Different Clients. Different Long Term Care Concerns.
Every client is different, it’s true. But there are client types that share similar traits and needs. When it comes to long term care (LTC) and long term care insurance (LTCi), it’s definitely true. Let’s look at three client types and their specific LTC concerns and options:
Long term care is an issue that’s particularly important to women. They’re impacted as providers of care and, ultimately, as recipients of long term care.
More likely to need LTC*, women:
- Live about 5 years longer than men
- Have 10 times the chance (as men) of reaching age 85
- Age 75+ are far less likely to be married (38%) than men (74%)
- Over the age of 65 are twice as likely to be living alone
- Over the age of 65 include 980,000 nursing home residents versus 337,000 men
- Far more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease
Most frequent reasons women receive LTCi benefits:*
These are common, everyday ailments. And millions of women are diagnosed with them every day in the U.S. Do you know any of them?
- Married women:
- “My husband is wonderful and he loves me, but if I need long term care I don’t want to be dependent on him. I hope I never need it, but I feel much better knowing we’ve got a plan in place.” This is what one married client told us recently.
- Married women typically end up providing care to their spouses. But can they lift them from the bed to the toilet? Can they handle all the physical duties it’ll require? What about 20 years from now? It takes a toll both emotionally and physically. And then there’s the financial toll. Even if she provides the majority of his care, there will be other costs, possibly even hiring outside help. And what does that mean in the long run? Because women live longer than men (and are often younger than their spouses), the cost of his LTC could deplete their combined savings. What will she have to live on for the remainder of her life?
- Long term care can be a complicated and emotional topic for couples. Advisors can help start the discussion, explain the options, and help address the harsh realities your client couples may not want to tackle by themselves. LTC: How to talk to your clients can help.
- Single women:
- “I’ve worked hard to be independent. I don’t want to risk losing that independence. This policy will let me have fun and spend my money without worrying about how I’d manage if I end up needing care.” Words from an advisor's single LTCi client.
- For women living alone: if they need care, who will provide it? If they have to hire caregivers, how will the cost impact their savings and assets? While many think long term care is something you need at older ages, accidents and illnesses result in a need for LTC by women in their 40s and 50s.
2. Business Owners
Tax deductible long term care insurance is a great benefit for owners and their key employees. Business owners have greater latitude in their ability to deduct long term care insurance costs than individuals or couples. Insurance companies offer many forms of LTCi plans and flexibility designed specifically to meet the needs of small, medium, and large employers.
- When structured properly, there are no ERISA issues (unlike group health insurance)
- Policies can be portable (company-paid but personally owned) so employees can take them with them after leaving a company or retiring
- Corporate pricing breaks of 5-10%, along with substantial spousal or couples discounts
- Employers can pick and choose who participates in a plan. Smaller companies often choose to pay for LTCi for the owners and top key employees only.
- It’s becoming more common for businesses to offer LTCi to the rest of the employees with:
- Company-paid full LTCi policies for employees. Typically chosen when most employees are family members or have some sort of close relationship.
- Company-paid small base policy. Employees can purchase additional coverage at their own expense with payments through payroll deduction, and the policies are portable if they leave.
- Company-paid set percentage or dollar amount toward employees’ long term care policies. Employees then pay the cost difference.
- Company makes available LTCi policies to all employees for purchase. The company pays nothing toward a long term care insurance policy, but typically allows an insurance agent to conduct education sessions and work directly with employees to answer their questions.
- Many company plans include spouses and other family members, regardless of how they are implemented.
3. Federal Employees
Federal and Postal Service employees,active and retired members of the military, and qualified families who participate in the federal long term care insurance program had until September 30 to make important choices. Many were facing large rate increases. The Office of Personnel Management noted that longer life expectancies, higher than anticipated claims, and lower rates of return on the trust fund's investments accounted for the need to raise premiums.
While the federal LTCi policies are a good benefit to the employees, national experts recommended that these federal employees look into private market options to enhance or replace their coverage:
- While the number of LTC insurers is lower, those remaining have created streamlined solutions and still offer excellent coverage
- There are both traditional and linked benefit LTCi solutions
- A knowledgeable specialist like LLIS with expertise in both types of solutions and one who represents multiple insurance companies can help you get the best coverage for the most competitive cost
When switching policies (of any type), LLIS always recommends your clients make sure they’ve been approved before dropping existing coverage. And we notify them when it’s the appropriate time to do so.
Regardless of your client’s gender, age, or occupation, the time to plan is now. As professionals dedicated to helping people protect their assets, lifestyles, and choices, we encourage you to take this topic seriously.
Make Long Term Care Awareness Month the time you start planning.
* LifePlans Study of 2015 - 2016 Long Term Care Insurance Claimants