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Melissa Barnickel

Youngish Term Care Claims

The prevailing wisdom is that long term care insurance claims don’t happen until well after traditional retirement age. Say, age 80+, or even 90+ if you’re lucky. And that’s true— usually. But let’s consider the exceptions. Imagine you’re 45, 55, or 65, and you just bought a long term care insurance policy. You’re probably thinking you’ve got a long time before the possibility of having to submit a claim might arise. That thinking is valid. If you’re healthy enough to qualify for coverage in the first place, a claim sooner rather than later would indeed be a surprise.

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Long Term Care Insurance – What It’s NOT

I find that the greater a person’s understanding is about exactly what long term care insurance can and cannot do, the more likely they are to clearly see its benefits. Long term care (LTC) insurance pays a monetary amount for covered care when the insured either needs assistance with defined activities of daily living and/or has met the policy’s definition of cognitive impairment. The essence of LTC insurance, like all other types of insurance I can think of, is that it provides money. That money protects the insured against financial loss. No more, no less. Long term care insurance doesn’t […]

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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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