5 Things You May Not Have Known About Long Term Care Insurance

Presented by Michelle Daharsh

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.

Life is Precious and We are Only Here for a Limited Time

Presented by Leonard Berthelsen

Wow, is that a profound statement or what? The loss of a loved one or even an acquaintance brings us back to the stark reality that our time is certainly limited in this world and hopefully we have made the most of it.

Some 20 months ago, I wrote about my very good friend that suffered from Alzheimer’s and that the disease eventually took his life. I have thought about him often over the months and pondered what it would have been like if the disease hadn’t affected him. His children and grandchildren would still have the loving, caring man that he had become. His wife would still have her soul mate and I would still have my dear friend to see each week.

Those 20 months have been difficult, as you can imagine, for his wife as she struggled coping with her loss but yet still needing to live on. My conversations with her continued as she put her life into some kind of order, now being widowed, and insurance was a small part of that conversation. Her husband had long term care insurance and they used it for the 18 months that he needed care. Did it make sense to have her continue with her plan as she had a daughter who could help with any care that may be needed, she asked? I reminded her that she wouldn’t live long enough to ever pay into her long term care plan that would equal the benefits paid out for her husband’s care. If she never used the plan she would at least have the comfort knowing that it was there.

My friend’s wife passed away in mid-October after not surviving open heart surgery. She never used her long-term care plan but I know that she was okay with that. The comfort of knowing that her daughter wouldn’t be burdened with providing care was all the motivation that she needed in making the decision to keep her insurance plan in place.

She led a wonderful life full of joy and successes. Even after her husband’s passing some 20 months ago, she was determined to live life to its fullest. I guess that is all any of us really want.

The Element Advantage – a practical, accessible, and affordable Long Term Care Plan

Presented by Michelle Daharsh

A new long term care solution was introduced to the industry in late June of this year. Designed by Genworth, this plan was built around their flagship product – Privileged Choice Flex 3. The concept of Element is to still offer comprehensive coverage for long term care but make the process for the client easier to understand, requires minimal decisions for them to make, offers an expedited process through underwriting, and is designed to reach more of the middle market with affordable coverage. Element features four preset packages and two decisions to make: determine what level of protection your clients want, and for couples, if the optional Shared Coverage benefit is desired.

The four plans available are the Element 25, 50, 75, and 100. These plans correspond with the coverage maximum dollars available of $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000. These options allow the client to choose the level of coverage that works best with their needs and budgets. The Element plan still includes monthly reimbursement, 1st day home care, inflation protection of 2% compound, waiver of premium and return of premium up to age 65. The belief of selling smaller, easier to understand coverage packages shouldn’t require the same amount of time and effort as fully customized larger plans. With one underwriting category the new business process is expedited, along with minimal additional requirements being used, thus making the policy coverage available faster for you and your client.

The Element brochure is a helpful sales tool to walk a client through the sales process. It includes the prequalification questions, description of the plan, examples of coverage, and monthly premium rates. So if you don’t have access to the internet or quoting software you can still provide your client a monthly price!

Take a look at your book of business and see which of your clients decided against Long Term Care coverage because of premium cost. Maybe Element will be the right fit for them! If you would like the Element Brochure to help you along the way, contact Financial Brokerage at 800-397-9999 and we can provide you that resource!

Overcoming objections in a LTC sale

Presented by Tim Dreher

In my many years of working with Long Term Care insurance, I’m pretty confident that I’ve heard just about every objection there is to hear. Over the next several blog posts, I will focus on what I believe are the three most common objections.

The first objection: “I don’t need Long Term Care insurance. My family will take care of me.”

I’m sure that most people assume that their family will help take care of them should they find themselves in a long term care situation. In most cases their assumptions are probably correct, at least for a short time.

However, I’m also fairly sure that most people haven’t given much thought as to how a long term care situation can, and in most cases, does negatively affect the spouse, children, or other family members providing the care. You, as their advisor, need to discuss the potential physical, financial, and emotional toll that many caregivers suffer.

Over half of all caregivers today are the adult children of the care recipient with families, careers, and responsibilities of their own. I have seen caregivers put their careers on hold by taking time off from their job or even quit their job in order to take care of a spouse or parent. Studies have shown that the typical caregiver misses an average of 7 hours of work per week caring for a family member and last year, 77% of all working caregivers missed at least some work time.

Many caregivers themselves become sick due to the stress and exhaustion that can come with being a caregiver. Of caregivers surveyed, 43% felt that caring for a family member had negatively affected their emotional and physical health and well-being. Additionally, 55% said that they felt that they were not qualified to provide the necessary level of care needed. They also felt guilty about taking time away from their own spouse and children to be a caregiver to a parent or other family member.

Many caregivers also suffer financially when they find it necessary to dip into their own savings and or retirement funds to help pay for care, not to mention the lost wages for taking time away from work to provide care to a loved one.

Of course most people hope that their spouse, children, or other family member will help take care of them if they should find themselves in a long term care situation. It is your job, as their advisor, to show them that a Long Term Care insurance policy will help the family to take care of them better and longer, and without the extremely high levels of emotional, physical, and financial stress that many times go hand-in-hand when a family member needs care.

The Eight Elements of Extended Care Riders – Element 8 – Inflation

Presented by Brian Leising

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.

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

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.