Monday, March 31, 2014
A long term care insurance information campaign focused on the over 9.6 million Americans worth $1 million or more was called for today.
“The number of Americans worth over $1 million has increased 24 percent increase over the past four years.,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, a national trade group. “Individuals worth between $1 and $5 million would benefit from an understanding of how long term care insurance can benefit their financial and family situation.”
According to a recent report, the number of Americans worth between $1 million and $5 million reached 9.63 million in 2013, up from 7.8 million in 2009. The number of those worth between $5 and $25 million grew to 1.2 million up from fewer than one million in 2009.
Being worth over $1 million is a commendable achievement and many mistakenly believe self-insuring against risks like long term care is the advisable option. “There are reasons why transferring some of the risk with insurance makes both financial and psychological sense,” Slome points out. The long term care insurance expert notes that assets may not be liquid, forcing sale at a less than ideal time.
“Individuals who have acquired significant assets often have plans to leave the funds to family members or a particular church or organization,” the long term care planning expert noted. “Insurance can help keep their financial plans in place but financial benefits are just part of the reason individuals should consider protection.”
Long term care insurance planning for wealthy individuals involves comparing a variety of plan options. “People mistakenly believe all insurance is pretty much the same and nothing could be farther from the truth today,” Slome acknowledges. “If you have assets, you may want to consider a more modest level of insurance that will save you money,” he adds. “If you need care, insurance will pay some of the cost and your personal savings will pay a part but not all. That can make good financial sense.”
Monday, March 24, 2014
An initial series of real examples of ways individuals saved on their long term care insurance have been published long term care insurance cost comparisons from long term care insurance specialist online by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, a national trade group. The organization plans to add one new idea weekly as part of their consumer awareness and educational efforts.
“More Americans are investigating long-term care insurance for the first time and mistakenly think all plans, options and prices are pretty standardized,” declares Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). ”They are shocked to learn how simple it is to overpay for coverage or how by asking the right questions, they can save hundreds of dollars every year.”
As part of the organization’s consumer awareness and education efforts, the Association has added real examples of ways people reduced the cost of their coverage or secured better benefits suited to their particular situation and budget. “Our goal is to give people real examples that they may relate to,” Slome adds. “By reading the explanations a consumer can learn what to look for and what questions to ask.”
The Association plans to add one new real example each week. Many of the examples are provided by long term care insurance specialists. “If you have heart issues you want to consult a cardiologist who specializes,” Slome explains. “Today, your long term care options can be enormously complex and working with a long term care insurance specialist can be beneficial even if all you want is to get a second opinion,” he adds.
The initial situations examine situations where an individual wanted her daughter to provide care. “Two policies appeared to both offer this option but one limited the benefit that would be paid to unlicensed family members,” Slome reports. “Unless you read the insurance policy small print, you’d never know this until you actually file a claim years from now.”
Monday, March 17, 2014
A new online resource dedicated to information on the Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Program was launched today by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
The Partnership is a joint federal-state policy initiative to promote the purchase of private long term care insurance. Available in the majority of states, the Partnership Program is intended to expand access to private long term care insurance policy to pay for long term care services. The program has grown since being introduced initially in four states, California, New York, Connecticut and Indiana.
“The Association has been receiving a number of inquiries by individuals frustrated that no single resource exists where current information regarding approved states is available,” declares Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). ”The Association’s website seemed the perfect resource as thousands of individuals visit the site looking for information.”
An updated list of states is a prominent feature of the new webpage. “We show effective dates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as which states offer policy reciprocity. In addition, a number of Frequently Asked Questions are addressed.
The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance is the national trade organization established to provide consumer information and connect interested consumers with professional long term care insurance specialists. “Some insurance products are commodity products but long term care insurance can be quite complex and working with a knowledgeable specialist is typically the best choice for a consumer,” Slome notes.
Monday, March 10, 2014
The future tax deductibility of long term care insurance premiums is overlooked by millions of working age baby boomers.
“An individual can deduct as much as $4,660 for long term care insurance premiums paid in 2014,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), the national trade group. The maximum amount for 2013 is $4,550. ”During their working years, individuals rarely qualify for the long term care insurance tax deduction. After retirement, qualifying is typically easier.”
The Internal Revenue Service considers tax-qualified long term care insurance premiums a medical expense for individuals. The yearly maximum amount depends on the insured’s attained age at the close of the taxable year. “Someone older than 50 but younger than 60 can deduct up to $1,400 ($2,800 for a same-age couple),” Slome notes. An individual age 70 or older can include up to $4,660 ($9,320 for a same-age couple). The amounts are indexed for inflation and increase each year.
“During your working years, it’s hard to take advantage of the long term care insurance tax deduction,” Slome admits. “Your salary or self-employed income makes meeting the IRS-required threshold (to deduct medical expenses) difficult.” Only 22 percent of the 10.4 million tax returns filed by individuals between 55 and 65 who itemized deductions in 2011 had medical and dental expenses in excess of the limitation.
After retirement age the reverse is true. “Your salary income drops or disappears completely making it far more likely you’ll be deducting medical expenses,” Slome shares. IRS data validates that nearly 60 percent of the 8.1 million tax filers age 65+ who itemize deductions had medical expenses in excess of the limitation.
“After retirement owning long term care insurance can help lower your tax bill,” Slome says. “But, it’s best to obtain this coverage prior to retirement because the costs are lower and you are more likely to meet health qualification requirements,” the expert adds. “The ‘Buy Now – Deduct Later‘ strategy secures your protection. The future tax deduction is an extra benefit for your post-retirement years.”