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

 

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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. 

 

 

Why You Need Two Umbrellas Living In Port Angeles

Two Umbrellas
Two Umbrellas

It has been said that summer doesn’t start around here until after July 4th. Too bad it only lasts through Labor Day! Living on the Olympic Peninsula, the need for a good umbrella to shield you from the rain is almost year-round. However, the need for a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP) to shield you from lawsuits is constant.

Your nightmare

Here is the worst case scenario: It is raining out, your car skids and side-swipes an on-coming car causing an accident with a doctor and his wife aboard. The wife is killed and the doctor is hurt so badly that he will never be able to work again. A jury awards him millions of dollars and you are liable. Even though you have great limits of liability on your auto and homeowners policy of $500,000, the lawyers continue to go after your home, life savings and even garnish your future income until the full amount is paid. To protect you from one of these lawsuits, we recommend a PUP. A PUP is excess liability coverage over your current car and home policies. PUPs take care of the liability for the lawsuits and medical bills of the auto accident victim or any other situation where you become legally obligated to pay. The great thing is that PUPs also pay for the cost of lawyers and other legal expenses. Whether lawsuits are valid or not, you wind up having to defend yourself against them. In situations like these, it is great to have Allstate on your side with a Personal Umbrella Policy. There are countless examples of claims we see that reach the liability thresholds of traditional auto and homeowners insurance policies. No one is immune to these types of situations and they could happen at any time. Don’t leave yourself financially exposed.

Your Solution

Allstate offers a range of coverage amounts from $1 million increments up to a maximum limit of $5 million. They cost as low as $15 per month and that is truly money well spent. Call us today at 360-452-9200 to see if this policy might be right for you.

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. 

How To Pay Your Allstate Insurance Bill In Port Angeles

Matt Elwood Allstate Insurance
Matt Elwood Allstate Insurance

Paying bills is a chore than no one likes doing, but at Allstate we have several different options that can make life a little easier for you.

Local Agency

This is probably obvious, but are you aware that we take several different types of payments including cash, check and credit card? We even accept American Express. The great thing about paying your bill in the agency is that the payment gets applied immediately and we give you a receipt if you want one. In addition, you can make your payment at any Allstate agency if a different location is more convenient. Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. However, if you stop by during non-business hours, we have a payment slot that you can drop your payment in and it will be applied to your account the next business day. We will also call you to let you know we received your payment.

Telephone

We can accept payments over the phone several different ways. Most people like to use their debit or credit cards, which are a great way to pay your bill because you get an immediate confirmation number. We can also take payment with an Electronic Check or E-check. All we need is your routing and checking account numbers to process the payment. Our agency phone number is (360) 452-9200 or toll free (866) 452-9200

Computer

I know nights and weekends can be the best times to get things done. You can visit Allstate.com/mattelwood 24/7 and sign up for My Account via the customer log-in. Just follow the three simple steps to set up your account. You can access your account immediately upon completing registration. Not only can you pay your bill there, but also view your policy information, sign up for paperless billing, file or check the status of claim and much more.

Easy Pay

This isn’t for everyone, but some people like to put things on auto-pilot. We can set up your account on easy pay so the payment comes out of your checking account automatically every month or on recurring credit card. You will still get notification via email from Allstate as a helpful reminder before the draft occurs each month. I use this option myself and I really like it.

Please keep all these options in mind next time you are paying bills and most importantly, thank you for being an Allstate customer!

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.

Three Great Benefits of Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance tends to get some bad press, mainly because it is misunderstood by “experts” who don’t how these policies work. I will be the first to admit that there are some bad performing whole life and universal life policies out there, but the opposite is true as well. That’s the way it is with most products. There are positives and negatives associated with most everything. Since permanent life insurance gets so much negative press, here are three positive features that often get over-looked.

Tax Free Death Benefit

As it stands now, death benefit proceeds payable to beneficiaries are income tax-free. Well, so is term insurance, but only permanent life insurance is guaranteed to be there when you die as long as required premium payments are made. The vast majority of term policies never pay out a death benefit because most people outlive the term. Actuaries know this and so do the insurance companies.

Tax-deferred Growth

The cash value build-up inside a life insurance policy grows on a tax-deferred basis. That means you do not pay taxes each year on the growth of the guaranteed and non-guaranteed cash values.

Living Benefits

A permanent life insurance policy allows you to take out loans or withdrawals from your cash value. Often called Living Benefits, you have easy access to cash which can be used for anything from supplementing retirement income, helping with a down payment for a house or just creating an emergency fund. There are different strategies for accessing the cash value with different implications, but if done correctly, it can be withdrawn tax-free.

The Future

Obviously, everything is subject to change in the tax law, but this is why you should be working with an experienced, licensed agent. If you would like to learn more about the ways permanent life insurance may benefit your financial situation, please give me a call 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. 

Eight Tips To Remember Before Your Life Insurance Exam

Your diet and behavior before your life insurance exam may affect the results and ultimately how much you end up paying. The better underwriting class you qualify for, the cheaper your policy will be.

Here are eight tips to remember before your life insurance exam.

1. Schedule your exam for the morning time after a good night’s rest. 2. Avoid drinking coffee or anything with caffeine the day of your exam. 3. Avoid strenuous exercise 12-24 hours before your exam. This will allow your body to fully recover and get your vitals back to normal. 4. When it comes to alcohol, we all know that moderation is best. Just make sure you moderate at least a day before your exam so your liver enzymes don’t go off the chart. 5. Drink lots of water. Not only is it good for you and helps flush your body, but your exam will most likely include a urine test so you will need to be able ‘to go’ when asked. 6. The insurance company is going to want to review your medical records as part of the application. Prepare a list of your health history and doctors including name, address and phone numbers. The more information you can provide, the quicker your application will be processed. 7. Nicotine is stimulant so if you do smoke, hold off until the exam is completed to light up that first drag of the day. 8. Make sure your exam is confirmed. Your agent and examiner should do this as well, but nothing is more frustrating than confusion as to the date and time of the exam. If you live in a gated community, apartment complex or any other area with special access instructions or hard to find roads, notify your agent and/or examiner when making the appointment.

Life Insurance exam
Life Insurance exam

Fasting

You may also be wondering whether or not you should fast before your exam? I have heard varying opinions, but if it were me, I would fast the night before. If you do feel the need to eat, just make sure it is light and easily digestible.

These tips along, with a healthy lifestyle, will ensure you getting a better outcome with your next life insurance exam. If it has been a while since you reviewed your life insurance or are considering it for the first time, please give me shout.

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.