Free Long Term Care Insurance?

You may already have coverage and not know it or you may be able to get it for free. ©2013 by Paul Stevick

Long Term Care Insurance

Long Term Care Insurance

As a Certified Financial Planner®, I regularly come across situations where people have protection against the costs of long term care and aren’t aware of it. Many do not realize they can get protection simply by asking for it.

We can either die too soon or live too long. There is a change in our protection needs as we age. When young, our family needs to be protected against the financial impact of loss of income or a caregiver. At this time in our lives, our children are small and our mortgage is big. As time passes, our children get bigger and, hopefully, so does our income. If all goes reasonably well, we reach a point where we have less to worry about as children go off to their own adult lives. Our mortgage slims down and may even disappear. What we may not notice, or want to admit, is that as this protection need recedes, another threat advances and grows.

As we age, our ability to care for ourselves may diminish to the point that we need assistance. Since we don’t die from good health, we all face the prospect of becoming debilitated or incapacitated by whatever is pushing us to the end of our life. Some of us will become victims of diminished mental capacity, and may live with this condition for years. The cost of care can be devastating. What many do not know is that help can often be found in their life insurance policy, and it is usually free.

To understand the long term care protection embedded in many life insurance policies, we need to review a little history. In the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was a new and little understood cause of death. Many people were destitute as they awaited their end. Some did have life insurance, but that would only pay out after they died. Enterprising individuals offered to purchase these life insurance policies from the terminally ill patients at a price far below the death benefit that would be paid out. This, the purchasers claimed, provided the terminally ill patient with much needed cash. In return, the investor became the owner and beneficiary of the death benefit to be paid out in the near future. The business of “viatical settlements,” long a tiny niche, grew and flourished.

Life insurers became concerned about individuals purchasing policies purely for speculative purposes. Today, many states regulate viatical and life settlements and many more are developing legislation and regulations. The insurance companies also took action by developing the “Accelerated Death Benefit Rider.”

This rider was attached to most new life insurance policies at issue and many companies allow it to be attached to existing policies no matter when they were issued. The owner of the policy may withdraw a portion of the death benefit if the insured is terminally ill. The benefit may vary among insurers and states. Since insurance companies are regulated by the state in which they do business, there is some difference in how and when this benefit may be accessed. In Washington State, there is a very generous definition of “terminally ill.” In fact, this definition, which is written into law (WAC284-23-620 Definitions), turns many life insurance policies into a form of protection against the costs of care near the end of life. Best of all, this rider is usually put on existing or newly issued policies at no cost! Why would an insurance company do this? They simply don’t want their life insurance policies, which were designed to protect the purchasers, from being used as a speculative tool.

Washington State defines terminally ill as having the “reasonable expectation” of less than 24 months to live. The law goes on to name several specific medical conditions that would trigger this benefit, no matter how long the life expectancy. It even requires the benefit to be available when the insured has “any condition which requires either community-based or institutional care.” It also allows the benefit to be available when “any condition which usually requires continuous care in any eligible institution …if the insured is expected to remain there for the rest of his or her life.” This seems to include coverage, for example, for an institutionalized dementia patient. There are many other specific designations in this law, all of which provide access to a life insurance death benefit for the insured. The money accessed from the policy does not have to be used specifically for long term care costs. It can be used for anything.

The big advantage of long term care protection inside a life insurance policy is that a benefit is guaranteed to be drawn from a life policy. Long term care insurance is a form of term insurance. If you own a policy and pay premium for years, or even decades, and you die without drawing any benefits, you paid for something that has no value after your death. With a life insurance policy, you can draw the money out if you need it for end of life care. If you die without drawing anything out, the full death benefit is paid to your beneficiaries. Someone always benefits from the life policy strategy.

Do you have an old life insurance policy? Would you like to find out if it contains this potential protection against end of life costs? Would you like to compare the cost of long term care insurance against the coverage by a life insurance policy? Have you been declined for long term care insurance? In many case, you may still qualify for life insurance. Give us a call for a no cost or obligation opinion on what your options are. For a free copy of the law and it’s definitions, just give us a call.

Questions or comments? paulstevick@allstate.com

 

Knowledge is power

Sign up for Matt's monthly insurance newsletter and he will share with you how to better protect your family, save more money and achieve financial security.

Name *
Name

Financial Procrastination

Financial Procrastination
Financial Procrastination

It is human nature to procrastinate. I even procrastinated writing this month’s newsletter! It is so much easier to put off for tomorrow that which needs to be done today. After all, does it really make a difference if I clean my room now or tomorrow? Probably not, but when it comes to financial procrastination putting things off until tomorrow can have a dramatic impact. The problem is that tomorrow never comes. Days turn in to weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Financial speaking, you may miss out on years of compounding interest, pay higher insurance premiums or miss out on years of savings as a result of procrastinating. Whatever your situation may be, here is a list of common items I see clients delaying action on:

Bundling Your Insurance

By bundling your auto, home and life insurance with Allstate, you save more on each policy. Depending on your situation, you could be save 30-40% with multiple policy discounts.

Rolling Over An Old 401K

Have you changed employers in the past 5 years or longer? If so, you may have a 401K sitting at an old employer that is not actively being managed for your benefit. You have the option to roll that 401K into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), often with lower fees and more investment options.

Buying Life Insurance

A lot of people consider life insurance a luxury. I consider it a necessity, especially if you have people that depend on you financially. Allstate just came out with a new term life insurance policy that requires no exam, ages 18-45. With the convenience of doing the application over the phone and signing via email, now is a great time to get that policy your family needs.

Exploring LTC Insurance

There are over 10,000 people turning age 65 everyday is this country. The cost of health care is constantly increasing. If you have ever had an experience with a loved one that needed Long Term Care, you know that it can cost on average $6,000/mo. For a fraction of that cost you can get an LTC policy that will provide care if needed and protect your retirement nest egg at the same time.

There Is No Time Like The Present

These are just a few of the many financial topics that people tend to put off. Did any of them resonate with you? Did you think of something not mentioned here? If there is something on your financial to-do list that you would like me to help you check off, please reply to this email or give me a call at the agency 360-452-9200.

Want more information? Please visit Matt Elwood - Allstate Insurance to get more information on the Allstate products and services I can offer in Port Angeles, Sequim or anywhere Washington State. 

 

 

Six Reasons To Consider Buying Long Term Care Insurance

By now it is no surprise to you that our nation is aging. Baby Boomers are the largest segment of our population. With over 10,000 people currently turning age 65 every day, more and more people need Long-Term Care services. However, given these staggering numbers, Long-Term Care insurance is still a major gap in most people’s financial plans. Here are six reasons why you should consider buying LTC Insurance.

1.      You are in good Health

If you are in good health now in your 50’s or 60’s there is a good chance you will live into your 80’s and 90’s thus increasing the chances of needed Long-Term Care. Take advantage now of the good health discounts available while you still can.

2.       Emotional Toll

If you’ve had a personal experience with someone that needed LTC, you know the emotional toll it can bring. Without insurance, you may have to rely on your children or other family to take care of you. Would you really want to put them through that?

LTC Insurance not included
LTC Insurance not included

3.       The Government will not pay for LTC

Medicare only pays for a short period of time, usually not past 100 days. The government knows they can’t afford to pay for this given the other entitlement programs already in place. That is why they are giving tax advantages to buying long term care.

4.       Rising Costs

If you think it is too expensive then wait until you have to pay for it without Insurance. When it comes to cost of care, Washington State is higher than the national average. In a recent study by Genworth Financial titled “2010 Cost of Care Survey” the median cost for LTC Home care in Washington State is $49,695 versus the national median of $43,472. Care in a nursing home is even higher.

5.       It Won’t Happen To Me

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 out of 10 people reaching age 65 will need Long-Term Care services at some point in their lives. That is pretty sobering considering the odds of using your auto and home insurance.

6.       Home is where the heart Is

The thought of going to a nursing home is not a pleasant one. In fact, most people would rather remain in their home. And that is exactly what LTC insurance provides. It allows you the freedom and money to chose where you want to receive care and that includes your home.

If you would like to discuss your own personal situation or would like a Long-Term Care insurance quote, please reply or call me at 360-452-9200

Want more information? Please visit Matt Elwood - Allstate Insurance to get more information on the Allstate products and services I can offer in Port Angeles, Sequim or anywhere Washington State. 

What Is The Best Age To Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Couple considering when to buy LTC Insurance
Couple considering when to buy LTC Insurance

By now you understand that having Long-Term Care insurance is a good idea, but when the heck are you suppose to buy it? Boomers get inundated with financial advice everywhere they turn. Depending on what time of the day it is you will get a different answer on the best time to buy LTC insurance.

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says the best time to buy is after age 60. In Dave’s cost comparison example, he illustrates how it is cheaper to buy LTC at age 50 than it is at age 60. This is of course true. However, his premise that if you wait to buy at age 60 and invest the difference you will come out ahead is not always true. Even if you had the discipline to invest the difference, (which most people don’t) doing so in the stock market gave you a whopping 1.2% average from 2000-2009. I’m not sure where you can get the 5% he talks about these days. Given interest rates and returns of other investment vehicles, you are probably losing money when considering inflation. I do, however, agree with his second point that it is a personal decision and that you should buy it when you can afford it and have peace of mind.

Matt Elwood

I say the best time to buy Long-Term Care insurance is when you can reasonably afford it. There is no magical age when it comes to buying insurance. If you know you need it and you can reasonably afford it, you should buy it. Insurance is meant to provide financial protection from a risk you can’t afford happening without it.

Is It Time For You?

If you would like to have a personal discussion about your Long-Term Care needs, please reach out to me at 360-452-9200

Want more information? Please visit Matt Elwood - Allstate Insurance to get more information on the Allstate products and services I can offer in Port Angeles, Sequim or anywhere Washington State. 

What Are The 6 ADLs of Long Term Care Insurance?

The simple daily tasks of life that you took advantage of while you were younger, now seem to be getting harder. And now that you are living alone, you start to wonder how you will get along if you can’t take care of yourself. That is where Long Term Care insurance comes in. LTC pays for support services if you can’t perform the 6 activities of daily living. So what exactly are these 6 ADLs and how do you activate a LTC policy?

The 6 Activities of Daily Living

Assistance with LTC
Assistance with LTC

The specific definitions vary from company to company, but here are the general 6 ADLs: Eating, Bathing, Getting Dressed, Using The Restroom, Transferring (moving in and out of bed/chair) and Continence (controlling your bowel or bladder functions). If you can’t do 2 of these 6, you qualify for benefits under at Tax-qualified LTC insurance policy.

Cognitive Impairment

The other way you can be eligible to receive LTC benefits is if you have a cognitive impairment. An example of a cognitive impairment is Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. If you know someone that has been touched by this disease, you know very well emotional and financial challenges associated. If you would like to learn more about how Long Term Care Insurance works or if you would like to receive a quote, give me a call at 360-452-9200. You can also email me at mattelwood@allstate.com

Want more information? Please visit Matt Elwood - Allstate Insurance to get more information on the Allstate products and services I can offer in Port Angeles, Sequim or anywhere Washington State.