Category Archives: Long Term Care

Understanding the Need to Prepare for Long Term Care

older-couple-ipadMuch like death or disability, thinking about a potential long term care event is difficult. It is critical to the financial, physical and emotional well-being of your family to put a financial plan in place prior before you require medical assistance. It may be difficult to anticipate what could happen in the future. Tending to long term care costs sooner than later ensures that you and those you love will not feel the financial burden if that time does come.

In the event that you are plagued with a physical impairment or chronic illness, you may need to rely on long term care. You may also require long term care if you experience a decline in intellect and require ongoing care, supervision, and assistance completing life’s daily tasks.

These are conditions that can be medicated, yet not cured. Ailments and diseases that fall under this category include the following:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Brain Tumors
  • Strokes
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

older-couple-drinks

Long term care provides the necessary attention for you while in need, at the same time lessening the burden on your family to step in and provide it instead.

Your children may feel obligated to take care of you, in turn allowing their own life goals to be placed on the back burner.  This sacrifice often takes a severe emotional and physical toll on a loved one to provide care while juggling all the other obligations they have. Having to reallocate your own funds (or those of your family) may also limit your ability to take care of other financial responsibilities.

When opting to purchase life insurance, you may do so in order to protect your family in the event of an unexpected death. Long term care insurance can be looked at with the same regard.

Long Term Care insurance can be purchased as a stand-alone policy that provides funds for extended care costs or as part of a Permanent Life policy. The death benefit here can be accessed for a qualified Long Term Care event prior to the insured’s death. If you become frail and require extended care services, the benefits from a Long Term Care policy can be accessed if the insured requires assistance in the six activities of daily living.

These are defined as:

          • Eating
          • Dressing
          • Bathing
          • Toileting
          • Continence
  • Transferring (getting in and out of bed, chair, etc.)

The benefits may also be accessed if you have a cognitive condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s that requires supervision to prevent harming yourself or others. Long Term Care insurance provides funds when the family needs it the most.

We encourage you to review this information carefully so that you can make good choices now that will keep you and your family feeling safe and cared for later on in your life.  Contact us today to help you consider your best options.

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!

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.

The Difference Between Life Insurance And Long Term Care

inflation_chart_500x357In order to understand the need for Long Term Care (LTC)Insurance, it is helpful to understand what Long term care involves and how differently men and women might think about this subject.

Long Term Care is necessary when an individual needs assistance with two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL). These activities include, but are not limited to, bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting. Nursing/Rehabilitation Centers do offer this type of care, but some individuals would prefer to remain at home. Some LTC policies allows a person the benefit of being helped with such activities in the comfort of their own home or in a skilled nursing setting . There is, however, some debate on the necessity for Long Term Care insurance as we have learned that men and women view the need for this coverage very differently. Below is a typical excerpt from a conversation between an aging couple.

EMILY: We need to think about the purchase of LTC Insurance; I’m almost 65 years old and will most likely need daily assistance in the future. I see that some of my friends already need such assistance.

JOHN: Long Term Care Insurance!!! What is this insurance ? I’ve never heard of that one! I have Life Insurance. Why do we need yet another type of insurance?

EMILY: It’s been around for a lot of years. It’s just like you to tune out to facts you don’t want to know about! Your Life insurance will help me with expenses after you die! LTC insurance will help pay for our continuing care while you and I are alive.

JOHN: Do you mean I will have to pay you to care for me? I Thought it was a given that you would care for me if and when I’m unable to do things for myself.

EMILY: No Silly, but what if I die before you… what if I’m not physically able to care for you…what about my care after you die…?

JOHN: What about our kids…? They will care for us.

EMILY: I would never dream of that! That would only make them despise us. Time spent caring for us means time away from their jobs, their homes and their own families. Also, it would mean a loss of income if they had to take off time from their jobs. Before you know it we’ll have real family problems!

JOHN: Okay, we know that you will outlive me, so my life insurance will take care of you after I’m gone.

EMILY: So $50,000.00 will be enough to cover all my expenses for the rest of my life? What will I use to pay for the expenses if I need long term care?

JOHN: And why not? That’s more -than- enough for you.

EMILY: In my family the women live well into their eighties. For how long can $50,000.00keep me going? Don’t forget that we still have a bit remaining on the mortgage, monthly utility bills will still be due, and by that time, who knows what they would cost? What do you imagine Long Term Care will cost at that time, whether it is in our house or in a facility?

VOICE OF REASON IN JOHN’S HEAD: Aren’t women supposed to make decisions based on emotions rather that reasoning? She sure put a lot of reasoning into this!

EMILY: You know this is something we need to look into. How can we get more information on LTC? Maybe our Life Insurance Agent has more information. Who knows, perhaps there’s some sort of rider that can be added to our existing policies.

JOHN: EM, I have to give you credit, you do put forth a strong argument, and you seem to have given this quite a lot of thought. Maybe Long Term Care Insurance is worth taking a look at.

– Narima Prashad

November is Long Term Care Awareness Month

longtermMany of us don’t insure anything that doesn’t have a dollar value. We insure cars, houses, diamond rings etc., so why is it that we don’t insure ourselves?
We are our most valuable asset.
Most of us do not think about death or long term care. Questions and thoughts such as these we tend to “sweep under the rug”:
• What happens when a loved one needs care in a nursing facility or passes away pre-maturely?
• What impact will either of those events have on our families?
• Will the kids take care of a parent?
• Will the parent move in with the kids?
• Do we want our parents or grandparents in a state run institution?
As an insurance agent, I know the answers to these questions….. My goal is to help you see an affordable solution to the answers.
I understand Long Term Care insurance isn’t something we want to spend money on. Often what I hear from my clients is: “What if I don’t ever use the benefit – I will be throwing the money away?”. When I am asked my personal opinion about Long Term Care Insurance, I passionately say this: “I don’t want to be a burden to my kids, and I really don’t want to spend my older years being dependent on the State. If I don’t need my Long Term Care Policy and I die peacefully in my sleep than I did right by my family”.
Doing nothing is not an answer. It will have a higher cost then any premium you may pay.
Let’s examine the Cost of Care:
Depending on where you live and the type of care that you require, long-term care expenses can exceed $75,000 per year. (1) In some states, that cost of care can be much higher. At these rates, the choice to self-insure can be very challenging. A common misconception among people without Long Term Care Insurance is that government health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid will cover these costs. While Medicare provides limited coverage for nursing home and home care services, it is designed to pay for the treatment of acute, short-term illness — not ongoing care associated with Activities of Daily Living, (2) such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Simply put, Medicare affords very limited nursing home and home care services.. Medicaid, a different program entirely, may cover ongoing costs associated with long-term care. However, it requires that recipients meet strict asset and income eligibility criteria, and care is restricted to Medicaid-approved services and facilities.

So by now you might be thinking to yourself: “What if I don’t use the insurance? All that money will go to waste.” ……. Not so!

In last month’s blog, I covered the need for Life Insurance. If we all can agree that our lives should be insured, then I can show you there is a way to insure our lives and pay for Long Term Care as well.

Did you add an Accelerated Death Benefit Rider to your permanent life policy when you purchased it? What this offers you is in the event that you are diagnosed as terminally ill, you will be allowed to take an advanced payment of a portion of your death benefit to pay for medical expenses or long-term care. If you keep your policy in-force, but you do not use your long-term care protection, although you have paid the rider charge for the option to accelerate the death benefit, you haven’t spent decades paying premiums for a policy that never pays any benefit at all. Additionally, if you begin collecting monthly benefits under the Accelerated Death Benefit Rider, but do not receive the full death benefit of your policy, the remaining death benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries at your death.
There you have it -the best of worlds: Life insurance and LTC rolled into one!

Richard Montenegro, Jr.
Managing Partner
FIS Marketing, LLC
3900 Veterans Memorial Highway
Suite 251 (Field Office)
Bohemia, NY 11716
Cell: 631-312-6344
Fax: 585-625-0318
www.FISMarketing.net
www.facebook.com/FISMarketing
http://www.linkedin.com/in/richmontenegro

1. Gross, Jane. “How Medicare Fails the Elderly.” The New York Times, October 15, 2011.
2. As defined in the Internal Revenue Code Section 7702B.

Be Aware, of Long Term Care

Longtermcare2

When I was in my early 50’s, my mother became extremely disoriented and could no longer live alone in her house. The woman who I had never thought of as “old” suddenly needed more care than my sister and I could give her. After much angst, the decision was made to introduce her to residence in an assisted living facility and, for my mother, it was truly the ‘way back’ to civilization. In her own house, my mother had become very non-verbal, didn’t get dressed and rarely even got out of bed most days. After only one week in an assisted living facility she was participating in everything they had to offer and thoroughly engaged socially with the other residents. My mother didn’t have long term care, but she had enough money to keep her in that facility for eight years until she died in 2009 at the age of 94. She was fortunate and I got the message loud and clear. I ran right out and applied for long term care for both my husband and myself

Fast forward to 2011, when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, after 9 years of caring for him as his health continued to deteriorate, I was forced to look at my options for the coming year. Yes, he and I had applied for long term care, but his health precluded him from being accepted by any company selling the product. As for me, I was issued a policy and obtained a 20% discount because we had applied together.

Because my husband didn’t qualify for this coverage I am now paying $3,350 per month to keep him safe and warm in an assisted living facility. This is what it costs if you are forced to pay privately. Yes, there is always Medicaid,
however, few facilities even entertain residents whose sole means of payment is via Medicaid. In addition, for Medicaid eligibility there is a 5 year look back and extensive rules governing what assets you are allowed to keep. Truly a nightmare for someone in the midst of a family crisis.

At a time when the family is in an emergency situation due to the rapidly declining health of a loved one, the last thing they want to contend with is extensive paperwork, numerous rules and regulations and worrying about how they will be able to pay for the care their loved one so desperately needs.

Why not speak to a knowledgeable insurance agent today regarding how to go about obtaining this valuable coverage? It certainly pays to be prepared prior to a calamity than be to find oneself ineligible in the midst of disaster. It is said that “if you have your health you have everything.” Yes, including the ability to qualify for long term care insurance! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by applying for this invaluable coverage today.