Monday, June 24, 2013
The sweet spot for looking into long term care insurance is between age 54 and age 64 according to the head of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
“Identifying an age bracket will encourage more consumers start the process of thinking about ways to plan for their future risk of needing long term care,” declares Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance. “And, there are many reasons why the decade between your mid-50s and mid-60s is the ideal time.”
The national long term care insurance expert was sharing the importance of planning. “Let’s start with why we recommend starting prior to turning 65,” Slome shared. “At age 65 people qualify for Medicare which qualifies them for a variety of health screens and tests. These tests often identify conditions that will disqualify them for long term care insurance and could well be the conditions that heighten their need for future care.”
As a result, Slome admonished consumers to look into long term care insurance prior to applying for Medicare. “Your health when you apply is far more important than many people know,” Slome advised. “Some insurers today will not accept you if you have previously been declined by another insurer; so if you have some conditions or take more than basic prescription medications, it is vital to shop your health.”
Slome advises working with a knowledgeable long term care insurance specialist appointed with between four and six insurers. “If I needed surgery, I’d want a surgeon who had performed the operation successfully a hundred times before and knew everything about the various techniques,” Slome shared. “A specialist will know the acceptable health conditions required by each insurer as well as the all-important small print contained in their contracts”
A common mistaken belief held by consumers is the belief that going direct to an insurance company will save money. “Insurers do not sell long term care insurance directly to consumers and visiting their website will only connect you with someone they know favors their particular policy,” Slome concluded. “That may be the best option for you but it really pays to work with a specialist who has less of a bias and more of your interest in mind.”
Monday, June 17, 2013
Confusion regarding many protections and beneficial options provided to those who purchase long term care insurance arise following major news stories.
“A recent article in The New York Times has generated an increase in the number of calls from consumers who already purchased or may be interested in purchasing long term care insurance,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
The executive addressed a concern regarding the “alternate plan of care” benefit. The benefit provides insurers with a degree of optional flexibility that can benefit both the insurer as well as the policyholder. The Times story noted that an insurer was no longer honoring those provisions.
Slome pointed to comments shared by Phyllis Shelton, author of Protecting Your Family With Long-Term Care Insurance. Shelton noted that the alternate plan of care is a wonderful and important addition to any policy. But like many good things in life, it has been abused and sometimes misrepresented by well-meaning people who didn’t understand it.
“Alternate plan of care is intended to make a way contractually for a long-term care insurance carrier to pay outside the contract when it is cost-effective and makes sense medically for the patient,” Shelton notes. ”The lawyer quoted in this article is incorrect in his statement when he says this provision wasn’t sold in a way that said the insurance company has the right to approve how this provision is used. The policy language is very clear that the insurance company, the doctor and the family must agree on how this provision is used. It was never intended to provide extensive home care benefits to someone who just purchased a facility-only policy."
The provision has been used to pay for new services that come along, for example care in an assisted living facility from a policy that was sold to pay only for care provided in a skilled nursing home. Shelton noted her experience with a long-term care insurance carrier that utilized the alternate plan of care provision to buy a blind woman a seeing eye dog for $3,000 that allowed her to stay home while her daughter was working.
“We commend The Times for its continued efforts to cover important issues and the article did report the Association’s information regarding the $6.6 billion in claims paid last year,” Slome acknowledged. “You won’t see articles about the 264,000 people who were paid benefits last year and how that helped their lives and their families, so we hope that’s a story the long-term care insurance industry will tell.”
Monday, June 10, 2013
Obamacare will not impact long term care planning and makes no changes to long term care insurance.
According to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a national trade group, consumers have the mistaken belief that Obamacare changes taking effect in 2014 will do everything from mandate insurers accept all new long term care insurance applicants to the mistaken belief that Medicare will now pay for all costs related to long-term care.
“We now regularly receive calls from consumers asking what companies will offer long term care insurance starting next year to those who already have been diagnosed with serious health issues or Alzheimer’s,” Slome explains. “Obamacare does not change long term care insurance and insurers will continue to require that applicants meet health standards prior to being accepted for coverage.”
The national long term care insurance expert also notes that consumers calling the Association’s headquarters in Los Angeles have the mistaken belief that in 2014 Medicare will be expanded to cover long term care benefits. “A Congressional commission has been formed to examine all options and issue a report but right now there are no changes and none likely to happen for many years, if then,” Slome adds. “In fact, the debate about curtailing Medicare and Medicaid expenditures will likely heat up as part of the 2016 Presidential election so talk of cuts in benefits and increases in taxpayer contributions is far more likely a future outcome.”
Slome advised individuals in their 50s and 60s to start thinking about long term care planning. “Chances are you are going to live a long life and that will entail needing long term care at some point,” he declares. “Your 50s and 60s are the sweet spot when you have the most time to build a plan which may or may not include long-term care insurance.”
Monday, June 3, 2013
The cost of long term care insurance can be reduced by as much as 40 percent annually merely by selecting a longer deductible period.
According to an American Association for Long Term Care Insurance analysis of policies offered by leading insurers, the selection of a deductible period, technically referred to as the Elimination Period, plays a significant role in determining the cost of long term care insurance protection.
The trade group studied costs for policies purchased by a typical couple where both spouses are age 55. Selecting a 90-day deductible period reduced yearly premium costs between 12 and 15 percent according to the AALTCI report. Longer deductible periods, the study found, can reduce yearly costs by as much as 35-to-40 percent.
“To lower costs of our car, home and even our health insurance many people select a deductible,” explains Jesse Slome, one of the nation’s leading long-term care insurance experts. “They understand that if a claim occurs, they will have to pay some of the cost before their insurance kicks in and they have savings and other forms of income which they can access.”
Slome notes that too many consumers believe long term care insurance needs to pay for what he calls ‘first dollar – last dollar coverage’. “When they see how these ‘pay every possible claim’ policies cost, they are shocked and decide that all long-term care insurance is too expensive.”
The trade group advocates considering a co-insurance approach to long term care insurance planning. “It’s likely you can afford to pay 90-days of claims especially since many involve just nominal amounts of care,” Slome says. “Selecting a 90-day deductible compared to a 30-day deductible will reduce your annual cost by 12-to-15 percent.”
According to the study, selecting a 365-day deductible versus a 30-day time frame will reduce the cost by as much 40 percent. “A one year deductible is not permitted in all states and both the premiums and savings vary from one long term care insurance company to another,” Slome adds.