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Melissa Barnickel

Allies in Aging

While reading a recent article entitled, “3 Ways to Avoid Regrets in Retirement” on The Motley Fool’s website, I found this solid advice:  Make sure you won’t be over-relying on Social Security benefits Account for healthcare and long-term care costs in your retirement plan Don’t underestimate how long you’ll live in retirement I’d like to focus on points two and three, and restate them this way: You may live (much!) longer than you think   Health care and long term care costs can be HUGE To combat these problems, we need allies. To this end, I believe that one of the […]

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Centered and Resolute

My inbox recently displayed the subject line, “The Center of Your Celebrations”. No, it wasn’t about the matriarch or patriarch at your holiday dinners. Or even the newest member of the family. It involved a more pedestrian, though quite lovely, topic associated with holiday dinners, a promotion about table centerpieces. Maybe it’s just the time of year, but somehow it got me thinking:, “What would we consider the “centerpiece” of our own lives?”  Going even further, I began to wonder about what is the actual definition of a “center” to begin with? Personally, I think of a foundation, scaffolding, or […]

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The Gift of Choice – and Long Term Care

  By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance As we open up holiday cards and presents, as fun and festive as they are, it is also good to reflect on how the value of these items pale in comparison to the more meaningful gifts that life offers. Gifts such as spending time with friends and loved ones. Gifts that seem even more precious in our always on-the-go society. In a perfect world, most of us would choose to live out our retirement close to loving relatives and friends, celebrating milestones and holidays, together. If long term care was needed, it would […]

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Halloween and the Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance For 16 years, Genworth Financial has been producing what is considered the gold standard report on the cost of long term care. Other surveys have come and gone, but this one has remained the same.  Most people have no idea what long term care costs because they have never bought it! Even those that have an awareness of the cost through personal experience can be unaware of the difference in price based on your location. It’s important to realize that cost of care varies dramatically by your geography and the type of care you […]

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The Dementia Disaster

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance Ken Burns’ 2016 documentary on cancer titled, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, speaks to the fear that a cancer diagnosis strikes in the hearts of all. And this begs the question, if cancer is the emperor, what can then be said about other debilitating conditions such as dementia? Whatever comparison comes to mind, I think we can all agree that like a cancer diagnosis, a dementia prognosis can be terrifying— emotionally, and often financially, not only for the patient but also for everyone who loves them and even for society at large. Awareness […]

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The Best-Laid Plans

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance Did you hear the one about the couple who’d saved every penny for years to fulfill their dream of traveling the world once they’d retired? But then one of them unexpectedly passed, so the travel during retirement never happened? It’s not a joke. In fact, in today’s world the sudden, unexpected decline of a spouse cutting short long-laid retirement plans is so common that almost everyone knows someone who’s experienced a similar tragic turn of events. But what if, instead of death, it’s actually long-term care of a loved one that changes your once-solid […]

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Financial Truth Behind Continuing Care Retirement Communities

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance Between an ever-shifting investment market and a plethora of recent changes to the long-term care insurance industry, a continuing care retirement community (“CCRC”) may seem like a beneficial way to plan for your long-term care. After all, the annual median cost of an assisted living facility for 2015 in the US rang in at $43,200, while the annual median cost of private room nursing home care in the US reached $91,250. A continuing care community therefore allows you to purchase independent living housing with the promise of being able to move into an assisted […]

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The Definitive Annual Survey on Long Term Care Insurance

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance It is my pleasure to report highlights from the 2019 Milliman Long Term Care Insurance Survey, which was published in the July 2019 issue of Broker World magazine. This gold standard report for agents has been published for 21 consecutive years and focuses on stand-alone long term care insurance.   New Sales in 2018 The 15 carriers surveyed reported sales of 56,288 policies (including certificates—the term “policies” will be used in this article to cover both items), with new annualized premium of $171,537,644. This represents a 13.1% drop in the number of policies and a […]

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Not Just Asset Protection: How Private Long Term Care Can Protect Against Abuse

By: Melissa Barnickel at Baygroup Insurance It’s horrible in the abstract. Yet it’s even worse when it’s reported at a facility you know. The topic: elder abuse at the hands of professional caregivers. Elder abuse is far from a new issue. So it wasn’t a surprise to hear that the Senate Finance Committee recently held a hearing, “Not Forgotten: Preventing Americans from Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” Let that sink in. Why would the Senate finance committee be taking a look at this topic? It’s actually logical, once you remind yourself that the government is the source of the […]

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Wage Inflation and Long Term Care Planning

By:  Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance Today’s long term care insurance buyers have enjoyed a sustained multi-year period of low inflation. I say “enjoyed” because today’s buyers are normally pre-retirement, and therefore value low mortgage and interest rates more than their retired counterparts. Working consumers especially value low-interest rates, while retired investors relying on a fixed income from investments tend to value high-interest rates.   So, the topic of inflation is definitely a case of a two-edged sword, long term care being no exception. In fact, one of the reasons for rate increases on older long term care insurance policies is […]

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