Episode: Long Term Care Finding the Right Agent to Find You the Best Cost
Long Term Care Insurance can vary in coverage, cost and underwriting. The head of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance discusses how to find the right agent to make LTCi affordable and part of your retirement plan.
Shopping and looking for longterm care insurance can be a daunting and confusing task. The products are different and so are the agents. This brief video, we'll share some information on how to find the best one. Hello, my name is Jesse Slome and since 1998 I've served as executive director for the American Association for Longterm Care Insurance. We're a trade organization. We don't sell insurance products. We advocate and we educate both consumers and insurance professionals. After watching this video, if you have questions or you'd like to be connected with a longterm care insurance agent, please call us. We'll only be too glad to help.
So I've been studying longterm care insurance products for 20, 25 years and I will tell you more than ever, there can be significant differences between the different companies' policies. The policy features are different, the benefits are different, the choices are different, the options and discounts can be different and the pricing can be different. And as you can see from this slide, while most media articles typically talk about the average and every year we do a price index because the media loves averages. But when putting together an average, there is always a low priced company and a high priced company. And here's the interesting point. The company that has the lowest price doesn't have the lowest prices for all ages, all types of categories of products, et cetera. The company that has the highest price, they also don't always have the highest price. And the difference, as you can see here, just for a 55 year old male, can almost be twice the difference between the low and the high.
So as you can see, that difference is consistent with couples as well. A couple could pay $1 685 or $2 813 for virtually the same coverage, a 67% difference. But the other important point is suitability. How to get the right amount of coverage that suits your needs and your available budget today and going forward into the future. Our organization advocates what I call a good, better, best approach to longterm care planning. It's like buying a seat on an airplane. On the same airplane, lots of people are flying in coach because that's certainly suitable and affordable for them and that's good coverage when it comes to longterm care insurance. Some people are flying in business class, they can afford it. They want that little bit of extra amenity, that would be better coverage. Best coverage would be like flying in first-class. There's no right or wrong choice, but working with the right agent to get the right coverage for the right price is the most important decision you're going to make.
And here's why, because unlike other insurance that you can change from one year to the next, you only buy longterm care insurance one time. It almost never pays to switch from one company to the next after you've bought and owned a policy for a few years. So buying it the first time out, you have to make the right decisions and we recommend working with a longterm care insurance specialist. How do you find one? How do you ask the questions to determine if the agent that you're working with really has that level of expertise? I recommend three questions.
The first is, how many years have they been selling longterm care insurance? Certainly at least three. I typically recommend a minimum of five years. It takes that long to really understand the nuances of these products, the health on the writing, and to have relationships with the company so that they can get you the best options. The second question is the number of policies sold in recent years. Many agents will tell you, I've been selling longterm care insurance for 20 years, but maybe they only sell one, two, three, four policies a year. That really doesn't give them sufficient experience. So typically I will tell you a specialist should sell a minimum of 50 policies a year, although many sell into the hundreds.
And the third question to ask is probably the most important. Insurance industry jargon uses the word appointed. Appointed means that the agent can actually sell you the company's product and they're only going to promote or favor a product that they can earn a commission on. If they can't sell it, they certainly can tell you about it, but they are not going to favor it. It's like going to buy a car. If you go onto a Ford dealer's lot, you know you're not going to drive off with a Toyota. With longterm care insurance, you want to ask the agent or the broker how many longterm care insurance companies they are appointed with. A specialist will typically be appointed with three, four, five. Many with seven, eight or nine.
If you're working with an agent that you're comfortable with, terrific. If you're not, or you'd like a second opinion from an endorsed longterm care insurance professional, please call the American Association for Longterm Care Insurance at 818-597-3227 or visit our website and click the request a no obligation quote button. We will connect you with just one specialist. Your name and number will not be sold to dozens of people, it will just be one specialist who will reach out and connect with you. Thanks for watching.