Monday, April 29, 2013

Long Term Care Insurance May Pay Family Caregivers

The vast majority of care provided to aging parents is provided by an adult child, typically a daughter or daughter-in-law. Most care is unpaid but certain types of long term care insurance will pay benefits when a family member provides care.

“A growing number of older Americans who need long term care have adult children who are able and willing to provide care,” explains Jesse Slome, executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. ”They will take time off from their job or even resign creating a financial hardship for their own family or a significant reduction in their pension, Social Security benefits or savings.”

The expert shared with consumers that long term care insurance may pay for care provided by an adult child. “Not all policies will pay for a family member to care for you, so if this is something you desire, you must specifically ask if the policy offers this benefit,” Slome adds.

“Not all insurance companies offer this option which and policies with this benefit may cost a bit more,” Slome explained to the audience. “However, if it is important to have a policy that will actually pay a family member to provide some of your care, you must make sure the policy permits this option before you apply.” The national long term care insurance expert explained that insurance agents not able to sell policies with this option won’t bring up this aspect of the conversation. “If this is something you think you might want, you must ask the question,” Slome noted.

Between ages 55 and 64 is the ideal time to investigate long term care insurance options according to Slome. “That is the sweet spot because your health is the single most important factor insurers look for,” he notes. “After one qualifies for Medicare, those wonderful free health screens may just uncover a condition that may make you uninsurable.”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Worker Shortage Won’t Impact Long Term Care Insurance Owners

Projected labor shortages may affect nursing homes and may make in-home care more competitive but those with long term care insurance won’t be impacted predicts the director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

“The Wall Street Journal reported this week that as baby boomers enter old age, nursing homes will face a serious labor shortage,” explains Jesse Slome, AALTCI’s executive director. “Their current workforce is old and beginning to retire and finding and keeping workers who will accept minimum wage is difficult at best.”

Slome was speaking to consumers about the importance of long-term care planning and benefits of long term care insurance. “There are about 40 million Americans currently over age 65, but that number is projected to reach 73 million by 2030,” Slome shared. “The vast majority have no plan in place and will rely on whatever government and charity programs will exist at that time.”

According to U.S. government estimates, the growing population of elderly will require five million direct-care workers in 202. “That’s nearly 50 percent more than the current workforce,” Slome shared. “Nursing homes will do their best but how much quality can you provide when workers demand more and government programs pay less. The formula just adds up to poorer quality for those who can not afford to pay themselves.”

Slome refers to long term care insurance as today’s ‘nursing home avoidance’ protection. “Insurance provides you with the ability to receive care at home and avoid going to a nursing home,” Slome adds. “Medicaid, the government’s program for the poor will be sending more people to nursing homes and then limiting the payments. If you want options to avoid that situation, start saving now or have some insurance to help pay part of the costs for home care. ”

The Association recommends a “Good, Better, Best” approach to long term care insurance protection. “Good coverage may only pay half the cost with you paying the rest from Social Security or savings,” Slome explained. “But you’ll be able to get better care and access to workers when you have the ability to pay, and that’s an advantage those without long term care insurance will not enjoy.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weiss Long Term Care Insurance Ratings Misses Mark

Weiss Ratings recommendations of long term care insurance companies missed the mark according to one of the nation’s leading experts.

“Consumers today are aware of the importance of financial strength of the insurance company they select,” explains Jesse Slome, executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “It is unfortunate when information provided only creates added confusion.”

Slome was sharing thoughts with Florida-based insurance professionals as part of his regular long term care insurance industry update. “Weiss Ratings issues financial strength ratings on more than 19,000 institutions each quarter,” Slome acknowledged to the agents. “Their list of 21 recommended long-term care insurance is primarily composed of companies that no longer offer this important protection so any consumer using it will be highly frustrated.” The Weiss recommendations were published April 4, 2013. “They do acknowledge that insurers may no longer be offering coverage but when the majority of your listing are no longer in the marketplace, that will lead to consumer confusion,” Slome added.

The Weiss Ratings recommended long-term care insurance companies included Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, examples of two companies that have not offered long term care insurance for many years. The report also sites State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Physicians Mutual, two companies that have more recently announced they are ceasing sales on a nationwide or specific state basis, Slome shared.

“There are about a dozen companies today offering long-term care insurance protection, ” Slome shared. Leading providers include John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha and Transamerica.”

Slome recommend that insurance professionals gain a comprehensive understanding and ability to help counsel and advise individuals. “Financial strength of an insurer is of course important but far more important is being able to provide an objective cost-and benefit analysis after comparing multiple insurers,” Slome noted.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Importance Of Long Term Care Insurance Specialist Grows

Significant changes have taken place over the past few years that will benefit those who specialize in long term care planning and offer a variety of long term care insurance solutions according to an industry expert.

“Things change and when it comes to long term care planning, we are seeing important changes that will benefit those who specialize,” noted Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The head of the national trade group was addressing insurance professionals who market long term care solutions.

“Consumers with health issues today recognize the benefit of getting advice from a medical specialist who focuses on a specific, very narrow field,” Slome noted. “Today, the nuances between not just long-term care insurance products but the different options such as hybrid life insurance products are changing the landscape.” Slome noted an increase in calls from consumers whose financial advisor recommended a hybrid life insurance product that also provided a long term care potential benefit.

“Spending between $50,000 and $100,000 per-person is not a casual expenditure for many and an increasing number of consumers are calling the Association to determine if this really is their best option,” Slome reports. “We explain that the best option addresses both their current financial situation and approach to planning and that they may want to take a more comprehensive review which really can only be done by an knowledgeable specialist with knowledge of both options.”

With that in mind, Slome encouraged insurance professionals gain knowledge of all approaches. “The ideal medical professional understand not just drugs but non-traditional approaches to healthy lifestyles and treatment of conditions,” Slome shared with the group. “The future will belong to long term care insurance experts who are specialists offering all options and solutions to individuals. One option, one insurance policy really has never been the best option and in the Internet age it will quickly fade into oblivion,” he predicted.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Added Longevity Increases Importance of Long Term Care Insurance

A new study reports that a female who reaches age 65 is expected to live another 22.7 years an increase from the prior projection of 21.3 years. A male who reaches age 65 is expected to live another 20.5 years up from 19.5 years.

“People are living longer lives and the consequence of longevity is a greater risk of needing long term care,” declares Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. He notes that long term care insurance requires that applicants meet health criteria and that applying prior to age 65 is ideal. “The sweet spot we believe is between ages 55 and 65 when you are most likely to health qualify for this protection.”

According to Slome, the average age when people apply for coverage is currently 56. “We advocate a ‘good, better, best’ approach to long term care insurance planning where you factor your financial and personal situation and tailor coverage to meet your needs and budget,” Slome explains. According to the 2013 Long Term Care Insurance Price Index just released by the organization, a 60-year old couple can expect to pay from $1,800 to about $3,500 a year depending on how much benefit dollars they want access to.”

The longevity projection comes from a Society of Actuaries report issued recently, the first update to their mortality projections since 2000. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance provides support to insurance professionals and publishes the annual long term care insurance Sourcebook containing extensive industry research.