Monthly Archives: November 2015

Busting Your Long-Term Care Myths

Long term care mythbusters
We have heard many reasons as to why people resist purchasing insurance coverage of all kinds. Some of the resistance comes from long held notions which people consider to be factual, while others are complete fiction. It seems that most situations, for which we require insurance unless mandated by law, offer us a “choice”. However, experience really is our best teacher and Long Term Care Insurance is no exception. Anyone who has witnessed care for the elderly knows, without a doubt, just how important this coverage can be.

Here are the most common misconceptions which lead people to believe that they don’t need this very important coverage.

  1. I don’t need Long Term Care; my family will take care of me!

This is a very popular notion and one that we hear over and over again. Back in the 1950’s if an elder needed a place to live they often moved in with their children. Today; however, things have become more complicated. Often families have fewer children with the result that the responsibility for parental care may become the job of only one or two siblings assuming they are available, have the finances, the time and the room to take care of their aging parent or relative.

  1. Medicare will pay for whatever I need when I am elderly!

Medicare is not designed to pay for Long Term care costs. According to the Medicare website, “Medicare doesn’t pay for help with activities of daily living or other care which people can do themselves. Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing or home health care if one meets certain specific criteria.”

  1. Medicaid will pay for what I need if I can’t afford to pay!

This is absolutely true! However, in order for someone to qualify for Medicaid they must first meet very stringent guidelines with respect to assets. Basically, they have to prove that they are indigent. Even if you qualify for a Medicaid discount, your family may still wind up kicking in over half the amount of your monthly rent at a skilled nursing facility. Are you aware that in some metropolitan areas monthly nursing home costs are between $10,000 and $15,000 per month?

  1. I can save enough money to take care of myself in my dotage!

Paying from personal savings is one way to cover long term care expenses. However, you should consider the cost of long term care services before relying on “private pay” as a method of funding care. Here are the current national averages for long term care services:

  • $20/hour for a home health aide
  • $61/day for care in an adult day care center
  • $3,270/month for care in an assisted living facility
  • $207/day for a private room in a nursing home
  • $235/day for a private room in a nursing home

We hope that we could clear up some of your questions and uncertainties. We would like you be informed now, rather than when the time comes that you or a loved one needs home care. If we haven’t answered your specific question or concern, please give us a call!

Protecting Your Home for The Winter

house-54585_640All homeowners know that the winter brings severe weather and with it more wear and tear on their homes. In preparation for the coming winter months, what can you do ahead of time to protect your home?

  • Roofs take a beating in the winter, so this is a good time to make sure that shingles are secure, there are no missing roof parts, no bubbles, no missing tiles, holes, leaks, etc. Now is also a great time to get your roof inspected and make any necessary repairs to avoid the unwanted effects of high winds, heavy snows and pounding rainstorms. If you know there are any damage risks, attend to it now so that a small difficulty doesn’t turn into a disaster later on.
  • Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
  • Check leaders and gutters and make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris associated with the Fall season. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Make sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned so that any dead branches or tree overhangs don’t fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Make sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order so that you don’t run the risk of being without heat on those bitter cold days that are sure to come.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and their batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks. A small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
  • Chimneys need to be maintained and cleaned.
  • Make sure you clean out the lint filter in your dryer every time you use it to prevent build-up of lint which is certainly a fire hazard.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.

In short, maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements or a lack of attention. If you are in doubt about how to protect your home, speak to your agent. “An ounce of prevention” is surely worth your time so we urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home.  Good luck and stay warm this winter!

Long-Term Care Awareness Month

1905_enews-feature-graphicNovember is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. Isn’t it smart to plan for our”Golden Years?” After all, we are an aging population and chances are we will live well into our 80’s, 90’s or even longer. Without proper planning for ever-increasing medical and housing expenses, all the assets we have worked so hard to protect all these years will be at risk…. of disappearing!

What is Long Term Care?

Let’s start by briefly reviewing, It includes a range of services (in your home or in a facility) to assist you if, and when you suffer the ill effects of aging such as chronic or prolonged illness or disability leaving you unable to perform certain “Activities of Daily Living” for an extended period of time. These illness/disabilities can include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, cancer, or just a bad accident. The daily activities I am referring to are bathing, walking, eating, getting dressed, etc.  Statistically it is a fact that, 70% of people who reach age 65 will require long term care services at some point in their lives.

The best time to start planning…

… is between the ages of 40-60 when your health is good and premiums are lower. People often ask “how much does LTC insurance cost?” That is entirely up to how much coverage you buy, how your policy is designed, your age and health when you apply. It is suggested that you review the current cost of care in the area where you expect to retire, estimate the number of years you would want your coverage to last and then target an amount of money you would need to help pay for long term care expenses.

LONG TERM CARE

In addition, keep in mind, a LTC policy is only as expensive as you make it. Incorporating flexibility into the design and product features enables the coverage to be affordable and within most budgets.

Do not be fooled into thinking that your medical insurance or government programs are designed to pay for any or all of your long term care needs/expenses. Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing care while Medicaid only covers those whose assets are at or below state-required levels. None of these programs provide coverage for care in your own home.

The first step is up to you. Call your trusted professional independent insurance agent today to get the LTC planning process started.

Winter Is Coming… Call Your Insurance Agent

brace-yourselfWinter is coming… and we have all been a witness to what snow, ice, and freezing can do to your properties. 

Harsh winters, and the number of traffic accidents, slips and falls, frozen pipes and other winter related losses are contributing to an escalating numbers of insurance claims.

In personal insurace, many claims involved auto accidents, roof damage, and homes inundated with water due to pipes bursting. High winds have caused broken windows and loss of shingles while the weight of ice and snow has caused extensive roof damage.

In the commercial arena, claims have come from frozen sprinkler pipes bursting, fires emanating from the use of space heaters, and business interruption claims resulting from covered losses making business offices uninhabitable.

We suggest that now is a great time to meet with your insurance agent to review your current policies and ask these questions:
• What coverages are afforded by your current policies?
• What coverages are excluded by your current policies and what is the cost to include these coverages by adding them?
• What steps can I take once a loss has occurred to keep my possessions from further damage?

Here are some ways that may help you minimize your exposure to a loss:
• Timely and proper car maintenance;
• Keeping up with Repairs and maintenance to your home or business;
• Routinely surveying what in your office or home needs to be replaced;
• Winterizing your second home
• Have a caretaker available to check your primary and/or vacation homes or offices while you are away
• Evaluate your business income exposure on an annual basis
• And should a loss occur, be sure to call your insurance agent immediately and ask for help to keep damage at a minimum and protect your property from further loss.

This year some of the claim scenarios are more serious than usual. So take advantage of your agent’s expertise and resources —-after all they are here to help you navigate through the good times as well as the more challenging ones.