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.

 


How does Long Term Care insurance work?

 

I recently received a question – How does Long Term Care insurance work?

OK if one person has this question many others also do. Thus, this post is to share a couple points on the coverage:

First – What does this special kind of insurance do? It provides funds to cover the cost of a person’s long term services & support when they need substantial assistance to perform day to day life functions. Things such as – eating, dressing, bathing, going to the toilet, or transferring.

Professionals in the industry call this assistance with life functions – help with activities of daily living (ADLs).

How does a person qualify to have this important assistance paid? –  A health care professional, such as a physical therapist, develops a care plan, which indicates the person currently needs help with 2 or more ADLs and it is anticipated the assistance will be be needed for at least 90 days.

When the Long Term Care insurance company receives the care plan they can begin to reimburse eligible services such as:

Professionals coming to support you in your home

 Adult Day Services. Assistance during the day at a facility in their area so the person’s family or other care giver can go to work

 For a person living in an Assisted Living Facility

 For a person who needs complex help 24/7 and is in a Long term care facility.

 

Second – How does the coverage work? There are three main provisions to discuss when reviewing this important kind of insurance and developing a plan.

 Benefit amount – the amount of funds a person can receive, who is eligible for professional assistance. This is sometimes expressed as a daily benefit. A monthly benefit is also an option to give a person more flexibility. How? The kind and amount of help a person needs often varies from one day to another. Thus, selecting a monthly vs a daily benefit means funds will be available to pay the extra services received during one day.

 Waiting period – the number of days a person selects before their reimbursement for professional help will begin. Many people select 90 days, which will be for assistance in a facility and select an option to have no waiting when assistance is received at home. BTW research tells us most long term services are provided at home.

 Benefit period – the length of time, expressed in years, a person would be eligible receive their benefits. Multiplying their Benefit Amount by the Benefit Period results in the plan’s total pool of funds. Funds not used during the Benefit period will continue to be available.

 Inflation protection is another provision to review. It’s optional but very important. Why? When a person buys a plan they might not need help for 20 or more years. Thus, since professional long term services will certainly be more expensive over time this provision increases the plan’s Benefit Amount and the pool of funds each year. It’s common to use a 5% compounded increase.

 


Will I need help getting around later in life?

 

Most of us respond to this question by thinking – I’m in good shape today so I will continue to be OK later in life. However, the reality is a lot of us will need some help.

Today’s post shares some insights about how many need help from a recent study of 8,000 older individuals living at home. It was reported in a Harvard Medical School publication. Some findings from the survey:

31% reported performing all their day to day life activities without any help.

25% performed their activities but did use, for example, a bathroom grab bar or a cane.

21% needed help from someone with at least one daily activity

18% had trouble being mobile, even when using a device or after making changes in their home.

6% had to limit their mobility, even with assistance devices.

The study also found 45% of the participants who were 65 to 69 indicated they did not need any help vs only 4% 90 or older did not need assistance.

A couple important points come out when thinking about these findings:

First – Take time to think about what you would like if assistance is needed. Then, to achieve what you want to happen the most effective thing to do is – buy Long Term Care insurance. It’s also the most economical way to pay for the help vs having to find funds from investments to pay these professionals. Having access to the plan’s special benefit pool means:

● You will not become a burden on family.

● Your children won’t have to face the very emotional and difficult task of providing you personal care!

● You should not have to worry about conflict in your family on whether your savings nest egg is being spent for your assistance vs being retained for the other parent.

 

Second – Devote more time to taking care of yourself. I am very glad to see more coverage in the media, communication within companies, and in other ways to help people understand the importance of everyone taking care of themselves. Doing this does not mean you will not need assistance in the future. But if it does having better health could result in not needing help as early or as much.

 

Some say – Wow Long Term Care insurance is expensive. Yes it is but the premium for this important insurance vs the risk is lower than the premium vs the risk of say our car or home insurance! 

Call John C Parker on my Google Voice # at 860.451.9793 today if any questions.

 


What’s the most effective way to pay for professional long term services and support?

 

Quick answer – buy what I like to call long term health insurance.

Why? Owning this special kind of financial protection is much better than “just paying” for this help yourself and quickly using up most of your savings nest egg. 

How much protection to buy?  We are able to buy a certain amount of homeowners insurance because we know the value of our home. With long term services and support we do not know how much help might be needed or for how long they will be used. Here are some points to think about:

  • Cost sharing is a way to have more protection at a lower cost. Look at what amount of help you could pay from say social security or income from investments and what amount would you want your Long Term Care insurance plan to pay.
  • These special services are forecast to double in cost over 12 to 15 years. To protect against this it is important to have a plan with inflation protection. Even though this option is expensive it must be considered.
  • We are living longer, which in many ways is great. Longevity however raises the probability we will have a change in health or develop frailties later in life. This in turn increases the need to protect your financial nest egg.
  • One idea for funds to pay your plan’s premium is to use some dollars from income and some from the interest you earn on financial investments.
  • Paying for your plan on an annual basis may be 8% lower than monthly.
  • The premium for this important insurance is lower than the cost vs risk of our homeowner’s coverage and the other kinds of insurance we have!  This is just one of the many reasons to buy this special kind of financial protection.

Questions – contact John C Parker, RHU, LTCP