Category Archives: Long Term Care Insurance

The Sobering Reality of the Long-Term Care Situation Facing Baby Boomers

By Julian Guilfoyle

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”   ~Mark Twain

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 8.44.13 AMThe long-term care situation inherited by baby boomers presents a grim and worrisome reality. In addition to the emotional burdens faced by spouses and children, the financial burden is simply devastating for most Americans and their families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a study of long-term care in America and some of its’ findings are particularly noteworthy. They found that more than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 would require long-term services at some point in their lives. Forty percent of Americans who reach age 65 will require a nursing home stay with twenty percent of those requiring long-term care for longer than five years. When required, the average cost of a private room is $219 a day, or $79,935 a year.

Many boomers have already experienced, first-hand, the limits of Medicare when attempting to provide for their aging parents. Under the best-case scenario, if a loved-one requires “skilled” care or therapy, Medicare can cover up to 100 days of care in a facility. Of those, days 21-100 require a co-pay from the Medicare recipient. Further, this care is only provided if the person is transferred to the facility after three consecutive days in a hospital (which believe it or not, is harder than it seems).

The safety net providing long-term care services for seniors who can no longer afford it is Medicaid. The income and asset limits imposed on Medicaid recipients are closely scrutinized and verified. In addition, they require substantial “spend-downs” where seniors must pay privately for their care. This is financially ruinous for women because they have longer life expectancies and many live their golden years with a fraction of the savings they had accumulated.

There is a solution for this epidemic in the form of long-term care insurance. However, few Americans have purchased this insurance because of the negatives surrounding these policies. Many have seen their premiums increased as insurance companies compensate for the increased amount of people who actually require the benefits. As premiums became unsustainable, especially after the income loss associated at first death between spouses, many of these policies began lapsing or having their benefits reduced. In addition, under the best case scenario, meaning one never requires to use their long-term care insurance during their lifetime, they don’t receive any benefit from the substantial premiums they have paid.

Few will face any tax during their lifetime that can equate to the cost of long-term care burdened by the majority of seniors. There are ways to protect your family from this catastrophic financial load, but different circumstances require different solutions. To discuss these solutions please call our office at 800-798-5297.

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Unique Plans to Avoid Paying for Long Term Care

By Kathy Cooper

Over the years, we’ve heard a number of unique plans to avoid paying for long term care.  I thought you might want to hear about them:

“I’ll never go to a nursing home.  I just plan to wake up dead one day.”

“If I find out I have Alzheimer’s, my thought is to rob 7-Elevens until I’m caught and go to jail.  They have to take care of you there.”

“I’m going to give my kids cash gifts, a little at a time.  How’s the government to know?”

“I have a bunch of silver and gold in my safety deposit box that they’ll never find out about, so my plan is golden!”

Although these are entertaining ideas, they are naive at best. You may have read estimates that 70% of all seniors over 65 will require some type of long term care and over 30% will end up in a nursing home at some point in their lives.  These are large numbers that are likely to include you and me – and, believe me, the Government is onto your plan to squirrel away money.

The best idea to avoid losing it all to pay for your long term care is to plan early, before your are faced with a crisis.  An experienced Ohio Elder Law Attorney can help you and your family identify options to protect and preserve your wealth in a way that complies with the law of the state so that you won’t have to go directly to jail to get your bill paid!

 

NOVEMBER IS LONG TERM CARE AWARENESS MONTH!

By Roy Whited

Start the conversation with your spouse, parents or family today!

November is long-term care awareness month.  If you haven’t started the conversation with your spouse or your family about the importance of proactive planning and how it can protect your assets and their family’s well being, November can be the perfect time.

Transferring this risk to an insurance carrier and protecting your assets from the devastating cost of long term care can make good economic sense.  For more information about what choices are available for you as a consumer you can visit the website of the State of Insurance Department or you can just call our office at 1-800-798-5297 to schedule a free consultation.

For those of you who can’t afford the cost of long term care insurance or can’t qualify for the insurance you should learn about what other planning options are available to help protect your money and your home.  Call 1-800-798-5297 for a free consultation with one of the Elder Law Attorneys of the Cooper & Adel Law firm.

 

What is the risk?  What are the odds?

  • Odds of having a serious car accident. 3 in 900, less than 1%
  • Odds of having as residential fire. 7 in 900, less than 1%
  • Odds of being admitted to a critical care unit. 21 in 900, less than 3%
  • Odds of needing long-term care. 630 in 900, approximately 70%

Odds are calculated using statistics from public sources that are deemed to be reliable.  For more information on the sources you can call our office 1-800-798-5297.

(Taken in part from Westland Financial Inc.)

 

When long-term care expenses are deductible

By JM Megail Gaumer

While Long-term care can be very expensive, many costs can be deducted from your taxes. It is important to know which expenses are allowable and which are not.

A recent decision by the U.S. Tax Court favors the use of deductions in any case where the amount deducted exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.  This amount will increase in 2012 to 10%.

These expenses do not have to be traditional medical expenses. In one case, Estate of Lillian Baral (U.S. Tax Ct., No. 3618-10, July 5, 2011), the expense deducted consisted of non-medical caregivers to assist in ADLs or “Activities of Daily Living”  (ADLs include; bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, continence and mobility).  These expenses were allowable due to Ms. Baral’s diagnosed dementia and her ability to complete some of these activities safely.

If you or a family member currently receive outside assistance for any of these activities and do not receive financial assistance for them please contact our office to schedule a free consultation to determine if you qualify.

 

Choosing the Right Long Term Care Policy

By Julian Guilfoyle

When a catastrophic health emergency impacts a family, the last thing anyone wants to think about is the financial implications.  Unfortunately, when the family ultimately faces the crisis, they learn their options are limited.  There are two ways to prevent a ruinous spend-down when a loved one needs skilled care in a facility, advanced coordinated gifting strategies or long-term care insurance.  Contact a qualified elder law attorney regarding the complex rules and regulations surrounding gifting strategies.

Long-term care (LTC) insurance generally cannot be purchased after a health emergency has already occurred, but it can be a wonderful pre-planning tool if the policy is sound.  While a growing number of Americans purchase LTC insurance, the majority do not, for a myriad of reasons.  First, most of us don’t believe a significant health crisis will ever befall us, or by the time we realize the likelihood of it occurring, we have a pre-existing condition that prevents us from obtaining it.  Second, most long term care policies do not contain a death benefit, meaning someone can pay a premium each year of their life and never receive a benefit from it.  This is a major hurdle for most people, one that the insurance industry as a whole failed to address for far too long.

Recently however, a new product has emerged that combines the safety net of a long-term care policy while creating an accessible fund that continues to grow and will provide a death benefit to beneficiaries.  Those with IRA’s or other tax-qualified plans should especially look into these policies as they can also provide a way to withdraw qualified money with an off-setting tax deduction for health care emergencies.  For more information regarding this type of policy or for a free review of an existing LTC policy, please contact our office.

There are many different components to consider when looking at LTC policies; the following are my top five.

What is the daily benefit amount?  The average private pay rate, or APPR, for a nursing home is $6,023 a month in the state of Ohio.  This translates to roughly $200 per day.  If your policy is not going to provide a daily benefit amount of more than $200/day, the difference will be a drain on your assets.  In addition, these costs continue to rise each year, which leads me to my second question.

Does the policy have inflation protection?  This optional rider helps to protect the insured from the rising costs associated with long term care.  Make sure the benefits paid will be sufficient, especially if you’re looking to purchase a plan that most likely won’t be accessed for some time.

What physical settings does the policy allow?  While it has almost become an industry standard, older policies may restrict where the benefits will be triggered.  Verify that the policy will cover a wide range of settings from care administered in your home by skilled professionals to nursing homes.

Do you have a coordinated long-term care plan?  Veterans, when they require the aid and attendance of another, can access a benefit that can pay almost $24,000 a year for care, or nearly $12,000 per year for their widows.  This, along with other strategies, if coordinated correctly, can limit the drain on assets.

Does the policy have a death benefit?  Frankly, this is tantamount to having your cake and eating it too.  Make sure the policy your reviewing provides a benefit should you never access the long-term care insurance.

If you think Long Term Care is expensive in Ohio…

by Attorney Thom L. Cooper

The monthly average cost a long term care stay in Ohio is $6,023 per month according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  That works out to $72,276 per year.  However if you want to see where we might be headed, let’s look at the cost of some of our trend setting states nearby.  According to a recent Genworth Financial Survey.  A semi-private room will set you back $100,923 in New Jersey,   $110,980 in New York, and $126,108 in Connecticut.  Want a private room, add about 10 percent.  And…if you think that is high,  Alaska, may be a nice place to visit but don’t have a medical emergency there and go into a nursing home since a semi-private room there will deplete your savings at the rate of $218,453 per year!

  • How much is your home worth?
  • How long to go through it with a long term care stay?
  • Who can afford this?

And…to make it worse.  If you go into a nursing home, or receive in home medical benefits,  in Ohio and the State helps pay the bill they will put a liens on your home for these costs.  It is no wonder that people are desperately worried about this problem.

There are things that can be done to protect your home…but you must act now since there are time limits which must run to fully protect your home.   But….these time limits don’t start until you act!!

For help…

Contact us, or contact someone else….

…but please act now.

Your home and assets are at stake.

For a copy of the Genworth study see:

http://www.genworth.com/content/products/long_term_care/long_term_care/cost_of_care.html

October is Long Term Care planning month

The Ohio Department of Insurance urges Ohioans to carefully consider financing and coverage options related to Long Term Care. Below is part of an article that is on the Ohio Department of Insurance website.

October is Long Term Care planning month

Columbus – October is National Long-term Care Planning Month and the Ohio Department of Insurance is encouraging Ohioans to take a careful approach when determining how they will pay for their long-term care and if they should secure long-term insurance.

“Before anyone purchases long-term care insurance, it’s extremely important to consult your family, attorney, tax advisor and review many factors, including your future ability to pay premiums and your family’s commitment to tend to your health care needs in the future,” said Mary Jo Hudson, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Long-term care insurance can be expensive and needs to be a carefully considered purchase.”

Long-term care insurance can help pay for medical care given in a nursing home, assisted living facility, adult day care center or our own home. It can also pay the expenses related to skilled care and treating sudden or ongoing health problems. Long term care policy terms vary, so it’s important to review them carefully before purchase.

The Department’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) provides unbiased and free information and long-term care insurance coverage. Ohioan can call OSHIIP at 1-800-686-1578 with questions and are urged to utilize the Department’s Shopper’s Guide to Long-term Care Insurance, available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can also request that the guide be mailed to you.

We would like to encourage anyone who is considering the purchase of Long-term care insurance to visit the website noted above or call and request free information.

Even Superwoman Needs Long Term Care Protection

Sometimes, I think my mother might be a superhero. At 58, she takes on several roles. From 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday she is not only a grandma, she is also the daycare provider for any where from one to three grandkids ranging from one year old to five years old. From 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. she is not just a daughter, but also the “on call” caregiver for my 81 year old grandmother who resides at “The Barrington of Fort Thomas”, an Assisted Living facility just minutes away from her home. Sometimes out of necessity, she manages to be the sitter for three grandkids and the sitter for my grandmother simultaneously. She does all this while taking on the normal jobs (mediator, housekeeper, guidance counselor, cook, event planner, etc.) that go with being a parent of three young adult families, and the wife of a working husband.
As hectic as her life seems to be, I have realized that it is not all that unique. I’ve seen several of my clients come to their appointments with grandbabies in their arms. In many more instances, my clients are asking to meet at later hours because between 9 and 5 they are the babysitter for grandkids, or they spend the majority of their daytime hours taking their own parents to doctors and spend their daytime hours at their elderly parents’ sides, especially after the death of their spouse. While my clients typically only have to worry about being the caretaker of either their parents, or their children, or their grandchildren, there are a handful, like my mother, who are “sandwiched” in between doing a job they have looked forward to their entire lives, and one they have dreaded as they watched their parents age.
What makes things easier for my mother is the fact that my grandparents had the foresight to purchase long term care insurance when they were able back in the 90’s. In this instance, the long term care insurance has paid off in several different ways. When my mother can’t be with her own mother, she knows that she is getting great care at a top-notch assisted living facility. As my Grandmother has slowly declined and needs more assistance than ever before, my Mother has been able to fall back on this insurance to provide additional care as well. Because the long term care insurance covers such a significant amount of the Barrington’s bill, mom is also able to pay additional caregivers to be by my grandmother’s side when needed, keeping her out of the Nursing Home for as long as possible.
My grandparent’s plan led them to purchase long term care insurance. That purchase has had a positive affect on four generations: Grandma is getting great care as she ages, my mother can rest assured of it (and all though we all worry about aging parents, it help her to maintain her sanity), my brother and I are getting the best (and cheapest) daycare for our kids, and our kids get to have as many popsicles and cookies as they can eat.
Long term care insurance, when available, can be a great option. However, it’s important to understand that it is not the only option. When getting your “Ducks in a Row”, don’t forget that you need to account for more than just the typical estate “death planning”… make your life a priority and get schooled on the options available to you regarding long term care. Schedule time with your advisors to research whether long term care insurance is a viable option—and if its not, see an Elder law attorney about other ideas that might work for you and/or your spouse. Getting educated is the first step towards getting your Ducks in A Row. Find out how by attending one of our seminars.

In-Home or Nursing Home Care: How will you pay?

by guest Roy Whited

I have found that most people are concerned about how to pay for the costs of a long term nursing home stay or a home health care situation care as they age. Many seniors that I have talked with about long term care insurance seem to fall in to one of four categories:

Like it, but can’t afford it: There are those who like the idea of having long term care insurance to help pay for the cost of a long term nursing home stay or perhaps a home health care situation, but they simply cannot afford the cost of the premium. The older they get, the higher the cost of the insurance becomes. All is not lost, however. With the help of a knowledgeable elder law attorney, there are ways to protect their assets, with out buying insurance.

Like it, but can’t qualify: Then there are those who like the idea of long term care insurance and can afford to pay for it, but their diabetes or Parkinson’s or other chronic health condition disqualifies them. I found that these folks could benefit greatly by working with an elder law attorney to take actions that will preserve and protect their assets.

Already have some, but not enough: Some have already purchased long term care while they were young enough and had enough income to purchase it at low cost. For these folks, we look at their long term care insurance as the first line of defense to protect their assets from costs related to a long term nursing home stay or a home health care situation. Even with long term care insurance, they can benefit from the counsel of a qualified elder law attorney to help coordinate their benefits.

Don’t like the idea, or don’t want to pay for it: For those who don’t necessarily like the idea of insurance, or simply don’t want to pay for the cost of insurance, it is more important than ever to learn how to protect their assets from the cost of the nursing home or home health care without purchasing insurance and the sooner, the better.

The moral of the story: Seek professional advice to make the best choice for you and your family. Learn more now by attending a free seminar. Click here to get more information about the free, informational seminars in your area.

Should You Buy Long Term Care Insurance?

by guest Roy Whited

Only you can decide if Long Term Care insurance is right for you. Your decision should depend on your personal health and wealth. Do your homework. Get a realistic idea of what you need and how much you can afford to pay. Make sure you can pay the premiums and still have enough money for basic needs such as housing, food, medicines, etc. Ask a trusted friend or relative to join you when analyzing your needs with a qualified insurance professional who can review the policy to see what you may have missed. Shop around, long-term care policies can have big differences in price and benefits.


What does Long Term Care Cost* in Ohio?
Care Provided Annual Cost
Nursing Home, Private Room $67,058
Nursing Home, Semi-Private Room $60,251
Assisted Living, Private One-Bedroom $29,738
At Home, with a Licenced Medicare-certified Home Health Aide – 50 hours/week $51,714
At Home, with Homemaker Services – 50 hours/week $44,122

How long are you likely to need it?
The average stay in a nursing home is 2.5 years. The average length of time for informal or custodial care in the home is 4.3 years.

When does Long Term Care Insurance make sense?

If your total financial assets are at least $75,000, not including your home or your car
If you will have annual retirement income of at least $25,000 to $35,000 for an individual of $35,000 to $50,000 for a couple
If you are able to pay premiums without financial difficulty. While premiums are designed to remain level based on your age at the time you buy, think about whether you would be able to afford premiums if there should be an increase in the future and;
If one of your major financial goals is to leave an inheritance to your children, grandchildren or other heirs.
Some people buy long-term care insurance for reasons other than to protect income or assets. They also buy for peace of mind, greater independence, greater ability to receive care at home, and greater choice of care options.
Remember if you can’t afford long-term care insurance, or for health reasons you can’t qualify for the insurance, consult an experience elderlaw attorney who can tell you about other options to pay for long term care and to preserve your wealth.

Sources: the Ohio Department of Insurance
“Own Your Future Planning Kit for Long Term Care: 2007 Cost of Care Survey”, Genworth Financial, March 2007



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