stop worrying about the cost of care in a facility where most of us are NOT likely to end up (especially with reasonable - and affordable - planning). We do need to worry about where we will get an extra $3000-$4000 a month to pay for part-time home care so our spouse can have a life, get a good night's sleep, stay healthy, etc., and so our adult kids can be care managers not caregivers. Home care comes first. Always. And this is also where families are personally and financially most at risk when someone they love needs care.
Solve the part-time home care problem first.
What does this have to do with LTC? Nothing ... but it's sports history and so much fun for true baseballs fans (excluding Indians'). A fantastic 7-game World Series, and an epic game 7. I'm a St. Louis boy, born and raised, and therefore a dyed-in-the-red Cardinals fan ... BUT I couldn't be happier for Chicago Cubs fans everywhere!!!
China Oceanwide will buy Genworth in a $2.7-billion deal which includes a $1.1-billion capital commitment to pay off debt and invest in the US life insurance business.
“China Oceanwide is also aligned with Genworth’s long-term goals of serving the aging population in the U.S., and providing financial capabilities to those seeking home ownership.”
I believe this is good news for Genworth policyholders and the LTC insurance marketplace overall. Readers should note that two other active LTC insurers are also now foreign-owned. John Hancock is owned by the Canadian insurance company Manulife, and Transamerica is owned by Dutch insurer AEGON.
The US life & LTC biz must and will remain a US-based subsidiary of China Oceanwide, subject to US federal and state regulators. In-force policies must all be honored by law.
Click here for a link to the company's full press release:
As an insurance broker who has sold LTC insurance since 1992, and who has focused exclusively on LTC insurance since 2000, I have been following the FLTCIP rate increase news since it is such a large player in the marketplace. The "average" increase for current policyholders is over 80%, with some as high as 125%!
Here's my take: Welcome to LTC insurance.
The FLTCIP is basically having to realize the same increases, for the same reasons as the rest of the private LTC insurance marketplace. 125% is NOT an outlier. Several other companies including some of John Hancock's individual policies, and Genworth’s have had 80%-100%+ increases. Others have had those amounts as well cumulatively over 2 or 3 increases in the past 10 years ..........
Another story that confuses "independent living" with long-term care
This was an interesting article about alternative retirement living up until the author started comparing it to assisted living and nursing homes. (Link to full CNBC article at the end of this post.)
The only reasonable land-based analogy here is "independent living". Even mentioning assisted living, or worse nursing homes, is completely ridiculous. While a cruise ship is staffed for "medical care" that means, acute, temporary medical conditions, not long-term, custodial care. NO cruise ship will provide help for you to physically get out bed, bathe, dress, etc., the types of basic care services provided in assisted living. And NO cruise ship wants a long-term passenger with safety issues related to Alzheimer's or dementia. And if you're so poor off to be in a skilled nursing home, you probably can't even get on the ship.
Here is a quote from today's CNBC article:
A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that when considered over a 20-year span, "cruises were comparably priced to assisted living centers and offered a better quality of life, "though land-based assisted living can vary greatly by facility, location and needs."
And here's a quote from the source article linked in the quote above (published in 2004!), that itself is quoting an article (from 2004!) in a medical journal:
"Elderly people often choose assisted living facilities, nursing homes, 24 hours a day home caregivers, or family support. Living on a cruise ship might be a better choice, says Lee Lindquist, instructor of medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and a geriatrician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital."
Dr. Lindquist should lose her (his?) license, hospital privileges, and teaching post. While there are indeed people with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs on cruise ships, NONE of them are living there. And who is it helping them bathe and dress and use the toilet on board? Right, spouses or other family. If someone needs the degree of care provided in assisted living, they cannot "live" on a cruise ship. MAYBE they could take a vacation, but the ship's staff sure as heck is not going to provide any direct care services.
BTW, getting "long-term care" in a Holiday Inn is just as ridiculous.
Follow this link to the full article on-line:
Another article on the high cost of health care in retirement, and again, these numbers all exclude the cost of long-term care.
The Motley Fool does a good job of examining a couple of different studies on what we should expect to pay out of pocket for health care in retirement, and how even with estimates exceeding $240,000 over a 20-year retirement we may still be UNDER-estimating the cost.
MOST of the costs are monthly premiums for Medicare Part B and Medicare Supplement insurance, plus an average of Medicare deductibles and co-payments.
None of the studies cited include the cost of long-term care services.
The Fool's advice:
This is a well-done article that lays out facts and ways to approach the planning issues without relying on scare tactics.
Read the full article on-line by clicking HERE.
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