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Melissa Barnickel

The Dementia Disaster

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 of the increasing frequency of dementia […]

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The Best-Laid Plans

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 retirement plans into unfulfilled dreams? We’re […]

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Financial Truth Behind Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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 living or nursing home if the […]

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The Definitive Annual Survey on Long Term Care 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 5.5 % drop in the amount […]

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

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 majority of nursing home revenue.   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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New Long Term Care Insurance Policies: The Specs

By:  Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance Have you ever wondered about what the policies look like for all the people who bought traditional, standalone long term care insurance (LTCI) in 2017— the latest year for which there are statistics available? That’s what I’m sharing with you this month, together with all the specifications on the policies. When I previously wrote about the article I read in Broker World, I mentioned it encompassed 12 dense pages and included 28 tables of statistics! These statistics are from the 2018 Milliman LTCI Survey, printed in Broker World magazine. Like any statistics surrounding a highly-customizable […]

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So Many Ways to Solve Your Long Term Care Problem

By:  Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance The first buyers of automobiles had only one choice: a black Model T. Decades ago, the first people buying long term care insurance faced a similar situation— there weren’t many choices. But with an apology to our feline friends, these days one could say that, when it comes to solving the problem of long term care financing, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.   For starters, there’s traditional long term care insurance (LTCI). The product has many varieties, including facility only, home care only, shared care for 2 insureds, among other variations. […]

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Psssst: How Does an Extra $100,000 – $1,000,000 sound?

By:  Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance One of the cruelest realities of professional long term care is not only the high cost (not covered by Medicare or other health insurance), but the fact that, when we need care, we are in no place physically or mentally to rally and easily meet the expense. It’s also likely that our family isn’t either. In many cases, we (or our family) end up making next-to-impossible, painful decisions: Should we raid IRAs, pensions and CDs to pay for private care, paying taxes and applicable penalties, leaving less for our spouse in their retirement? Should […]

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Checking in on New Year’s Resolutions (and a Bit on Gift Cards)

Written by Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance Here’s something that’s a bit crazy to think about— we’re a quarter of the way through 2019 already! Which makes it a great time to check in on those New Year’s resolutions we made way back when and see which we kept and which we might want to start working on again. Yes, most of us probably said we want to get into better shape, which is why to exercise more or lose weight were the top resolutions for 38% of us. However, I’d like to talk about a resolution that might not […]

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