What is Long-Term Care?


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What is Long-Term Care?

Decade ago, few people understood what long-term care was all about. Longevity and advances in medical science have changed that. The term long-term care refers to a variety of different services and supports which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of an individual with a chronic illness or disability who can no longer provide care for themselves for an extended period of time. 

This could be actual "hands-on" assistance or "stand-by" assistance. It can also be supervision due to a cognitive decline.

Whether the need for long-term care is due to an illness, an accident, or just the impact of getting older, more American families have to address their future risk for needing long-term care services and supports.

These services are generally not paid for by your health insurance, including Medicare and Medicare supplements. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for long-term care, but only if you have little or no savings and income.

Who Needs It?

With the advances in medical science, we all are living longer. People require long-term care services and supports due to illness, accident, or the impact of aging. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if you reach the age of 65, you have a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care service before you pass. 

52% of people who reach the age of 65 generally qualify for benefits under a Long-Term Care policy. Policies require that you need help with at least two of the six primary activities-of-daily living or require supervision due to cognitive impairment. 

Women tend to need care longer than men due to their lifespan. 

The fact is that the risk of needing some form of long-term care service is very high, and the risk grows as you get older. The cost of care services are expensive and adversely impact your income, savings, lifestyle, and legacy. Not to mention the stress and burden that is placed on those you love.

Family history only has a limited impact on your risk of needing long-term care in the future, however, there are certain conditions like Alzheimer's disease, for example, that tend to run in families. 

Advances in medical science allow us to survive illnesses and accidents more now than ever before. However, this adds to our longevity, which, in itself, is an increased risk of needing extended care.

With you don't die or fully recover from an illness or injury, the only thing left is ... long-term care. Who was it that was trying to tell us about those "golden years"? 

The cost of care is high; the solution is easy and affordable.

If you are saving for a successful future retirement or you need to protect your current retirement assets. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance could be for your solution. 

If you are wealthy ($5 million +), you might think you can self-insure. However, protecting your portfolio is very important, and you can't time your need for care with the market. Much n your money might be in stocks, bonds, and other instruments are not easily liquidated. Not to mention the tax consequences of selling off assets.

Wealthy or not, the burden that is placed on your family is still tremendous. An affordable Long-Term Care policy will ease the strain on your loved ones and provide tax-free benefits. 

If you are poor, your state's Medicaid program might be the best option. For everyone else, a Long-Term Care policy is essential to a successful retirement as it will safeguard your 401(k) IRA 403(b) and other savings in addition to easing the family burden. 

Partnership plans, available in 45 states, provide additional "dollar-for-dollar" asset protection when you have a qualified partnership policy in place.

Don't forget there are tax incentives available as well for some people.

Most people who plan are ages 40 to 70. Options are available for younger and older individuals. Policies are medically underwritten, but each company has specific individual underwriting guidelines. 

Generally, the younger and healthier you give you the most affordable options for you to consider. In other words, you don't want to wait until you need care since you will not qualify for coverage at that point.

Why Do You Need Long-Term Care Insurance?

The financial costs and burdens of aging will impact you, your family, your savings, and your lifestyle. A successful future or current retirement should include a plan to safeguard your assets and ease the burden long-term care places on family. The consequences are tremendous, but affordable LTC insurance policy will add peace-of-mind. 

Without a policy in place you will be responsible for paying the full cost of care services from your income, perhaps draining assets and adversely impacting lifestyle and your legacy.

Without a policy, your family will decide the type of care you will receive, where you will receive the care, and which accounts they will sell in order to pay for the care. Your loved ones may, in addition, be forced to provide some of the care themselves.

Will they make the same decisions about your care and your assets that you would make? Would you want to place the stress and burden on them or give them the time to be family?

You Have Options

Several different planning options are available. One or more will fit your goals and budget. These include:

  • Traditional plans (including partnership plans which are available in 45 states). 
  • Asset-based plans known as "hybrid" options are available in every state. These are life insurance or annuities with long-term care riders and death benefits. Both single premium or limited premium or annual premium options are available.
  • The short-term or limited duration plans are available in many states. They provide a more limited benefit but more relaxed underwriting and age requirements.   

Understand the Impact Long-Term Care Will Have on Your Family

Without a Long-Term Care policy in force, the burden of caregiving is placed on the shoulder of a spouse or family member, usually a daughter or daughter-in-law. 

For a spouse, it may be very challenging to be a full-time caregiver as they probably will be older themselves when you need extended care. Also, being a caregiver can impact their health and well-being. 

For adult children, they will have their own jobs, families, and responsibilities. Although more men become caregivers than ever before, men are not usually the best at caregiving, and it is tough for a daughter or daughter-in-law to be a spouse, a mom, have a career and be a caregiver all at the same time. 

An affordable Long-Term Care policy will generally provide case management, which will help the family be family. This burden case manager will help develop a plan-of-care, arrange for caregivers, help find caregivers, and reduce the stress on your family. This is not "managed care," and you are not required to accept their recommendations. 

Many people want to have a choice when they need long-term care. They want to decide where they will receive their care, be it at home, adult daycare centers, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, or nursing homes.

Choice of Quality Care – You Decide

Quality care is a significant concern for most people. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the resources for quality care no matter what your choices for care happen to be. 

You and your family get to decide how you use your benefits once you qualify for the benefits. The trigger for receiving benefits is easy, and surveys suggest that the vast majority of claimants are very satisfied with the process. 

Many people want to protect their lifestyle and that of a spouse/partner. Others want to make sure their children and grandchildren will inherit their assets and protect them from the Medicaid spend-down.

Finally, most people enjoy the peace-of-mind knowing this burden will not be placed on a spouse/partner, adult child, or in-law or other family members. Since the solution is easy and affordable, more and more people plan in their 40s or 50s as part of their retirement planning so they know their assets are protected and their families will not be stressed by the emotional and physical impact of being a caregiver.

How You Can Get Long-Term Care Insurance

When researching and shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance, it is essential that you get accurate quotes and professional recommendations. There are many insurance agents and financial advisors who could give you a "quote." However, there are very few specialists that have the knowledge and expertise in underwriting, policy features and benefits, tax incentives, knowledge of state partnership programs, and claims experience. 

You need an experienced, qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.

Very few insurance professionals get endorsed by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a national consumer advocacy and education group. 

You have come to the right place.

Matt McCann has been helping people nationwide since 1998 find affordable solutions for the financial costs and burdens of aging. Matt is endorsed by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and represents the major names in the insurance industry. A nationally known speaker and expert in long-term care planning, Matt McCann is ready to give you accurate quotes and recommendations so you can safeguard savings and income and ease the stress otherwise placed on your family members.

Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten. You must have reasonably good health to be eligible to obtain a policy. These requirements vary from company to company. It also varies depending on the type of plan (traditional, hybrid, or short-term). 

It is a Process

We first start by asking several detailed health and financial questions to determine eligibility and suitability. If appropriate, we would set up a quick meeting using our unique screen-sharing technology. You will see my computer screen, although I won't see you. This way, I can ask these important questions and explain how the policies work, including the federal/state partnership information, tax incentives, and more. 

You will be able and encouraged to ask questions as well. This way, appropriate recommendations can be made based on your specific situation, so you have something to think about as you decide.

The goal is to find an affordable plan to address the consequences of long-term care. Since we work with all the top companies, we will be able to shop for the best coverage at the best value. This is one-stop planning, which makes the process much more comfortable and less stressful.

Remember, each insurance company sets its pricing, which must be approved by your state's Department of Insurance. No insurance agent can "give you a deal." Premiums are also affected by your age, health, family history, amount of benefits purchased, and other factors.

Premiums can vary well over 100% between companies for the same benefits. This is why working with a specialist who represents the major insurance companies is so helpful in saving you money.

If you like one of the options, you must apply to see if you can get approved. This is easy since most companies have electronic applications. The underwriting can take 6 to 8 weeks to complete. 

Often, they will include a telephone interview. Depending on your age, this interview could be in person. They will not draw blood or take urine unless you have not been to a doctor in a very long time.

Once approved, your policy will be mailed to you. We will set a time to review your benefits and make any changes, if any. If you get declined, we will find alternative options depending on the reasons for the decline.

Read a more detailed explanation of the application process by clicking here.