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Melissa Barnickel

Opinions and Facts: Long Term Care Insurance

If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic we’re all living through, it’s the spotlight on long term care. Families with loved ones in senior care homes, whether assisted living units, nursing homes, or other facilities, were confronted right from the start with difficulties previously not considered. From lockdowns impacting visits to infection control protocols, strong or weak, it’s safe to say a wide swath of the American public now has a new awareness of long term care that is provided within residential facilities. Home care was also impacted by the pandemic. Who exactly was taking care of Mom or […]

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The Definitive Annual Survey on Long Term Care Insurance

Once a year I report highlights from the annual “Milliman Long Term Care Insurance Survey”—and right on schedule, the latest survey has just been published in the July 2021 issue of Broker World magazine. This gold standard report for agents, which focuses on stand-alone long term care insurance, has been produced for 23 consecutive years. You may recall from my previous summaries that, although the report comes out in July, it covers the prior year’s sales as reported by insurers.  New Sales in 2020 Twelve insurers reported $149 million in new 2020 annualized premium sales (including exercised Future Purchase Options), […]

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Long Term Care Planning With a Holiday Focus

Perhaps because this year our summer holidays have coincided with a marked reduction in the number of pandemic cases and deaths, those special days now seem more celebratory than ever:   Mother’s Day Memorial Day Juneteenth Father’s Day Independence Day Labor Day These holidays aren’t all about sweetness and light. Most mothers and fathers will tell you there’s a fair amount of pain and sacrifice that comes along with the joy and recognition. In fact, all these holidays honor and recognize pain, sacrifice, and freedom.   As I consider these holidays through the lens of long term care, I’m struck by how […]

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How to Make the Very Difficult Easier

There’s a reason why most purchasers of long term care insurance are individuals who’ve gone through a caregiving experience. They understand what it means to be a caregiver, or, though not a caregiver themselves, they may have witnessed enough of the travails of caregiving to recognize the value of a policy. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the term “rabbit hole” as, “a complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends.” The definition continues, “especially: one in which the pursuit of something (such as an answer or solution) leads to other questions, problems, […]

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Long Term Care Planning News

In addition to keeping on top of developments in long term care insurance, an insurance agent must keep abreast of care options. After all, most people who engage in long term care planning have at least some kind of care in mind when they consider long term care insurance. Sometimes it’s a place they know and have decided it’s where they’d like to receive care. Or it can be knowledge as simple as the place or type of situation that they absolutely know they want to avoid!  It’s almost certain that any time we take the pulse of long term […]

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Spring Cleaning and Your Long Term Care Plan

The birds are chirping and spring is in the air. Time for a deep clean, and let the sun shine in!  But wait—besides rugs, furniture, and fabrics, there are other items to be shaken out too. Once your tax return has been filed, it’s time to focus on those oft-neglected but important items that are so easy to overlook.  You won’t be surprised that I’m calling your attention to your long term care insurance.    Do you have a policy? If not, I’d strongly suggest that you, like the birds who are very busy now building solid nests, build a solid […]

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Management and Risk in Your Long Term Care Planning

Whether we’re discussing retirement planning, long term care providers, or life in general, management matters—and so does risk. Let’s consider a caregiving organization.   Management matters. From the day-to-day micro-decisions to the 6-month to 20-year+ strategic decisions. Operations. Policies and procedures. Systems that make it harder to screw up. Monitoring and course-correcting. Hiring the right team and firing when necessary. Inspiring and leading. All these can impact your quality of life when you need care.  Risk matters. Risk is a part of every decision made by strong managers. What if a disaster happens? Or there’s a change in regulation? The risk […]

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Beware: Some Advice About Long Term Care Planning Can Border on Foolish

In a column dated January 17, 2021, the writers at The Motley Fool opined about, “how to prepare for disasters.” They wrote that, “it’s fine to prepare for unlikely disasters, perhaps by buying earthquake insurance in a low-risk region—or keeping garlic on you in case of vampire attack.” They continued, “but be sure that you’re preparing for more likely disasters…such as these:   Having a bad credit score   Losing your job   Needing long-term care   Not being able to retire.” Regarding item number three, they rightly advised: “Long-term care is an important issue everyone should consider.” Their reasoning, […]

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Covid Vaccines and Long Term Care Planning

Although the Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and VA facilities have been front page news, the impact of the pandemic on long term care planning hasn’t been widely discussed. This is understandable, as most Americans are grappling with the pandemic’s impact on their immediate needs such as their health, income, and childcare and schooling for their children and grandchildren. Because long term care planning is an important part of every person’s retirement planning, I’d like to take some time to focus on it at this critical moment, when vaccines are finally here. Let’s reflect on what the pandemic has already […]

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Last Minute Holiday Gift: Long Term Care Insurance Tax Deduction

Imagine a gift that gives not only to the family and friends you love, but to yourself as well. But, as they say, “Wait, there’s more!” In fact, this gift is often tax-deductible! Yes, it does sound too good to be true…but luckily, it’s not. That holiday gift which benefits you and the ones you love, is in fact a long term care insurance with a tax deduction. Business owners of all types can deduct long term care insurance premiums on their federal income taxes.  Not a business owner? You may still be eligible to deduct premiums. Depending on where […]

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