What Do Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories Allow Readers To Do What Have You Read Lately About Long-Term Care Insurance?

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What Have You Read Lately About Long-Term Care Insurance?

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,”. I’m sure Mark Twain wasn’t thinking about long-term care or today’s news media when he said this long ago. Today it is very easy for people to pitch a news story. Between traditional TV and radio, an extended 24/7 news cycle, including cable news, has plenty of information available. The biggest difference today, unlike the old days when anyone with a printing press could print anything they wanted, now you only need a computer to produce a news story. It seems almost everyone has a computer or a smart phone and they are not afraid to use it.

Long-term care has become a big issue with an aging America. By 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will be over age 50 By 2050, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65+, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems that the conversation about long-term care begins when you approach age 50. In today’s world that means you hit the internet and see what information you can find. However, some articles are providing misleading or even completely incorrect information about long-term care insurance.

We’ve heard the term fake news, but perhaps the best way to define what’s being written about long-term care is “fake news” or “advocacy news.” It seems everyone has a computer, including me, has an agenda. How much of this is ‘true’ is up for debate.

Usually, there’s more to a story… and the things left out are usually very important. Stories of long-term care insurance premium rate hikes are very misleading. They usually leave out a lot of details. The reporters or “professionals” writing these articles often have an agenda to sway the public in one direction or another.

Another thing to remember is that the Internet is “old news” because nothing on the Internet is usually deleted. You can find and read something old but that story has been updated so many times since the first story was published that the information you are reading is out of date. You need to do more due diligence today to see if you are getting the right information.

Because planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging is so important to American families, you should know the facts. Often articles talk about premium hikes to scare customers away. Maybe the author wants the government to pay for all long-term care (not going to happen since so many people need care and budgets are tight, because it’s trying to care for those with little or no savings). Perhaps the author wants consumers to spend large sums of money on the particular type of financial product they are selling. Consumers should understand the truth, so they can plan ahead with more peace of mind.

The increases that are being reported are primarily on “legacy products,” which are older plans that were good before the interest rate crash and rate stability regulations.

Today, all plans are priced with a very low interest rate environment in mind (US interest rates have been low over the past decade). These old plans that grew were based on several factors:

· Interest rates

· Lapse rate (ie, how many people lapse their policies. In reality, very few do, but this is not factored into the premium cost of very old plans)

· Claims and underwriting experience

These policies are also providing huge benefits. In 2017, more than $9.2 billion was paid to American families for asset protection and family burden reduction benefits.

The fact is these old policies had low value to begin with and even with growth they have outstanding value and huge benefits. No one likes growth, but you must put that growth in perspective. Many of the people I talk to have huge benefits that have been increasing by 5% compounded every year since they got their policy. Many also have unlimited lifetime benefits. Because they have this huge benefit, many may reduce the benefit or inflation factor to keep the premium the same. They are in an outstanding position because their benefits increase far more than the costs of long-term care.

Today’s long-term care insurance policies remain very affordable because people start buying plans before retirement. Underwriting is more conservative but since consumers are younger most people can still find a suitable plan.

Experts say the risk of growth is small but like anything there is always the potential for growth to be allowed. However, if you read some of the published articles, you would think the industry is dead and consumers are no longer interested in the product.

The reality is that there are still many insurance companies marketing long-term care insurance. Consumer interest has never been higher. As I’ve talked to other long-term care insurance experts like myself, we’ve all noticed a big increase in both consumer awareness and interest. Consumers are younger, more knowledgeable about risk (often with first-hand experience with an elderly parent or other family member) and we’re bombarded with requests for information and quotes.

Most financial advisors and general insurance agents have limited knowledge and experience with products, underwriting, policy design, benefit options and federal/state partnership programs, so consumers are seeking help from long-term care specialists that are available in most states. Therefore, some of these professionals push consumers toward options they feel more comfortable with even though they may not be the best and most cost-effective way to deal with the costs and burdens of aging.

Long-term care insurance, despite what you may have read, is very affordable for most people. With control and better pricing, customers enjoy the added peace of mind that they have a plan they can rely on for decades to come that will remain affordable as they retire and age.

Many people can get outstanding coverage for under $150 a month, some even for under $100. Premiums are based on your age, your health and the amount of people who want to get a plan. Most of the people I talk to nationwide are between the ages of 45 and 60.

A true long-term care specialist will ask you numerous questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans to make the right recommendations. Anyone willing to give you a “quote” without asking too many questions should be avoided.

Long-term care insurance is custom designed. Also, each insurance company has its own underwriting criteria. A true long-term care specialist will represent most or all major companies. They will have a deep understanding of underwriting and policy design. They should have processed many claims, so they have first-hand knowledge of how these policies are used when making claims.

Finally, a true long-term care specialist will not steer you toward a specific type of policy without spending time talking with you to determine which type of plan fits your specific situation. Working with a long-term care specialist will allow you to get the exact information you are looking for. There are several reference websites for research:

LTC News provides articles and resources: http://www.ltcnews.com

US Department of Health and Human Services: https://longtermcare.acl.gov/

The main concern for most people is that they perceive caregiving as difficult. An elderly spouse cannot be expected to be a caregiver without affecting their own health. Adult children and their own families, careers and responsibilities. Care provided is expensive and drains savings and affects quality of life.

For many, long-term care insurance is simple, affordable, rate-stabilized income and asset protection. It reduces the burden on your family due to your old age. However, talk to a real expert. There aren’t many long-term care specialists with extensive experience, but I help people nationwide and help a few others like me.

This will give you and your family great peace of mind and it is not fake news.

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