Comments on the finding – many do not understand the cost of long term care services and support.

I posted a Forbes article on Twitter a few days ago on people not understanding the cost of needed services and Long Term Care insurance. The article, by Howard Gleckman a Forbes contributor, included some research findings I want to comment on.

The article indicated more than 15,000 adults age 40 to 70 were surveyed in 2014 for the US Department of Health and Services. The findings revealed these interested things about people’s thoughts on long term care:

  1. Want lifetime coverage
  2. Low premiums
  3. Want to stay at home if on-going assistance is needed, make needed modifications, and rely on family and friends.
  4. Had little idea about the cost of long term services and support.
  5. Believe [2/3 of participants] the government needs to make an effort to promote Long Term Care insurance and there should be tax subsides to encourage people to buy.

Note: A problem with the suggestion in # 5 was brought out  – over 2/3 of all individuals could not take advantage of it, if it were now available, since they do not file an itemized tax return.

My post today is to share a couple comments on these findings. First – on the cost of these special services here in CT:

  • Having a certified home health aide in the Hartford area for six hours 4 times a week could grow to be over $5,500 a month in just 15 years.
  • A Assisted Living Facility can now cost up to $6,600 a month in the Hartford area; to $6,900 in the New Haven area; to $6,600 in the New London/Norwich area; and to $8,000 in the Bridgeport/Stamford area.
  • Skilled nursing facility costs in Connecticut are next to the highest in the U.S.! A semi private room is now over $146,000 a year.

Looking to the future in say 25 to 30 years when many may need on-going services with personal activities they may be three times higher. Paying directly would cause many people to quickly use up their savings nest egg and become poor!

Second – people expressed a desire for full coverage at a low premium. The facts however, tell us the cost of this special coverage, which I like to call long term health insurance, is high especially here in CT. Why? The need for one going help  is high today and will increase significantly:

  • Over 80% of us have a relative, or know someone, who is or has received help.  Some because “parts wore out” and others who were having trouble with mental ability.
  • 70% or more of us will need help by age 75! People by then have, on average, 2 or 3 chronic conditions and some as many as 10 or 12.

An observation about the cost of insurance vs the need for coverage:

When the risk of a claim is high the cost of insurance is high. For example, the cost for home owners insurance on a large home would be higher than coverage on a very small home. The large home has much more structure to replace and more things in it to cover if it burned down.  However, the risk for a home to burn down is low so home owners insurance is not that expensive.

Long Term Care insurance on the other hand is expensive because the risk help will be needed is quite high as mentioned above. But even though it costs a lot say in comparison to home owners insurance no matter how much your plan costs the amount you pay is just pennies compared to how much you would have to pay directly, based on the above costs, for all the help you need.

Want to also share an example of paying for coverage over time and then receiving benefits:

  • If a person buys a Long Term Care insurance plan with a four year benefit period and certain coverage at age 55 and then say at 80 needs help all the money they paid over this 25 year period could come back in benefits in just 7 1/2 months! (227 days).

The overall findings in the survey reveal a big need for more education on the need to plan and prepare for long term services and support. This communication effort needs to be made by private organizations and state and federal level government.

The Forbes article I posted on Twitter can be found here.


Great points to consider as we get older

This post shares some informative and insightful points from a talk Dr. Ken Dychtwald gave during the 2015 Aging in America Conference. His talk was last March and titled –  Maturity Re-Imagined. It brings out points to think about on living the rest of your life.

Related to living longer and getting older, the month of May is celebrated each year as Older American Month. I especially like this year’s theme. Get into the Act. It’s focus is to increase awareness and  encourage individuals to get more involved and to take action on their health.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services has a web site page on the Older American Month. Part of its statement on the program’s History is shown here:

[snip]

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”

[snip]

Now back to some thoughts on Dr. Dychtwald’s talk. A video of his talk at the American Society on Aging conference can be found here. It’s a little over 40 minutes and for anyone interested in getting older it will really be worth your time.

Dr. Dychtwald strongly recommends a need for new thinking on maturing and reviews, during his talk, the need for new ways to think about the areas of – Health – Family – Work – Leisure – Home – Finance – Purpose.

One key point in the talk, which was of interest to me, is the need to focus more on people being Interdependent. Much of our education and thinking has been on the importance of being Independent. In other words we should be doing things together vs on our own.


What folks say about the value of Long Term Care insurance

The month of November has been designated Long Term Care Awareness Month for the last several years. It is however important to prepare for needing on-going assistance and buying this special kind of insurance no mater what time of year it may be.

I believe sharing thoughts from other individuals will help consumers in Connecticut better understand what best be called long term health insurance. Comments on the value of Long Term Care insurance are brought out in four short videos on LifeHappens.org.

First – the value to them in being able to receive the kind of assistance they need and want.

Second  – why they did not want to be a burden on others

Third – why it was important to buy early.

Fourth   –  comments  on the peace of mind they gained from Long Term Care insurance.


November is Long Term Care Awareness Month

Many people plan for upcoming events in their life. Most however, don’t plan for one very significant event – not being able to care for themselves!

Thus, the focus of Long Term Care Awareness Month is to emphasize the importance of planning for the possibility assistance with day to day life activities will be needed in the future. Why? The probability of needing help is very high and the cost is significant to the family caregivers who have to perform complex tasks.

To help you better understand the impact living longer is having I am pleased to provide information from two sources:

  • The Long Term Care Planning guide Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine developed with the American Association of Long Term Care Insurance. It was published in the November 2014 issue. It can help you take steps to plan for what you want to happen you have a change in health and the kind of help you would like.

The Life Happens organization also supports this Awareness Month and has useful information and resources on their site. Note especially the tabs on this page – Who Needs – Types of Care – Getting Coverage.

Want to also provide some information about Long Term Care insurance terms  from LifeHappens.org

These easy to understand definitions may be useful.


Many people plan for upcoming events in their lives. Most however, don’t plan for a significant event – not being able to care for themselves!

Even though most don’t make preparations taking steps to plan for the kind of help you would like is important. What to do? The most effective approach is to buy what is best called “Long Term Health insurance”. Taking this action today will not stop health problems from developing but does mean you can gain:

  • A lower cost: Premiums for this important insurance are based on your age the day you enroll, your health situation, and the level of benefits you select. Premiums can be three times higher at age 70 than when you are 50 so buying early is important.
  • More benefits: Waiting to age 55 means you would have to buy an initial benefit pool of over $400,000 to achieve the same protection as someone who bought an initial pool of $250,000 at age 45. How? The 45 year old’s plan included the 5% compound inflation option. Waiting to 55 also means your premium for this initial pool of money will be higher! Why? You are 10 years older. IOW a dollar buys more benefits the younger you are.
  • A good health discount: A study by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a professional association I’m actively involved in, reports 53.9% of people between 40 and 49 qualify for a good health discount. Between 50 to 59 it drops to 44.2% – 60 to 69 it’s 31.9% – 70 to 79 it’s only 18.8%.
  • A better chance of being accepted: Another AALTCI study found up to 33% of individuals 60 to 69 did not qualify for this “protection for your finances” because they had health problems. 13.9% of individuals 50 to 59 were declined in this study of 10 leading long term care insurance companies.

Buying “Long Term Health insurance” also means you won’t become a burden on family having used up income, your nest egg, and becoming poor.

Live in Connecticut? You can learn more about why owning Long Term Care insurance is better than following a plan of “I’ll wait and see”  – www.LongTermCareIns-CT.com

Contact John C Parker<RHU, LTCP if questions – (860) 739-0005


New services when individuals need day to day help and for distant caregivers!

There is a lot going on today with technology to help as we age and when we need long term support and services.

Wanted to share two videos on technology now being used to help with caregiving. They were created by the Center for Aging Services Technologies an association of foundations, academic and applied researchers, and health and social service providers.

The first video on the page is – Imagine – the Future of Aging. It’s described as “a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of what the future of aging could look like with help from developing technologies that are possible, practical, and affordable.”

It is about eight minutes, provides comments from various individuals, and is well worth the time. I believe, you won’t think – oh – technology is going to overwhelm us. Instead – this can be a big help.

Many of the technology based services mentioned in the video are available today from a Connecticut based firm. They have many other products, which may be useful in your planning for a loved one.

In the second two minute plus video  – Transforming an Aging Nation –  “industry experts describe how these technologies can potentially improve health care, preserve independence, and ensure quality of life for seniors.

 

This “helping technology” will be a step toward enabling people to continue their independence and to offset the shortage of professional caregivers.


Four insightful points on aging and health

 

The way people think about aging today is different from the past. People who are now close to 70 think of themselves like someone who was 50 say 25 years ago.

What about the future? Some answers can be found in this eight minute video, recorded in early March by Ken Dychtwald, PhD President of Age Wave, provides though provoking points on aging. It was made during the 2014 American Society of Aging Annual Conference.

In listening to his thoughts about what an ever expanding life span means it is important to think about:

  • Where do you want to be if help is needed and what would you like to happen?
  • Do you want to receive assistance at home so you can maintain as much independence as possible?
  • What would your family do? Could one change what they are now doing to come help? Who could?
  • Do you have a pile of money put aside to pay very expensive help and avoid becoming poor? Would family members help you pay?

Some certainty, in what you would like to happen, can be gained when action is taken to buy Long Term Care insurance (LTCi).

Interested in other aging related information?

● Ken Dychtwald’s thoughts about retirement are highlighted in this video made during ASA’s 2013 annual conference.

● Points are brought out in these early April charts on “How Americans Die” from Bloomberg Visual.

 

Call John C Parker today on Google Voice at 860.451.9793 if any questions on how Long Term Care insurance is an important part of planning for aging.

 


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