• Will my children be able

    to afford the care I need?

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Long Term Care Insurance Underwriting and What to Expect During the Application Process

We tell consumers that while they pay for long term care insurance (LTCI) with their dollars they BUY the coverage with the health.  For those that want to buy LTCI they must first pass medical underwriting.  Insurance carriers will review each applicant’s prescription drug usage, medical records and for many require a blood and urine analysis and test for cognitive issues.  Do not worry, the majority of people under age 60 are approved but it is important to buy the coverage before a chronic condition becomes diagnosed.

Long term care insurance underwriting standards vary by provider, state, and year, but some factors tend toward the universal.

Gender – women generally live longer and are more likely than men to require long term care.

Family health history – if it is judged that you may inherit a certain disease, you may not qualify.

Age – under 60 you have a better than 50-50 chance of qualifying; over 60, less.

And most impactful of all, personal health history and current medical status – this can be a deal-breaker, if you already need long term care, or have a serious medical condition such as the following:

AIDS/HIV
ALS
Alzheimer’s
Arthritis
Cirrhosis of the Liver
Cystic Fibrosis
Diabetes
Dementia or Loss of Memory
Hepatitis
Hutchinson’s
Lupus
Multiple Sclerosis
Muscular Dystrophy
Osteoporosis
Parkinson’s
Renal Disease
Sickle Cell Anemia

Please note that this is not a complete list, but only a suggestion of some of the prevalent types of pre-existing conditions that many insurers cite as disqualifying an applicant from receiving long term care insurance.

Finally, the industry is evolving. The number of claims has increased in the last few years, prompting insurers to look more closely at underwriting standards, and to tighten them up. Some providers
may require urine tests, blood tests, genetic tests, or other examinations before granting coverage. Insurance is insurance, and business is business. As a consumer, learning more about your options sooner rather than later is a smart item to put on your to-do list.

LTC Consumer is an independent, free online service to help consumers understand what long term care insurance is, how it works, and how to evaluate coverage options. Our mission is to provide an educational, no-pressure resource for learning about long term care planning, with the opportunity to speak with specialists who can
help them.

How your parents health can affect YOUR Long Term Care Insurance

Genes matter. They make your eyes blue, your skin brown, or your heart strong. They can also make you less prone to inheritable diseases that insurance actuaries pay attention to. If your parents and grandparents did not have certain ailments that would have made their need for long term care more likely, your chances of qualifying for long term care insurance could go up a little. And your premiums could go down.

Then there are diseases that leave you relatively healthy medically but impose assistance in daily living. These include coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and – especially notorious in terms of qualifying for LTCI – Huntington’s disease. In fact, it’s 50-50 that someone whose parent had Huntington’s will have it too, and unfortunately that’s a risk LTCI providers are not willing to take.
(No one ever said life was fair.)

And what about ObamaCare? The Affordable Care Act does not let insurance adjusters set rates for traditional healthcare insurance based on pre-existing conditions.  Unfortunately, this part of the law DOES NOT apply to long term care insurance. For better or for worse, genes matter.

There’s a flip side, too. The better your family health history is, and the more healthy you are, could mean you are more likely you are to end up needing long term care eventually, because you’re more likely to live a very long life. Catch 22! So your best course is to do a little homework about your parents’ and grandparents’ major health issues, and then consult with an expert about the effects on potential premiums for long term care insurance coverage for yourself. If the forecast is somewhere between terrible and terrific,
LTCI may be right for you.

Population of Long Term Care Patients Increasing

The population of people needing long term health care services in the US – both in percentage and in sheer numbers – continues to increase. It has been for many years. Here are three reasons why.

1 – Baby boomers. The generation born in the years after World War II ended has reached senior status. There are more elderly than ever before, and they comprise a higher percentage of the total populace than ever before. These numbers mean that more and more people will need some form of long term care in their final years.

2 – Longer life. Between advances in medical science and improved general education about and attention to overall health, the average American’s life expectancy is longer than that of all previous generations. And the longer one lives, the more likely one is to require long term care at some point.

3 – Fewer caregivers. Longer lives also mean more widows and widowers. Without a spouse or significant other around to help with care, people are more likely to seek help at long term care facilities or hire in home nurses.  Also, many people are single in the first place, and many do not have adult children who are willing and able to provide care for their parents. Having fewer “built-in” family caregivers puts a greater burden – in time and in money – on other sources of long term care.

These and other factors (the rise of diabetes and obesity, for instance) combine to create a potential societal crisis around the provision of and payment for long term care. If across-the-board solutions are not forthcoming, it falls to individual families to deal with their own specific situations. That’s where long term care insurance comes in.

LTCI is a way for middle-income people to plan ahead, and apply for coverage that extends beyond what traditional health insurance covers. It can serve as a way to protect retirement savings, prepare for an uncertain future, and gain invaluable peace of mind. Experts are available to help consumers understand how it works, explore the many available options, and get down to the specifics of suitable policies and premiums. And sooner is better than later – we’re not getting any younger.

LTC Consumer is an independent, free online service to help consumers understand what long term care insurance is, how it works, and how to evaluate coverage options. Our mission is to provide an educational, no-pressure resource for learning about long term care planning, with the opportunity to speak with specialists who can
help them.

Reasons not to plan for LTC, ranked from bad to worse

Human beings are very, very good at rationalizing their behavior, both before and after it takes place.  Increasingly, many people are hearing about long term care insurance (LTCI), but deciding not to learn more about it, based on anything from a seemingly rational reason to various forms of denial to flat-out refusal to talk about it. Long term care insurance may not turn out to be right for every family – but having a plan for long term care certainly is.

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Choosing the Benefit Period for Your Long Term Care Insurance

How long is long term? Many consumers wonder how long is the appropriate length long term care benefits should last. The most popular benefit period 5 years ago was lifetime benefits and we are now discovering that for the vast majority of consumers, this is too long.

The most common purchased benefit period today is 3 years.  Why?  The average length of claim is 2.8 years and more than 90% of the time a claim doesn’t last more than 5 years.  Should a person find they need more than 3 years of help, they have bought a lot of time to financially prepare for more care. Continue reading

Three Parental Fears, One Practical Answer

Getting old is inevitable and if your parents are like most, they have at least three specific fears about the future.  Health.  Money.  Independence .

Fears about health

Maintaining good health, avoiding serious illness and injury, and providing for needed health care – including long term care – are almost certainly on the minds of your parents. No one wants to suffer, or become a burden on their family, or find themselves in circumstances that keep them of their desired quality of life. Continue reading

Planning for Retirement Healthcare: 3 Critical Components

Planning for the golden years means not just planning for what income is needed to retire but also what new additional costs may arise.  Studies show that many Americans have not considered the costs of healthcare in retirement and the impacts that these costs can have on outliving their money.   According to a 2014 Fidelity Investment article, the average retiree will spend a total of $220,000 for healthcare. Continue reading

Why Long Term Care Insurance Costs More for Women

Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

-Mark Twain

Most people know that women live longer than men on average.   According to a CIA 2014 study, women in the US have a life expectancy of 82 and men 77.  According to Time Magazine, Gertrude Weaver from Arkansas just celebrated her 116th birthday on July 4th as the oldest living American!  Living a long life has its advantages; but often times as we age, unfortunately, our health and mobility aren’t able to keep up. Continue reading

Will Medicare, Medicaid pay for Long Term Care?

No, and Yes.

Many Americans are surprised when they learn that Medicare generally does not cover long term care (LTC). They often learn this right after finding out that their regular health care insurance does not cover LTC either. (There are exceptions under certain policies in some states; consult your financial advisor or insurance agent to find out about coverage in your case.) Continue reading