Because of longevity, retirement planning today now must include protecting assets (401k’s, IRA’s, etc.) from the financial costs and burdens that come with long-term health care. These costs are generally not paid for by health insurance or Medicare.
Getting help with Long-Term Care insurance is not like purchasing home or auto insurance. These policies are custom designed and are more difficult to obtain. There are several types of policies available including traditional, partnership, hybrid, and limited duration policies. Since most insurance agents and financial advisors don't usually have experience with Long-Term Care Insurance, a specialist is better prepared to find you the best coverage at the best value based on your specific age, health, and financial situation.
Getting a Quote By Itself is Meaningless
Too often a consumer will just get a quote or series of quotes. The insurance agent will ask few, if any questions. They will not spend much explaining what the quote means. This means the quote you get is really meaningless.
When you discuss long-term care planning with a specialist they will spend time to ask you very detailed questions about your health, family history, your financial situation, and your overall family concerns. This way they can give you accurate information and not just a guess.
Where Do You Go to Get Accurate Information?
The question is where to go to get accurate information. While some people look to their local insurance agent or financial advisor others go to the internet to obtain information. The problem is most insurance agents and financial planners are not prepared to provide anyone with accurate information since they work very little with these products.
"There are significant differences between Long-Term Care (LTC)Insurance policies, pricing, acceptable health conditions and benefits that few consumers are aware of."
"Every year some 250,000 people shop for LTC insurance protection for the first time."Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI),
Longevity Brings Higher Risk of Long-Term Care
The need for extended long-term health care is growing as medical science allows us to live longer and people survive accidents and health events that they didn't survive just 20 years ago. The US Department of Health and Human Services says if a person reaches the age of 65 they will have a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care service before they die. This doesn’t count many people who require extended care well before they reach age 65. The costs of long-term health care are expensive and most of the cost comes out-of-pocket. That can have a huge impact on savings and create enormous burdens on families.
"Unlike car insurance or even most life insurance policies which are pretty easy to compare, Long-Term Care insurance policies can be quite distinctive. Your first decision is finding an expert who understands the differences and works on your behalf to recommend the best coverage for the least cost from a high-quality company."Jesse Slome
Much of the Information on the Internet Can Be Outdated or Wrong
The internet can give you a tremendous amount of information but the accuracy of the information can be questionable. He says much of the information on the internet is out-of-date or even just incorrect.
Even professional's knowledge may be lacking. Many financial advisors and insurance agents do not understand the underwriting standards which varies from one company to another. Plus, premiums can vary over 100% between companies for the exact same coverage.
Policies often many valuable features and benefits but their knowledge about these features and benefits are very limited. For example, benefits like spouse/partner shared benefit options, inflation options and the power of the federal/state partnership plans which provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection are essential to understand. This is why you should have a specialist help guide you through this process.
If you apply for coverage a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will prepare you properly for the process and take care of issues that often come up with underwriting. If you get rated or declined for coverage a specialist will know how to appeal the decision or find alternative solutions for you to consider.
Finding a Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist?
The AALTCI suggests three questions when seeking to identify Long-Term Care insurance expertise:
- How long has the individual been selling LTC insurance?
"A minimum of three years is suggested, though five or more is going to be better," Slome explains
- How many policies have they sold?
"An Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will have helped at least 100 individuals get coverage, though many will have helped 500 plus," he adds.
Some of the nation's top specialists have helped 8000 or more individuals obtain coverage over the course of their career.
- How many insurance companies does the person represent?
Most important, according to Slome, is determining if the financial advisor or insurance agent is appointed with multiple insurance companies.
"Appointed is insurance jargon which means they can actually sell that company's policy." "Agents are only going to recommend and tell you about policies they can ultimately sell."Jesse Slome
Few True Long-Term Care Insurance Specialists Exist
There are not many Long-Term Care specialists that have this type of experience and generally, you will need to look beyond your neighborhood to discover if this coverage is suitable and to then find the best coverage at the best value.
This means many specialists work with their clients via telephone and the internet making it safe and convenient to get the correct information.
The AALTCI can help guide you to find one of these LTC specialists by visiting the organization's website, www.aaLTCi.org or just click here and find a top specialist.
Planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging is important for you and your family. Generally, you plan prior to retirement to take advantage of low premiums and good health discounts.
Your Closest Long-Term Care Specialist is Probably Not Local
Most likely the most qualified specialist will not even be in your state but neither is the insurance company so it really doesn't matter. Unless you plan on dropping by and having coffee with the person, your best advice will come from an experienced, qualified Long-Term Care specialist. Most of these top specialists help consumers on the phone and through the internet without your need to ever go to an office. Most insurance companies use electronic applications which makes it easier and reduces paper waste and improves security. When you find a specialist be sure they ask you very detailed questions about your health, your family history, your financial situation and future (or current) retirement plans. If they don’t spend a considerable amount of time discussing these areas you should be suspicious. Experts say underwriting rules are very specific but differ from company to company. Plus, you might qualify for discounts with one company and not another.
Start Your Research with the Cost of Care Calculator
Start your research by finding your state on the LTC NEWS MAP. The cost of care calculator will show you the current and future average cost of long-term care services and supports in the area where you live. You will also see available tax incentives and the availability of partnership plans in your state which provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. Just click here to start your research.
You can find a qualified Long-Term Care Specialist by clicking here.
Using a specialist will give you and your family additional peace-of-mind knowing you made the right decisions today for proper planning for tomorrow.