Archive | March 2014

Different Options for Elder Care Insurance

 

 

If you are nearing retirement and are very keen on making sure that you are covered in terms of care in those years, then it will be a smart move to explore the different options you have when it comes to elder care insurance.

 

Different kinds of coverage are now being offered when it comes to this insurance policy. To help you decide on how to go on planning about long term care, here are the choices from which you can choose:

 

  • Long term care insurance – A traditional long term care policy entails that you pay your premiums for a certain number of years and once you triggered your benefits, the company will then pay off your claims. Typically, a conventional elder care insurance such as this covers for the assistance you need in performing the Activities of Daily Life (ADL) such as eating, dressing and going to the bathroom. This can either be administered inside the home, assisted living facility or nursing home. If in any case that you intend to stop on paying your premiums, you could lose the rest of the money you have already invested. That could be a downside. That’s why it is best to shop around for rates and sign up for the policy that best suits your financial capability in order to avoid this predicament in the future.

 

  • Hybrid products – A hybrid product that can suit seniors is a fixed annuity that has the benefits of long term care. An annuity is a long-term plan that allows you to sock away funds that will be later paid to you. This is a strategy to ensure that you have a steady cash flow even during retirement. Presently, you can opt for a fixed annuity and has the option to include long term care benefits in it. How? By paying a rider fee that ranges from 1.5-3% annually. This can help you accumulate funds that you can use for long-term care on top of your actual annuity. However, this can have a negative effect on your annuity’s interest income as the rider fee can eat into that rate and can affect the growth of your money as you keep it locked in.

 

  • Shared care policy – If you are married, you and your spouse can combine your individual policy and share the benefit duration as a whole. Say, both of you owns a 5-year policy, that will amount to 10 years worth of coverage that can be pooled together for you. If your partner used up 4 years off that coverage, then you have 6 years left for you. For the elderly, going for this can be a strategy to cut down on long term care premiums.

 

  • Long term care partnership programs – If your long term care policy is approved by the state, then you can be viable for Medicaid without giving up your assets. Normally, you need to have a limited amount of assets before you can qualify for this federal program. On the other hand, partnership programs allow you to keep your assets should the time come that you wish to apply for Medicaid. Most seniors’ income become relatively small during retirement, thus this program can work greatly to their advantage, as they need not exhaust their assets just so they could be given Medicaid benefits. Partnership programs like this are available in about 40 states.

 

So which type of elder care insurance is best? It actually depends on your needs and financial strength. However, this is what Jesse Slome, the executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, advises, “If your need for long-term care is relatively short, meaning a year or two, consider a hybrid life product. But if your need is likely to be longer, you’re going to blow through the policy and be back on your own savings.” Simply put, going for a traditional long term care policy can still be the best track for you to take.

 

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Best long term care insurance websites

 

As the number of baby boomers increases, the demand for long term care services increases as well. One practical way to pay for long term care services is through long term care insurance, however, the product still lacks credibility and a lot of people are misguided and misinformed. If you are someone who wish to find answers to the most common questions regarding long term care insurance, what it is, how much it cost, who needs it, how to pay for it, etc., you can always rely on the internet to find comprehensive and precise information. However, you might be thinking that not everything you find on the internet is reliable, there are websites that can be deceiving and some are in fact scam. I have created a personal list of top websites which I find informative and give consumers simple and fast answers to queries regarding the product. Long term care insurance may or may not be the right choice for you, and the only way to know it is to get yourself informed:

 

Podcast #4, Long-Term Care Insurance

People are indeed living longer and the need for long term care and long term care insurance is increasing..so is the cost. If we haven’t plan on getting one yet, there is no reason to delay it much longer. Prevention is always better than cure so they say, and getting long term care insurance is much more better than being sorry when the need arises and you have not planned on when and where you are going to get the care that you need. Long term care insurance as discussed in infolongtermcare.org is a way to safeguard our future and secure our assets by making sure that we will not be spending our life’s saving into paying care out of pocket. We only need careful planning before purchasing one, to make sure that we get a policy that best suits our needs and preference.

Your Wealth Curve

Protecting Yourself from the Cost of Long-Term Care

In this episode of Your Wealth Curve, I sit down with Susan Kobara of Commonwealth Financial in San Diego, CA, for a discussion on long-term care insurance. Susan joined Commonwealth in 2008 as their expert and primary point of contact for long-term care insurance after working for years in the industry in both policy sales and product development. At Commonwealth, she specializes in helping financial advisors address with their clients the need for protection against the catastrophic risk of health care costs associated with the need for long-term care.

What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

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4 Factors that Determine Long Term Care Comparisons

Even seniors with good physical and mental health may need long term care insurance policies. They may contract serious illnesses, or go through unexpected accidents that lead to disabilities. As a senior, buy a long term care insurance policy and prepare for future risks. However, long term care comparisons are the initial steps in getting a suitable policy.

 

There are different factors to consider when buying a long term care insurance policy. These are premiums and rates, policy benefits, coverage and facilities, and inflation protection.

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Premiums and Rates

 

When looking for a long term care insurance policy, you do not necessarily have to buy one from the lowest prices. It might be cheap, but it also lacks coverage. Buy a policy that gives you the most coverage that you need, yet has premiums that you can afford.

 

In addition, you may want to compare elimination periods among policies. Elimination period pertains to the length of time before you can receive long term care benefits. It can range from one month to one year, and there are policies that do not even have elimination periods. Take note that a shorter elimination period means more expenses for a policy.

 

Policy Benefits

 

Policy benefits, on the other hand, refer to payments from long term care insurance policies. When doing long term care comparisons, you have to take into account the benefit period. In addition, also consider the benefit amount and benefit method.

 

You can opt to receive long term care benefits within a specific period of time. You can choose to get them from within two years to as long as your lifetime. The longer the time, the more expensive your payments are. Make sure that you can afford to pay for benefits within the time period you choose.

 

Aside from benefit period, you may also assess the benefit amount in the process of comparing long term care insurance policies. Select a policy where you are satisfied with the amount of daily payments. Benefit amounts range from $50 to more than $300 per day.

 

When you look for a policy, it is important that you know the benefit method – or the manner of how you spend money to get benefits. In the reimbursement method, there is coverage for certain long term care expenses and you pay back directly to the insurance provider. In the indemnity method, you receive daily benefits in the amount stated in the insurance policy.

 

Coverage and Facilities

 

Policies may cover a variety of long term care facilities. Choose one with a long term care facility that accommodates not only your long term care requirements but also your personal choice. Options for facilities include nursing homes and adult day care. The other options are home health care, retirement communities, hospice care, and assisted living facilities.

 

Inflation Protection

 

Some long term care insurance policies – especially partnership policies – feature inflation protection. If you want to add more to your benefits, then get a policy with insurance protection. Without it, there are no additional benefits even if you pay more for a policy. The type of inflation protection depends on your age.

 

Long term care comparisons are important. They help you get a compatible long term care insurance policy and avoid future complications with a policy’s rules.

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Long term Care Insurance Carriers: Know What to Look For

People have different ways of choosing things whether it’s about clothes or food.  It would really depend on what we like and what our individual tastes are.  These factors can also influence our deciding process on how we choose the long term care insurance carriers that would provide our future LTC coverage.  Each one of us has a different method to help us choose the best provider.  There is no really on right or wrong process in choosing your insurance provider just as long as you familiarize yourself with the following attributes to help you choose the right insurance company for your LTC needs.

 

They have high ratings from different financial institutions – If you are looking for a financially stable company that provides excellent coverage, you can start first by checking the company’s ratings.  Companies are rated by three major agencies; these are A.M. Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.   These agencies focus on the financial strength of insurance carrier and review the insurance companies’ information from time to time. At this point, the insurance provider can either retain their current ratings or move up or down if there are changes in their ratings.

 

The feedback they receive from customers­ –   Long term care insurance carriers may also be rated in a different way besides their financial stability.  The feedbacks these providers receive from customers can also be a good way for you to gauge if the insurance company would be able to provide you the LTC coverage that you need.  Simply put, policyholders complain if they don’t want to be inconvenienced when they make a claim under their policy. If they are unable to make a claim, they make a complaint or negative feedback.  Try to look for companies with positive feedbacks or   low complaint ratio and stay away from companies with a high complaint ratio somewhere around .29%

 

They can provide the LTC coverage you need in the future­ – Finally, when you choose your LTC insurance carrier, you can choose a company that you trust to provide you the LTC coverage that you need.  This would be really difficult as you would have to pore over various insurance quotes and review the extent of the coverage the each policy would provide.  You would really have to choose the one that can provide you the coverage that you would need for LTC needs.

 

There are other traits to look for long term care insurance carriers, but the common ways that would help choose would be the company’s financial standing and feedbacks that they receive from their customers.  When your review the financial stability of the insurance company, you would know that this would not easily tank down and leave you without any coverage for long term care.   When you look for the complaint ratio of an insurance company, you always choose one with the lowest rating because you would know that these companies make easy for their policyholders.  Lastly, choose a company that you trust and provide you coverage in the future.

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Get Yourself Started with LTC Insurance

Even if you have a million dollars in your savings account right now, there is no guarantee that you would get to keep all this money in the future. As the costs for LTC policies and services continue to rise, some are left without a dime trying to cover the expenses for these needs.

One of the steps that you can take now is to get LTC insurance. This way, you can be assured that all of your long term care needs would be met without having to exhaust all of your savings and other assets. You can still lead a comfortable life with your loved ones without having to worry about the financial aspects of long term care.

In a recent study conducted by one of the largest insurance companies in the market, the cost for nursing home care is climbing due to the increase in demand for this LTC service.

It would cost an average of $222 daily or $81,030 yearly for a private room in a nursing facility. While for a semiprivate room, it would be an average yearly cost of $73,000 or around $200 a day. This may be $22 less, but the charges are still expensive.

In a survey conducted by the AARP, respondents of the survey, aged 50 years old and up, are not that keen in getting themselves into a nursing home institution. But despite this disinterest, most of them do pay for these services. This is also a reason why LTC insurance is very much important.

If you customize your LTCI policy, you are assured of getting the best quality care. At the same time, you don’t have to rely on your family or loved ones for help and be a burden to them physically or financially.

You can start by having your current health condition checked. You can go to your family doctor and have them make a thorough examination. They can provide you with helpful insights on what LTC needs you would require in the future based on the results of the exams and also after checking your family’s medical background.

After getting the information you need, you can now contact or meet with a licensed insurance agent. You can supply them with your medical records and ask them for computations and inquire the coverage that would suit your future LTC needs. You can request for quotes that would help you decide which policy to get.

The area in which you live in can greatly affect the costs of long term care. LTC costs are high in densely populated areas than in less populated places. Also keep in mind the effects of inflation in your LTC insurance. In 20 to 30 years’ time, your policy might not be a competitive or as comprehensive as inflation has eaten up and decreased its value.

Long term care insurance does not just assist the policy holder but also their families as well. Some policies even offer spousal coverage with premium discounts and promos.

 

Top Websites for Long Term Care Insurance Information

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Finding informative and reliable articles and guides about long term care and long term care insurance online is a way to get ourselves educated without having to leave the house. But we should be extra careful because not everything on the internet is  accurate. I took time to research and check different websites that provide consumer information and review about everything ltc and from there, I created a personal list of websites that provide comprehensive and precise information. I may have missed out a couple of websites or more, so be sure to do your own assignment so we can generate more resources to make people aware of the impact of long term care. The websites listed below are in random order and I visit them most of the times, especially whenever I do some research about long term care insurance:

Helpful Long Term Care Options for Facilities and Services

There are more to long term care benefits than just assistance from caregivers. There are also health check-ups, medical treatment, social activities, and even transportation and meals. As a senior, you have a lot of long term care options as regards facilities to choose from. However, your long term care insurance policy must support the coverage for a specific facility.

Nursing Homes

When people say long term care, you may immediately think of a nursing home. However, not all seniors may need long term care in them. In fact, nursing home accommodation is intended for seniors with serious medical complications such as respiratory and kidney problems.

Aside from medication and therapy, nursing homes also provide you assistance with daily tasks, healthy food, and rehabilitation aid. Your stay in a nursing home depends on how bad your health condition is. Bedridden patients or those with advanced mental complications may have to stay for an indefinite period of time.

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Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities have a lesser degree of medical care compared to nursing homes. You may reside in them along with 30 other seniors – or even with as many as more than 100 seniors. People in assisted living facilities have their own personal living spaces, but meet and conduct activities at common areas.

This type of facility generally offers you basic long term care. You receive meals, home maintenance, and security services along with regular assistance and help with medication.

Board and Care Homes

If you want less company, then opt to live in board and care homes. These facilities offer you privacy, although some board and care homes may require you to share rooms with other seniors. You can have three meals a day and caregiver assistance. However, nurses and medical instruments are generally absent in board and care homes.

Adult Day Care

One of the long term care options that you can select is adult day care. Seniors get long term care services within secure facilities on weekdays and stay in their homes on weekends. Adult day care is recommended if you need rehabilitation and therapy.

Senior centers are part of adult day care. These centers provide you food and recreational activities that suit aged people. They even have classes that can arouse your interest and creativity such as lessons about making handicrafts. Senior centers accommodate older adults with healthy states of mind.

In-Home Care

Of course, you have the option to receive long term care within your own home. Family members and other relatives can take care of you. Otherwise, insurance policies cover the payment for caregivers who will visit you and provide your long term care needs.

Caregivers help in what you do for everyday living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and going to bed. There are personnel who can cook your meals and do your household chores. You may even ask nurses to visit your home for health check-ups, changes in medication, and other necessary medical procedures.

Choose the right type of facility from these long term care options. Find one that is compatible with not only your long term care requirements but also your preferences.

 

References:

http://www.infolongtermcare.org/

http://www.longtermcare.gov/

http://www.aaltci.org/

Rising Star…

This just made my day..I got an email from hubpages that one of the articles I wrote about long term care insurance was a candidate for the “Rising Star” program.  The said program features high-quality Hubs published and I was so overwhelmed that among thousand of members of this site, my article was chosen. What got me really excited was when they announced the winner…I was one of those who got the highest vote and my article was named the “Rising Star”. It was really a great day for me, my article is included in their newsletter which was sent to their members and subscribers. It was indeed a great honor for me to be recognized, please feel free to visit and read it too:

http://karenlorenzo.hubpages.com/hub/Self-Assessment-Guide-For-LTC-and-LTCI

What You Should Know About Long Term Care Insurance Rates

People have the wrong impression when it comes to LTCI policies. They think that only the rich can afford to pay what they assume to be high long term care insurance rates. However, these rates are not computed by one’s financial status in life; one’s current physical condition and future health needs are taken into consideration.

 

The factors the insurance company’s use to calculate for a person’s premiums are the following: age, amount of coverage, payment methods, and other preferences in the policy.

 

The first factor that any insurance company would take into consideration is the client’s age. Between the younger generation and an older one, the former tend to pay lower premiums. Why? Because the younger plan holder have smaller chances of getting ill and tend to spend less on their premiums. In this case, the insurance companies do tend to earn more income. Unlike their older counterparts, elderly plan holders are susceptible to many illnesses as they grow old.

 

That’s why it’s important to start at early for LTCI policies. Some insurance programs offer discounts to younger plan holders. It is always best to know what options are available out there when starting your future financial and health plans. Different insurance providers offer different plans that would suit a person’s needs. Some of the plans may offer reimbursement options, others offer exemptions, while other policies offer cash plans. This would depend on what the policy holder would like to include in their insurance programs.

 

Among all the insurance options, policies with reimbursement features are more popular because they are the least expensive. It pays the policyholder for his total expenses on care depending if this is daily, weekly or monthly. For a policy with indemnity offers, it offers full coverage regardless of actual costs on care by the plan holder. This gives the insured total independence from the type of care they can receive to where they can receive it. This also provides the option to choose between a family caregiver or a professional one. But since the latter offers comprehensive coverage, expect the long term care insurance rates for this policy to be more expensive.

 

Another consideration when it comes to LTC is a person’s future health care needs. In this scenario, a person would need to go back and check their family’s medical background for any recurring illness. This would help them decide on what type of policy to buy. This can prevent them from spending money on the wrong policy that would not be able to provide the coverage that they would need in the future.

 

People would need to consider their future health care needs. However if they do decide to get a LTCI policy, they would also have to review the long term care insurance rates. There are different factors that can affect the rates on a policy. One should also consider the coverage and other features on the plans they are considering. In the end, this would prevent them from getting a plan that would not be able to cover their future LTC needs.

 

References:

http://www.infolongtermcare.org/long-term-care_information/

http://www.aaltic.org/