Nationally known expert in long term health care planning, Matt McCann is interviewed.
Announcer: And without further ado, Aging Info Radio and your host, Sue Zawacki.
Sue: My guest is Matt McCann. He is your long-term care insurance man and, as we move right on down the road, Matt is definitely going to give us his expertise. He is recognized as a leading, long-term care insurance specialist. And since 1998, Matt McCann has been a national leader in finding solutions for the physical, emotional and financial burdens long-term care places on the American family. Welcome, Matt, to Aging Info Radio.
Matt: Where is this guy? Man, he sounds important or something, gee.
Sue: Matt, you know what? I really want to acknowledge you for something. I think it's great that you have taken...the insurance industry offers so many products and there are many brokers that sell a lot of different products, but you are focused in on an area that is so needed. And until people really recognize the need for it, a lot of people think, "Well, I'm pretty well covered and I've got what I need." That's not the case.
Matt: No, that's not the case. And they are actually very few people in the industry that focus on long-term health care. When we talk about long-term health care and it's something like, "Oh, gee. That's gonna happen sometime when I'm old," you hope. But it doesn't always happen when we're old and, unfortunately, most insurance agents, or a brokers, or even financial advisors really have no clue to the understanding of how these products work, how they're under-written or how they even get used to the time to claim. And that's, you know, that's really sad considering that most of us know someone that's needed long-term health care. And many times, the impact on families is absolutely huge.
Sue: It can be at any age too, any age or any stages in life. Usually, after 50, as most of the policies that you write today.
Matt: Most of the people I talk to are in their 40s and 50s. They do this as part of retirement planning because, when we look at what we do to prepare for retirement, we put money in 401ks or in IRAs, or if we're self-employed into SEP accounts. We're trying to do everything we can to have an enjoyable retirement. But when we look at the involuntary risks that can really impact the savings and investment, the income that's gonna be produced by that hard-earned money that you earned on your life, there's only one thing that most people forget and that's the risk of long-term health care. And we all think, "Gee, that's not gonna happen to me. It's gonna to happen to the guy across the street." Well, the guy across the street is thinking the exact same thing, but the reality, as you mentioned, is that if you reach the age of 65 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say you have a 70%...think of this, you have a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term health care in your lifetime. Now, if I told you Sue, that you had a 70% chance of winning the lottery, would you drop everything and go buy a lottery ticket?
Sue: A few.
Matt: You'd probably buy two, or three or more. That's a huge number. The advances in medical science have allowed us all to live longer, we survive health events and accidents like never before. Think about this, just think it, you're probably my age. You're like, what, 32, right?
Sue: Will keep at that.
Matt: Okay. So, 10, 15, 20 years ago if you had a cancer, you had a heart attack, you had a stroke, what happened?
Sue: How many years ago did you say?
Matt: Fifteen, 20, 25 years ago, what happened?
Sue: Well, a lot of times, you didn't live.
Matt: Absolutely. We didn't survive. Today, we survive these things. And if you don't die...I know this is gonna be...put your thinking caps on here. If you don't die soon, if you don't die, what happens?
Sue: Usually, need care of some type.
Matt: Well, no, no. You don't die, you live.
Sue: Well, of course, yes.
Matt: Okay, all right. Well, let's do it one step at a time.
Sue: But the step in-between there is you may need a little care.
Matt: Bingo. Because if you live, you get old. If you get old, you get sick and feeble, and then you'll need care. And that doesn't count accidents or health events that cause long-term health care well before we get "old," or as I like to say, more mature.
Sue: See, I see the policies from a completely different perspective. With the younger people, you know, 40s, 50s, 60s are building their retirement or their families, really getting financially as stable as they can to have this, almost, as a way if one of the spouses got sick or was injured and they needed homecare, someone to come in. Who's going to pay for that? Health insurance does not pay for that.
Matt: Well, that's a good point, Sue. If you look at health insurance which you have right now as you work, and then Medicare which is health insurance for those 65 and older, they're gonna pay up to 100 days of skilled care. Skilled care is just that, it's skilled medical procedures provided by skilled medical professionals.
Sue: In a skilled facility, I believe.
Matt: You're correct. And only, and only if you're recuperative in nature and you continue to improve. And even if you are all those things, after the days are gone, they're done. It's now out-of-pocket, it's now at your expense. But here's the scary thing, most long-term health care is custodial in nature. So, when we talk about custodial care, we're talking about two things. Activities of daily living, those are the things that we had to learn how to do as an infant, eating, bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, getting up from one place to another. Or we require supervision due to a cognitive impairment. Basically, memory issues.
Sue: Okay. That reminds me, young onset Alzheimer's disease being called YODs, meaning that there are more and more young people being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. This is also a way to help the family, correct? Long-term care insurance.
Matt: Absolutely. And of course, memory issues, you know, there's over 50 different types of memory issues. But long-term health care insurance really is a device to help the family, okay? We can't take care of you if your health has changed, it's changed. The insurance isn't going to change your health. It will, however, help you and your family deal with the physical, emotional and financial burdens that long-term health care creates. One of the things that we talk about that most policies have is something called case management. And what case management does is it will hire a nurse case manager to work with you, your family and your doctor to make recommendations and arrangements for care, and then to monitor your situation on an ongoing basis to make sure the level and quality for care remains appropriate. Now, this isn't managed care, Sue. You don't have to use the help, you don't have to do what's recommended. But one of the biggest burdens with families in a long-term health care situation is just this, typically, it's an adult son or daughter, because the spouse is usually too emotional to do this, that has to find the caregivers, find the facilities, find out about their reputations, make the arrangements all while dealing with the emotional situation that a long-term care situation places on loved ones. These case managers know what your needs are, they know what your preferences and your family's preferences are. They even help negotiate lower cost of care on your behalf. Most of the thank you notes I get with loved ones of a client on claim have to do this part of a policy. It's not just money. Money is important, don't get me wrong. But the emotional and physical burdens of long-term health care is huge. And if you think about your family, in past generations, Sue, who was responsible for long-term health care?
Sue: In past generations who was... You might wanna clue me in on that.
Matt: In past generations, it was typically the daughter or daughter-in-law. And if you think about those generations, for the most part at that time, women did not work outside the home. So, if mom or dad, or in-laws, even grandma and grandpa needed care, they just moved in with the rest of the family. It was difficult, it wasn't easy, but it was manageable. But today, women work outside the home either by choice or by necessity, and life spans, Sue, are longer. So, it's really inconceivable for a daughter, or son or a daughter-in-law to be a caregiver. Plus, most of the people I talked to don't want their last memories of their kids being helping them to the bathroom, into the shower and those types of things. They wanna be loving and supporting not doing that type of thing.
Sue: There's so much to learn about long-term care insurance. Matt McCann is your man. He can be contacted at 866-751-7957. Matt and I are gonna talk more about this. We're gonna find out what Medicaid says about long-term care, and do they care of you, right here on Aging Info Radio.