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November is Long-Term Care Awareness month!  I am writing today to encourage you to review your plan of action should a long-term care crisis arise.  Current statistics are showing 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will face the need for long-term care services at some point in their lifetime. 

I came across this report, The Many Faces of Caregivers: A Close Up Look at Caregiving and Its Impacts.  This is an in-depth report that explains what unpaid caregivers will cope with including a host of financial and health-related challenges – both for themselves and those they care for.  Will our family members or friends provide care for us when the times comes…of course they will!  But, here are a few statistics from this report that show the impact of being a caregiver.  Fifty-five percent of caregivers say that their own health is taking a back seat to the health of their care recipient.  Sixty-nine percent gave little or no consideration to their own financial situation when deciding to become a caregiver.  Fifty-five percent of caregivers say their caregiving duties leave them physically and emotionally exhausted.  Forty-four percent say their duties leave them feeling completely overwhelmed.  Is this the burden we want to leave to our family members and friends?  It’s important that we put meaningful solutions in place to protect our loved ones. 

Let’s face it – this isn’t a topic that we enjoy discussing – but with proper planning, we can ensure that our family members are not shouldering the burden of providing care. 

There are many different options available today from short-term care to traditional long-term care, and products linked with life insurance or annuities.  Did you know that you under the Pension Protection Act it may be possible to exchange an older annuity into a new product that will provide a benefit for long-term care?  By electing for this exchange, any previous gain in the older annuity is transferred to the new product without incurring a tax penalty. 

There is a no “one size, fits all” strategy for a plan of action. It’s important to work with a specialist in this area and that’s where I come in. Our agency has over 18 years of experience working with clients such as yourself. We are happy to include your family members in our conversation. Set a deadline for yourself and make this planning a priority. We never expect our health to change – sadly, it can happen in the blink of an eye.

It’s important to work with an agent that specializes in long-term care to ensure you receive an array of products and options that best fit your needs and  goals.  Let’s put a plan in place for you today to ensure that your family doesn’t have to make these difficult caregiving choices alone.  Please call me for more information. 800-789-5191

Sincerely, 


Matt Sussman, CLTC

 

PS:  You can view the report here: http://ltcsolutions.net/the-many-faces-of-caregivers-research-report-2017.pdf

 





On 60 minutes (CBS News) Sunday, the 22nd of April, they had a special segment on Alzheimer’s Disease.  This is a must-see for everyone!  We finally see a true glimpse of what it means to be a caregiver to an Alzheimer’s patient.  They have followed a couple for the past 10 years after the wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease nearly 14 years ago.  They interviewed the wife each year and it was shocking to see how with each passing year, her health continues to deteriorate.  The husband agreed to share their story in an attempt to advise people to be more prepared for caregiving decisions than they were.
 
Here is the link to the segment:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/alzheimers-disease-following-a-couple-from-diagnosis-to-the-final-stages/
 
The latest statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association say that every 65 seconds, another American is diagnosed with the disease and that is expected to increase to every 33 seconds by mid-century.  Nearly 2/3’s of those diagnosed are women!
 
As 60 minutes portrays – of course - we – as family members will take care of our loved ones with such a devastating disease.  But, as time goes on – (for this couple 14 years!) it becomes harder and harder to meet those demands.  Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll on caregivers.  Compared with caregivers of people without dementia, twice as many caregivers of those with dementia indicate substantial emotional, financial and physical difficulties. 
 
The husband in this story, eventually hired an aid at $40,000/year for part-time assistance.  Then, he increased this care to 24-hours at a significant increase in cost.  His savings is dwindling…with no end of in-sight to the level of care his wife requires. 
 
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the total lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia, 70 percent is borne by families – either through out-of-pocket health and long-term care expenses or from the value of unpaid care. 
 
Doesn’t it make more financial sense to transfer some of that risk (cost of care) to an insurance company? 
 
There are many options available today to assist in paying for the cost of aging and dependency (long-term care).  They include; long-term care insurance, both traditional and asset-based (tied to a life insurance or annuity), or even a 1035 exchange from an older life insurance policy or an annuity to a qualified long-term care policy.   I also have products that offer an “unlimited or lifetime” benefit.
 
It’s important to work with an agent that specializes in long-term care to ensure you receive an array of products and options that best fit your needs and  goals.  Let’s put a plan in place for you today to ensure that your family doesn’t have to make these difficult caregiving choices alone.  Please call me for more information. 800-789-5191
 
Sincerely,
 
Matt Sussman, CLTC


By Matt Sussman, CLTC
American Insurance Planners, Inc.

 

 

Genworth Financial recently released their 2017 cost of care survey and the results may have you cleaning coffee off your screens. The results reflect the median cost of long term care services, which increased by 4.5% from 2016 to 2017. This is the second highest year-over-year increase in cost for long-term care in history.

There is some good news for us, though, as the Philadelphia area is not the average. When we think of being below-average, it is usually a negative connotation, and usually applied to the Phillies. In this case, however, I encourage you to embrace being below-average. The cost of a private nursing home increased by only 2%—to $131,400 a year—and the cost for a private one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility increased by 3%—to $52,500 a year.

The most common type of care is at home. And the cost for a homemaker health aid increased to $52,620—or just over a 1% from 2016—based on 44 hours of care per week for 52 weeks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 41.3 million people providing unpaid eldercare at home, and about one-fourth of eldercare providers engage in unpaid eldercare on a given day, spending an average of 2.8 hours providing this care.

The question I always like to ask folks when I meet with them is: What is your plan should you need care at home? In most cases, they don’t have a plan, as most folks think it will not happen to them.

It is very important for you and your family to have a plan in place. Having long term care insurance is certainly one option, but it is not the only option. The plan could be that, if you need care at home, your spouse will take care of you, your children will also help take care of you, or you may be earmarking funds that can be used to pay for a home health care individual to come in and take care of you. Or maybe even option “D”, all the above. But there should be something. As they say, failing to plan is a plan for failure.

We know when it comes to needing care in an assisted living facility or nursing home, there is no getting away from the tremendous costs. If you have not planned ahead, the only recourse is government assistance via Medicaid, which only kicks in once you and your spouse have spent down everything else.

There are more insurance options today than ever before to help pay for the care in a facility or even at home. Some plans even offer a death benefit paid out to the beneficiaries should the person covered never require long-term care.

If you think care in a home or facility is something you may need down the road and want to get a proper start on research, please contact Matt Sussman, CLTC at 800-789-5191 or msussman@aiplanners.com.


By Matt Sussman, CLTC
American Insurance Planners, Inc.

 

 

How many times have you said that “it” is not going to happen to me? I know I have, and all of a sudden, “it” happens. Does this behavior stem from denial? Lack of being prepared? Maybe a little bit of both? Well, let’s talk about “it” not happening.

What I am talking about is the possibility that each one of us may need extended care sometime in our lives. I know, “it” is not going to happen to me. I even asked Peter’s crystal ball, “Will I ever need care?” To my delight, it was cloudy. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people turning age 65 this year can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives (read here). Although this information is credible, it may be hard to relate to.

Personally, I am a bit more realistic, as I believe only about 50% of the people will need care while the other 50% will not need care. The real question is “Which side of the equation will you be on?”  If you guess wrong and you do need care, how will that impact the ones that you love and care about? How will it affect them emotionally, physically and financially?

Due to this uncertainly, it is prudent to address how you are going to handle this real issue. Based on John Hancock’s 2016 Cost of Care Study (read here), the average cost of a private nursing home today in the Philadelphia area is $110,321 a year. How would your financial plan be disrupted if you unexpectedly had this bill? Where would the money come from first? Would there be tax consequences to using this money?  What would it do to the current financial obligations you already have?

Today, there are more insurance options than ever before to help fund the need for extended care, whether it be at home or in a facility. With these planning options, we can help offset that cost of care and you will pay pennies on the dollar if care is needed. 

Your financial plan is only as good as your weakest link, and as Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

If you would like to learn more about Philadelphia long term care planning and if it may be right for you, please contact me at (800) 789-5191 or info@aiplanners.com.


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