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. 

 

 

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.