November is Long Term Care Awareness month, so ask yourself, “what do you know about long term care insurance?” Unfortunately, some of our clients and prospects hold certain misconceptions or may even have an unfavorable opinion of long term care insurance, largely stemming from issues related to its early days of limited benefits or the seemingly endless round of rate increases. There isn’t much we can do about the economy that seems to drive the rate increases, but we can discuss the myriad of options that focus on flexible long term care solutions. A long term care plan built the right way just might slow the risk of future rate increases. Let’s take a look at what is available in long term care insurance today. 1. The client decides where care is received. One of the most common myths is that long term care insurance only provides nursing home care, (that is so 1980) and nothing is further from the truth. Coverage today provides home care for those who prefer to remain in their home and have care brought to them. Other options of care can be adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and hospice centers. 2. Benefits can be flexible. In addition to options for where care is received, most long term care insurance policies offer greater flexibility in the types of services available, such as home modifications like installing grab bars or a wheelchair ramp to help you stay at home longer and safer. Meal preparation, errand services, and respite care are all now common benefits found in today’s products. 3. It supports family caregivers. Long term care insurance recognizes the important role family caregivers play in long term care. The vast majority of care being provided today is done by family members. Benefit options make it easier for families to care for their loved ones right in their own home. Most policies provide caregiver training for family members, which helps ensure care recipients are getting the best care possible. 4. It offers Shared Coverage for couples. Many long term care insurance policies offer an optional benefit rider commonly known as “shared care,” which allows couples to share their coverage and maximize their benefits while keeping the cost of coverage lower. This provides couples with peace of mind knowing that their coverage will be there if care is needed for longer than expected, and it is not a benefit that is lost if one of the insureds passes away. Remaining benefits are transferred to the surviving spouse or partner. 5. It’s not “just for older people.” While it’s a critical part of retirement planning and important protection for later years, the younger the clients are when they apply for long term care insurance, the better. Age and health are two of the most important factors when applying for coverage, so applying at a younger age will help make it more affordable, and likely more insurable from a health perspective. With November being Long Term Care Awareness Month, I encourage you to learn more about long term care insurance and why it’s a critical piece of retirement planning for your client. Your clients just might be glad you did.
Finding the right formula for each client Not all extended care riders on life insurance policies are created equally. Do you know the differences? Different combinations will appeal to different clients more than others. Here are eight of the major distinguishing features among insurance companies offering extended care riders. All include some combination of the eight elements. This allows you to find the right formula for each client.
Element 8 – Inflation
While inflation protection is common on traditional LTC policies, it is not commonly found on extended care riders. Some insurance companies do give clients the option to increase their monthly coverage at rates including 3% or 5% simple or compound interest, but this is rare. How else can we match the increasing benefit commonly found on LTC policies? One way to approximate the increase is to use an increasing death benefit option on a universal life policy. The death benefit (and corresponding extended care benefit) is the initial death benefit plus the accumulated cash value. The increase depends upon both the amount of money placed into the policy and the performance of the index account or the dividends declared by the company. An increase in death benefit equals an increase in extended care benefits. Another option to increase the benefit amount would be use the Federal per diem amount as the monthly payout. With the per diem option, the client’s monthly benefit is equal to the current Federal per diem benefit amount ($340/day in 2016). The amount has traditionally been increased by the Federal government an average of 4% per year. Although not guaranteed, this could mimic inflation protection. Keep in mind, the per diem monthly benefit does not increase the total amount of money available for extended care, just the monthly amount.
|Premium Payments||Benefit Qualification||Benefit Amount|
|Pf Payment Frequency||Pa Payment Amount|
|Lg Lapse Guarantee||Tc Tax Code||Pm Payment Method|
|Wp Waiver of Premium||Ep Elimination Period||If Inflation|