Category Archives: long term care insurance california

What Can Japan Teach California About Long Term Care?

Long-term care JapanIn a recent Forbes article, contributor Chris Farrell, award winning journalist and senior economics contributor to Next Avenue, discussed how Japan’s policies and vision of long term care has shifted over time.

When you think of Japan and their culture you might think about how the younger generations are to care and respect their parents and elders.

However, with the shift in their economy and changing family values, according to Farrell, “Japan’s family-centered approach foundered, due to demographic and economic changes. Daughters and daughters-in-law — the primary caregivers — grew overwhelmed by the task, especially with the trend toward fewer children and more women joining the workforce.”

Farrell continues his discussion on how what we may think about Japanese children caring for their elders showed in a 1994 survey that one in two caregivers treated frail older relatives abusively; one of three also reported feelings of hatred.

The financial and emotional toll endured when taking care of an elder loved one who is no longer able to dress, bath, feed, and/or care for themselves is hard for trained people, let alone, the untrained people with an emotional connection.

Sadly, although we have the best intentions at heart when we talk about willingness to care for mom and dad, or hope that our kids will take care of us in our old age, we should never expect the people we care for to sacrifice their own life for ours; that is truly selfish.

The average American age 55 to 64 has a median retirement savings of $104,000 according to the National Institute on Retirement Security. The 70% of people age 65 and older who will access long term care services during their lives, “can expect to incur costs of $138,000, on average” according to Melissa Favreault of the Urban Institute and Judith Dey of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Remember, that is an average, some will be substantially more, others will be less.

Do you see the problem?

It is important when considering your future heath care planning needs that you also take in account the emotional and financial needs of the people that you care for to.

It is time to start planning your long-term care health insurance today.

Contact your California Long Term Care Insurance Services agent today.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/08/24/what-japan-can-teach-us-about-long-term-care/

A Costly Mistake in California Long-Term Care Planning!

mistake in california long-term care planningWhen you hear the term long-term care insurance, does it make you jump for joy or run in fear?

A problem that has been floating around in the long-term care insurance industry is one for the insurers themselves. According to a recent article in the New York Times, it was discussed how many policyholders in New York, among many other states, are now getting letters from their insurers informing them that they are going to have a rate increase of 48 to 60 percent!

This is not the experience that makes someone feel warm and fuzzy about their insurer. Especially after buying the policy that will make a huge difference in their life when they need to access the benefits.

The problem, and why these drastic rate increases are happening is explained in the article. To summarize, insurers use actuaries who determine the risk the company is going to face, and more importantly how to price that risk so the company can stay in business, make a profit, and still pay its claims.

“Insurance regulators in many states have been approving large increases in long-term care premiums for older policies, as it became clear that insurers badly misjudged the pricing on the policies and are losing money on them. In particular, regulators say, insurers overestimated the number of consumers who would let their policies lapse before filing claims. That means more people are holding on to the policies, raising the likelihood of more claims” (Carrins, 2015, pp. 2).

The reality of long-term care insurance is twofold. One, 70% of people age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care services that will not be covered by Medicare. Two, long-term care services are incredibly expensive with quality home care services starting around $25 through an agency, up to $500 per day for residential facility based care.

The bet that insurers made on policyholders letting those policies lapse, not having to pay out potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single claim did not hold true, and now they need to make adjustments.

That is why it is crucial you take the time to investigate all the companies you are considering for long-term care insurance. You should review their records with the State insurance regulators to see how often they request rate increases, how much those requests are for in terms of percentage increase, and how they are rated by 3rd parties (Standard & Poor, Moody’s, etc.). You want to see if they have the financial strength to pay out large claims without taking a rate increase or finding a way out of paying the claim at all!

It is a lot of work to take on, and that is why by working with a trained, licensed, and skilled professional you can avoid this costly mistake in California long-term care planning.

Fill out the form to the right of this page to contact your California long-term care specialist today for a no-cost, no-obligation review of all your options, and the companies that can provide them.

Source:

Carrins, A., (9/2/2015), Managing The Costs Of Long Term Care Insurance, New York Times, retrieved 9/7/15 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/your-money/managing-the-costs-of-long-term-care-insurance.html?_r=0

What Happened to Federal Employee Long-Term Care Insurance?

ferderal employee long-term care insuranceIn a recent Washington Post article on August 4, writer Eric Yoder covered the recent change in federal employee long-term care insurance premiums that took them by surprise.

According to the article, on August 1, with no warning, new enrollees for the FLTCIP program found out rates were going up! It was reported that the OPM, Office of Personnel Management decided to withhold this rate increase so they did not confuse people who obtained insurance prior to the August 1 rate change.

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is offered through a contract between the OPM and John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company. This was an unusual event because these contracts are negotiated and announced months in advance; waiting to the last minute was a surprise to many federal employees who had not yet elected for the voluntary coverage options available.

Like many other people considering long-term care insurance however, it goes to show you that putting off that decision to protect your future health care needs can and will cost you money.

The premium increase affects federal employees, military personnel, retirees, and certain family members. According to the article, the rate increase was determined by both OPM and John Hancock to plan for adequate coverage of claims for future healthcare costs. Considering 70% of people age 65 and older will require some form of long-term care health assistance, it is a smart to make sure the company you choose will have the money to pay when the bills come due.

That is why the specialists at California Long Term Care not only work with John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, but many other top quality providers to find you the best coverage at a fair and reasonable price. Working with a specialist in long-term care health planning can save you the headaches and frustration that come with picking the wrong company, or being caught in an unexpected rate modification.

Fill out the form to the right of this page to contact your California Long Term Care insurance specialist today for a free review of your options!

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/08/03/long-term-care-insurance-rates-go-up-for-new-federal-enrollees-with-no-warning/

Are You A “Narrow Framer” On California Long-Term Care Insurance decision?

long-term care decision

There are often more than two choices when it comes down to making a decision!

According to a recent article on MarketWatch.com, two facts were offered. The first fact is, 70% of people will need some form of long-term care in their homes, in a short stay facility, or in a long-term custodial facility, and it will be expensive.

The second fact is simply that most people will not get insurance to help cover the 70% chance you will have expensive medical bills that no one, other than welfare will cover, and only if you meet the incredibly strict financial requirements.

Dr. Olivia Mitchell and Dr. Daniel Gottlieb of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania wanted to know if there was a deeper reason on why people hesitate on long-term care insurance decision when the odds you will need long-term care services are 70%.

In their national study of people over age 50, they discovered a common occurrence that psychologists refer to as “Narrow Framing”.

According to Dr. Karyn Hall of PsychCentral.com, “Narrow framing means that you are not considering all the alternatives available to you–you are defining your choices too narrowly. Narrow frame thinking would be when you are asking yourself if you should take a certain action or not, or which of two actions would be better. For example, should you move to a new city or not? Should you go for a walk or read a book? Restricting yourself to two choices limits your alternatives. You may not even consider options that would be better.”

Narrow framing as you have read affects your ability to make good decisions. This is not just about buying long-term care insurance, chances are you could have made larger decision in life that had a negative outcome, which in hindsight, had you considered other options, you would have been ok.

Whether you are a “Narrow Framer” or just your regular self, we invite you to learn about your options when it comes to long-term care insurance decision in California. Being able to make well educated decision that examine all the options is your best course of action.

Fill out the form to the right of this page and speak with your California Long Term Care specialist today!

Sources:

MarketWatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-people-dont-buy-long-term-care-insurance-2015-06-17

PsychCentral: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/emotionally-sensitive/2013/03/four-villains-of-decision-making/

Have You Accepted The Default Long-Term Care plan?

Default Long-term care planIn a recent article on Marketwatch.com by Retirement Reporter Elizabeth O’Brien, she discussed what the costs for long-term care insurance look like, and how people plan for their health care needs in the future when they are no longer able to care for themselves.

In O’Brien’s article, she references the average cost for a 55-year old couple on a common LTC plan to be around $5,000 per year in premium dollars. While that is a sizable amount for people to budget with insurance, O’Brien comments, “Consumers should think of long-term care insurance as one way to help defray the cost of home health aides or a care facility and to protect their hard-earned nest eggs in the process…”

The article continues on covering the common misconceptions about Medicare and custodial care. Unfortunately, many people believe Medicare covers long-term care expenses. The reality is, while Medicare may cover up to 100 days of skilled nursing, it is not going to cover long-term custodial care. There is a difference between skilled care and custodial care.

O’Brien offers from her research that the median annual cost for private rooms runs over $91,000, and a home health aide could run upwards of $45,000 or more. Without a solid nest egg in place, these costs could easily wipe out any savings available to most families.

An interesting point in the article is how people could end up with a “default long-term care plan”.

“Everybody has a long-term care plan, said Eileen Dunn, a geriatric care manager with Associates of Clifton Park, a Clifton Park, N.Y.-based company that sells long-term care and other insurance to clients of financial advisers. Those who do not consciously make a plan are on the “default plan,” Dunn said. “When something happens, you’re not going to have a choice.” That is, you’re not going to have a choice but to spend down your assets” (O’Brien, 2015, pp. 7)

If you have accepted the default plan as your option, then you should at least research “spend down” requirements for your State, so you know what will happen and how it will affect your family. You can usually get these requirements from the State welfare offices.

The choice is yours, make yours!

Choice 1: I am willing to lose the things I worked for in life.

Choice 2: I want to protect my assets and have a choice.

If you selected Choice 2 and would rather have options in your care, fill out the form to the right and contact a California Long Term Care specialist today to get the conversation started.

Reference:

O’Brien, E., (June 2015) Can you afford $5,000 a year for long-term care insurance? Retrieved 8/9/2015 at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/can-you-afford-5000-a-year-for-long-term-care-insurance-2015-06-25

Do Long Term Care Insurance Numbers Make Sense for The Policyholder?

Long Term Care PricesAccording to a recent article published by the National Association of Health Underwriters it was disclosed that, “a 60-year-old who pays premiums through age 82 (on a statistically representative policy), then show how 22-years of premium payments would quickly be returned after just five months on claim. By comparison, a 60-year-old without insurance would have to set aside $1,666 each month (at 2% interest) to achieve what our LTCI policyholder can leverage with just $188 per month” (Forman, 2015, pp 4-5).

Additional statistics were given in this article that spoke to the growth of long term care insurance numbers, not only in California, but also across the country. As it stands right now, there is an estimated face value of policies in force that is $1.98 Trillion Dollars. The NAHU article talks about the long-term care industry and claims experience, based on the total face value premium of just under 2 Trillion, it is estimated that just under $700 Billion Dollars of claims will be paid out on the current policies in force. The article offers a comparison to its most recent statistic that in the US, in 2010 roughly $210 Billion Dollars was paid out in long term care insurance claims.

It is clear that the long term care insurance need is in growth mode as more and more baby boomers begin looking at their future, and more importantly, the quality of care they will receive when no longer able to care for themselves independently, or with a little assistance. Long term care insurance is not always the most fun conversation to have, and with the complex and often confusing system in California, it can be an uphill battle.

It is important when planning your future to consider the help of a licensed and qualified professional. You already use doctors to help you heal, accountants to help you with financial records, and attorneys to assist with legal concerns; it is time to enlist the help of a California long-term care specialist so you can make an educated decision about your future health care needs.

Fill out the form to the right, get your guide to LTCI and contact your California Long Term Care Specialist today and get started with your planning. This service is Free!

Reference:

Forman, S.D., (June 2015) “Dog Bites Man”, National Association of Health Underwriters, retrieved 08/02/2015 at http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/nahultci/issues/2015-06-16/3.html

Technology Helps Independence with Long-Term Care at Home

Long-term care at homeIn a recent article from U.S. News & World Report is was demonstrated how technology is making senior care and safety easier on the pocket book for those receiving care, and on the home health agencies providing in-home care services.

If you haven’t thought about planning for your long-term care needs, or just thought it might not impact you like it does for 70% of people age 65 and older, you could benefit from using technology to help manage your care, and communicate with your care team and loved ones.

According to the article, “Every morning, Marion Berg measures her blood pressure and heart rate and then uses a tablet to relay the results to her health care team. At 101 years old, the Sun City, Arizona, resident says the system is a change for her, but one she likes. Using a tablet is new to me, but my health care coach is helping me learn every week when she visits my home, Berg says. Berg participates in the Banner iCare program, and her experience is one example of how long-term care plans are integrating technology as a way to reduce costs and improve quality of life” (LaPonsie, 2015, pp 1-3).

By using tablet technology, people receiving care can manage their records, communicate with loved ones, and be in touch with their care team at the push of a button. This is helping people who may not have the resources to pay for full time care, or who need to stretch their care dollars a little further along.

This Long-term Care at home technology falls under three common use types. The first is the independent use systems. These systems are how health providers and family members can remain up to date on the condition of their loved one. Authorized users can receive care alerts, be updated on medical status, and receive alerts based on safety and care concerns programmed into the tablet application, i.e., high blood sugar level, fall incident, distress call.

The second use for this technology is virtual reporting. This use coincides with their third common use of 24-hour monitoring. Tablets installed in loved one’s homes can be used for video conferencing, and can activate the microphone and camera so that a care team member, or family member can simply open the app on their phone or tablet and see how their loved one is doing.

Depending on the level of care needed, the technology can also create alerts if appliances like a TV has not been turned on that day, or if the fridge has not been opened that day. Although it may sound a bit big brother, being alerted on little things when your loved one requires extra care can help alert you to potential problems before they become real issues.

If you would like to learn about ways you can retain your independence and help cover the costs of long-term care services in the home or at a professional residence, contact your California Long Term Care specialist today for an educational review of your options.

Source:

LaPonsie, M., (June 12, 2015), Long-Term Care Goes Virtual, U.S. News & World Report, retrieved July 27, 2015: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/06/11/long-term-care-goes-virtua

Is Your Mental Model Flawed In Long-Term Care Planning?

As medical technology continues to advance and people are able to fight off diseases and recover from conditions that could have meant their death 30, 40, 50 years ago, you begin to wonder if your thoughts on long-term care planning are also in the past.

People are now living longer and fuller lives because of breakthroughs in medical science. Dr. Bruce Chernoff, President of The Scan Foundation recently spoke on PBS News Hour’s Fixing America’s Long-Term Care System segment and said, “There is a real misconception, we all have built this architecture in our mind that I’ll live a really really full life, then I’ll hit that cliff, and it will be done.” Dr. Chernoff continues his thoughts by saying, “if you look back a generation or two, people actually did live a pretty full life, and often had a very serious event from which they might not survive, or might not live a very long time.”

He contends, because this is how people have grown up, they have built a model in their mind that says, this is what happened to my parents, this is what will happen to me. This could explain why that even though statistics show 7 out of 10 people age 65 and older will need some form of long-term care assistance, the vast majority of them have not planned for it, and usually just change the subject when the topic comes up. According to Dr. Chernoff, because of medical breakthroughs and the fact that people are living longer, it is time to change that mental model.

The other issue Dr. Chernoff brings up is the lack of education on the topic of long-term care planning. Many people simply do not know what is available to them, what options they have when it comes to planning, and what considerations need to be made before that health event takes place, and you need to access long-term care services for yourself or a loved one.

Have you taken a few minutes out of your day to design what your future will look like should you require long-term care services? If you have not, there is no better time than right now to click the link below and schedule a free no obligation review for long-term care planning in California today.

You are planning to live a full life, make sure it is how you envisioned it no matter what happens.

Contact us today to explore all your current options. Fill out the form to the right and start with your free guide on Long-Term Care Insurance..

The WSJ asks , “should you purchase long-term-care insurance?”

Long Term Care Insurance and Estate PlanningWhen planning your retirement, the possibility of needing some form of long-term-care becomes a 7 out of 10 chance after age 65. You could get lucky and live a full and healthy life without ever requiring long-term-care services in California (3 out of 10 people), or you could fall under some level of assistance from short term in-home care, to long term skilled facility care (the other 7 out of 10 people).

Proponents of long-term-care such as Dr. Mark Meiners, a professor of health administration and policy at George Mason University, says, “That isn’t to say long-term-care insurance is right for everyone. It is not. The wealthy can be reasonably sure their savings will be enough to pay directly for long-term care, whatever its duration. And despite concerns about quality, Medicaid is there for the poor. But what about consumers with midlevel savings—in other words, most people? These consumers need long-term-care insurance the most. They tend to have too little savings to pay for even a couple of years of care without impoverishing themselves and their families, and too much to qualify for Medicaid” (WSJ, 2012).

Opponents of long-term-care such as Prescott Cole, a senior staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform say, “For those with little wealth, a policy will never be suitable. They will be covered by the long-term care provided by Medicaid. For individuals with incomes of at least $250,000 a year and substantial savings, the smarter move might be to either self-insure or use their resources to pay for high-level in-home health care. For mid-wealth individuals, the answer is not so clear. The average annual premiums for policies sold to seniors run around $3,500 per year. But few—if any—policies pay 100% of the daily private pay rate, currently about $250 per day. Policies typically pay $150 a day. So, even a resident with a policy will have to dig into savings to pay the difference” (WSJ, 2012).

Mr. Prescott’s argument is one of setting up a savings plan in the event something should happen. While they may be a great idea, most people are simply not disciplined enough to set aside $3,500 per year for 30 years with a strong rate of return, and with the stock market cycles, you never really know if 30 years from now your investments will flourish or flounder at the time you need them most. People buy car insurance with the odds of 1 in 340 suffering a loss, or 1 in 1200 home insurance policies suffering a loss due to fire. In long-term-care, after age 65, 7 out of 10 will need to access some level of benefits or pay out of pocket for care.

Dr. Meiners says it best, “The important thing to understand is that there are a wide range of policies offering different degrees of security, but all preferable to taking the chance of being financially decimated. According to estimates done by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a typical couple buying a shared policy providing immediate benefits worth $328,500 at age 55 pays an annual premium averaging $2,700. By age 80 their joint benefit has grown to $708,000 with the built-in inflation protection. Alternatively, a typical couple buying a shared policy with $219,000 of coverage could reduce their premium by about 20% to 25%. That’s a viable option for those who are worried about this risk. If more coverage is affordable, buy more coverage. But some is better than none” (WSJ, 2012).

Start your California long-term-care planning today. Contact us today for your free and confidential review.

Source:

Should You Purchase Long-Term-Care Insurance? (2012, May 14). Retrieved July 13, 2015

When You Are In Long Term Care, Hope This Never Happens To You!

Ca;pers Long Term Care AlternativeUnlike your neighbors, you were smart; you planned, did your research, knew the benefits of planning for your long-term care needs in California, purchased a plan, and began to enjoy the peace of mind knowing you are protected.

Then it happens…

You receive a letter one day stating your premiums are going up 85%. How could this be, you planned everything out, researched the options, and selected a plan that promised fixed premiums for life with no risk of rising costs.

If you have been following the CalPERS class action lawsuit in California, you would know, this is exactly what happened to approximately 150,000 long term care insurance policy buyers that bought certain policies from 1995 to 2004.

According to the class action information website,” This is a class action lawsuit that seeks relief for individuals who purchased certain Long Term Care (“LTC”) insurance policies through CalPERS and have been subjected to recent premium hikes of approximately 85%. The complaint alleges that CalPERS promised its policyholders that the premiums for its LTC policies were fixed for life and would never rise.

The complaint further alleges that at the time CalPERS made these promises, it had underpriced its policies and knew, or should have known, that premiums were certain to rise in the future. The complaint asserts causes of action for Breach of Contract, Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Rescission, and Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.”

While this case is still ongoing at this time, it is estimated that settlement from this type of litigation could take 2.5 to 3 years! What if you were already accessing your benefits? What if you had not planned for any increased costs? Would you be fully protected under the suit when you’re in a nursing home?

The article says, “Your decisions going forward (whether to drop the policy, take reduced benefits, or pay higher premiums) are entirely up to you and are dependent on your individual circumstances.”

If you want to avoid the pain and confusion that happens when a program underprices their policies to make a quick influx of cash, you need to obtain competent and professional assistance. The California Long Term Care insurance agents study their carriers’ every day to know the best and most price stable policies available on the market.

Unlike car insurance where you can shop and take advantage of short-term pricing opportunities, long-term care insurance is a policy you typically buy one time and keep until you need to access the benefits. It is possible to save money, but make sure you work with a professional so your plan does not become a legal nightmare later in life.

Get Started Planning Today, Contact Your Professional CLTC Agent Now!

Source: http://www.calpersclassactionlawsuit.com/index.html