Making plans for a change in health is important!

What’s the best way to prepare for and protect yourself from the scary situation—I may need on going help with day to day life activities?

The best approach is to transfer the very big risk this will happen to a Long Term Care insurance company. Why? Buying is the most economical way to have funds to hire professional help since the premium is just pennies compared to all the dollars needed to pay yourself. A good way to think about this coverage is it’s—like a two-part gift to your family:

First – Taking action to buy means you won’t be in the awkward position of becoming a burden on family. Thus, a spouse, children, or others:
● Won’t have to change what they are now doing to be a care giver 100% of the time.

● Will be free to coordinate the professionals providing your help and can assist when able.

Second – Long Term Care insurance, which might be called “key family protection”©:
● Provides a guaranteed pool of funds, which act as a “wall of protection” around income and other hard earned money.

● Means you won’t lose most or all of your nest egg and your savings will continue to be available to support a spouse’s retirement; or to leave as a legacy for family, or to support a community organization!

Another important reason for buying—it’s like a gift to the person who buys. How?
● They can hire quality help when and where they want.

● Being in control of the desired assistance maintains their dignity and provides a special peace of mind.

● People like the help they receive, in many plans, from independent professionals who come to their home when assistance is first needed. They meet with the person and their family to help them understand the kinds of helping services available in the area, discuss what kind of professionals they want help from, and work with them on when they will receive help.

All this is of huge value.

More information about the value of this special kind of health insurance and all you and your family can gain is on my web site.

People want financial peace of mind

A recent survey by Dr. Ken Dychtwald’s Age Wave with Harris Interactive was a follow up to one conducted 10 years ago. It looked at the expectations of retirees. The new study revealed retirees now believe “achieving financial peace of mind has replaced wealth accumulation as today’s primary financial goal.”

One very effective step to gaining this peace of mind is to invest in Long Term Care insurance. How? Having this protection means a person won’t quickly use up their savings nest egg, become poor, and thus need to rely on family members for assistance.

An effective way to pay the premium might be to use some investment income.

A free little book on the ABC’s of Long Term Care insurance is available to Connecticut residents. It’s a great way to better understand the need for planning for the big risk of needing on going assistance! Send a note.

Connecticut lowers MedicAID’s personal allowance!

Effective July 1st new legislation in Connecticut changed the personal needs allowance residents receive when they are in a nursing home and on MedicAID.

The Connecticut Partnership for Long Term Care recently reported:

“The monthly Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for Medicaid nursing home residents will be reduced from $69 per month to $60 per month. This is the amount a Connecticut Medicaid beneficiary who resides in a nursing home can keep each month to cover the cost of personal items such as clothing, toiletries, telephone, cable TV, etc.

All other income gets applied to the cost of care, unless additional income is needed for a spouse living at home. The PNA for Veterans will be reduced to $150/month.”

Connecticut’s growing 65 and over population makes health planning important

Census data tells us people are living longer, even past 100. In 2010 14.4 percent of Connecticut’s population was 65 and over up from 13.8% in 2000. It jumps to 21.5% by 2030.   

What does all this mean? The chance of needing help with frailties as we age or perhaps tomorrow following a change in health is significant.. Compounding this big risk is the high cost of professional help! A Hartford area survey shows:
● A certified home health aide coming to help 5 hours, 5 times a week can be over $950. This could grow to over $8,000 a month in just 15 years.
● Assisted Living facilities can be up to $6,500 a month.
● The Connecticut Partnership for Long Term Care reports the average cost for a semi private Nursing Home is now over $127,000 a year.

What to do? The risk is high and the cost of help is astronomical so the important question is how to pay for this special assistance? Traditional health insurance won’t cover it and Medicare covers little if any. Consequently, instead of using funds in your hard earned nest egg to hire quality professionals the most effective plus economical way to pay is with the pool of funds that comes with long-term care insurance. 81 percent of the individuals who bought in 2010 were under 65 according to a new American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance study. Over half of them selected four years or less protection and opted for cost sharing.

People report they bought because they did not want to be a burden on family. There is a big plus if you take action and buy early! How? A much better chance of qualifying for a nice good-health discount.
Want more information on the value gained from this important planning? Call—(860) 739-0005—today and a free copy of Phyllis Shelton’s new little book the “ABCs of Long Term Care Insurance” will be mailed to Connecticut residents.

The impact on care givers is significant

As more families are caring for elderly parents the result is a BIG impact on the financial security and the health of individuals doing the care giving.

A new analysis by the University of Michigan, of people 50 and older, brings out the average in lost wages, retirement savings, and SS was $303,880 over their lifetime! Note: Since this is an average the amount will be higher for many people.

This study was conducted for the University by the Mature Market Institute with the National Alliance for Caregiving and New York Medical College’s Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy.

An early study by the Mature Market Institute found the most common health problems encountered by care givers were depression, hypertension, diabetes, and pulmonary disease. Care givers are also less likely to go for preventive check ups.

3in4NeedMore education program

Dr Marion Sommers the author of Elder Care Made Easier shares insights on the importance of LTCi and talks about the 3in4NeedMore education and publicity program.

The video is about five minutes. Contact me if any questions about the 3in4NeedMore program.

Insights on people’s wants and desires

Want to share some findings from Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. President/CEO, Age Wave. He is an authority on the aging of America and found in some recent work with a long term care insurance company that people:

+ Want to maintain good health and say “they would ideally like to live to 92 years”.

+ Are “over five times more worried about being a burden on their family than dying”.

+ Are most concerned about “uninsured medical expenses” and “rank Alzheimer’s as their single greatest fear among disabling diseases in later life”.

Planning insights from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Want to share some useful insights on long term care planning.

The May 2011 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance includes an insert with Frequently Asked Questions, which are an essential part of planning for long-term care.

It was developed by the American Association for Long-term Care Insurance and is an important step to help you make better decisions.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance information on long term care planning

The May 2011 edition of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance includes a special planning guide insert – The Most Asked Questions. The American Association of Long Term Care Insurance, a professional association I am involved in, sponsored this insert.

Take a look at this four page informative insert and then call (860) 451-9793 to discuss.

What’s involved in Long Term services and what do they cost?

The results from various survey’s indicate around 70% of individuals over 65 will need some long term services. Most of this assistance will be received in the home where people want to be when help with day to day life activities is needed.

Consequently, this note is to share information about what’s involved in long term services and support:

+ The most common assistance would be for non medical such as preparing meals, helping around the house, etc. and provided by a Homemaker, sometimes called a Companion.

+ More substantial assistance, such as with two or more Activities of Daily Living, would be provided by a Home Health Aide.
Cost: A recent survey indicates these Aides range from $19 to $35 an hour in the Hartford area.

+ Complex medical related assistance can be provided by a LPN or in some cases an RN.
Cost: LPN’s range from $39 to $143 an hour in the Hartford area.

Home based services can be periodic or around the clock and respond to people’s desire to – age in place.

Adult Day services: Individuals go to a center for the day and receive health and therapeutic services. They benefit from interacting with others and it’s a good option so the regular care giver has time to go to work or get some rest. They are growing in popularity. Some Adult Day service providers offer transportation to take individuals to and from their home.

Note: Close to 40% of Adult Day Service providers operate with a social model; 25% provide a medical/health model; and 35% use a medical/health and social model.

Assisted living: One big value of an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) is socializing, which improves an individual’s quality of life and makes them quite popular. Individuals have a private room, receive meals in a common area, and have access to a range of services. It’s an excellent choice when a person can no longer live independently. A part of this decision is safety, which is important for family members since they know help will be there in case of a fall or sudden illness. Some assisted living facilities offer extra services for people with cognitive conditions.

Note: Services provided by ALF’s are not all the same. Some facilities offer up to 5 services in the monthly rate in what is considered a “basic” level. Those with 6 to 9 services in the monthly rate have a “standard” level. ALF’s with 10 or more services in their standard rate are considered “inclusive”. Most will add additional services as needed.
Cost: They range from $2,400 to $6,500 a month in the Hartford area.

The role of a nursing home is to provide more complex and around the clock help and services.
Cost: They range from $300 to $448 a day for a semi private room in the Hartford area. It’s $305 to $478 a day for a private room.