Melissa Barnickel

Pumpkin Spice, Holidays, and Long Term Care

Here are a few indicators that summer is over: Labor Day School buses out on the streets And pumpkin spice…in, well, just about everything  I don’t remember this phenomenon of pumpkin spice infiltrating autumn 20 years ago; but I do know that today it’s inescapable. From coffee to air fresheners, to (believe it or not) Milk-Bone dog treats! My guess about the appeal of pumpkin spice is that just when we are mourning the loss of summer, the scent evokes coziness and comfort. A kind of autumnal consolation. If pumpkin spice were a holiday, it would be Thanksgiving, not Halloween—for […]

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Survey Says: The 24th Annual Survey on Long Term Care Insurance

The yearly “Milliman Long Term Care Insurance Survey” was recently published by Broker World magazine. As in previous years, the survey covers the prior year’s standalone long term care insurance sales as reported by insurers, so the data in the article refers to 2021. The value of this survey is the ability it provides to identify changes in the long term care insurance market, buyer profile, and policy selection. Each year’s survey is filled chock-a-block with interesting nuggets of information. Specific metrics, from how long it takes for an application to go through the underwriting process, to the age of […]

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Long Term Care: Knowing vs. Understanding

It’s one thing to know something, quite a different thing to understand it. Knowing is more academic, objective. When you know something, you’ll get the right answer on a quiz. Understanding? Well, I believe that’s more under your skin. In your bones. Relevant to your life.

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The Battle of the Sexes: Long Term Care Version

Fifty years ago, Billie Jean King (then age 29) soundly beat self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs (then age 55) in an event dubbed the Battle of the Sexes. Although a lot has changed in American society since the ‘70s (for better or worse), when you look at long term care what you often see is a throwback to traditional gender roles. It’s important to understand that, as I’ve indicated in previous articles, long term care is frequently a women’s problem. Here’s one reason why: on average women live longer than men, therefore women are more likely to need extended long […]

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The Elephant in the Retirement Planning Room

Odds are that among all your friends, relatives, advisors, and colleagues, very few have ever talked with you about the importance of planning for a future care need. Can’t blame them— it’s definitely not the most exciting of topics.  

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Long Term Care Preparedness: Crafting Your Long Term Care Safety Net

Imagine trying to design a home if you didn’t know the local building codes, zoning laws, what materials were available and what they cost, and how to get utilities to the property. Now you know how most people feel when they (or a family member) need long term care. Thinking ahead now, in advance of an acute care need, can take out some of the sting when this emergency situation arises.

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What Every Policyholder Can Do to Make Claim Time Easier

Whether you’re a new long term care insurance policyholder (congratulations!), or you’re a family member of a policyholder and you’re anticipating a need for that person’s care, this article can help you get your claim paid quickly and with minimal stress.

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The Mother of All Reasons for Having a Long Term Care Insurance Policy

female family members

It’s frequently said that long term care is a women’s issue, and there’s a lot of evidence to support that point of view. Sixty percent of family caregivers (read: unpaid) are female. Not only is the majority of long term care provided by women, but a visit to any assisted living facility, nursing home, or continuing care retirement community quickly confirms that most professional (read: paid) long term care is provided to women.  

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Inflation and Long Term Care Insurance


Prospects of higher inflation may strike fear in the hearts of most people. However, long term care insurance policyholders may actually have quite a different reaction. Let me explain:  

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An Alphabet Soup of Long Term Care Choices: Are ADUs the New ALFs?

office kitchen

Decades ago, when someone needed long term care, it would often be provided at home. The only other option was to move to a nursing home, which most believed was a choice of last resort. Although nursing homes are still frequently seen as one of the less desirable options when it comes to long term care, what has changed is the laundry-list of home-based care and senior housing options.  

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