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Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Long Term Care Options

We have been looking into options in long term care insurance. This is a major expense and has long term implications. Now that I am past the initial research the more I learn the more questions I have . Searching the web I still cannot find unbiased feed back on this one :

One Option our Estate lawyer is describing is purchased by lump sum. It is, as I understand it, an annuity in an insurance product. It pays for an amount of LTC or if unused provides a death benefit. Part of me just thinks this sounds like the whole life insurance vs term life insurance debate. (As they know our assets I am a bit skeptical of even their soft sell )

Not yet 50 years old - we may opt to self insure (if the portfolio behaves ) - no health issues at this time .

Interested in how you weigh the need for such coverage and if so how the board feels such coverage is best structured .
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 01:02 PM   #2
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Re: Long Term Care Options

GLM,

This is one of the most widely discussed issues on the forum. Do a search for LTC or long term care and you'll have plenty of reading material. You should find it pretty helpful in realizing that most of us are pretty confused about the best strategy.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 01:38 PM   #3
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Yes , I did a search here too using" LTC" and "lump sum " did not find anything that addressed a policy that has LTC coverage with an life insurance component. (Just typing LTC I gave up looking after page 4 ) Do not want to resurrect the whole debate I was just thinking this might be a new product ? As I am new to looking at specific policies perhaps not....
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
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Re: Long Term Care Options

This is a product that came out a few years ago, I believe debuted by John Hancock. It is generally expensive (even by the standards of universal/whole life) and provides limited LTC benefits. I would skip it.

Either self insure or buy actual LTC from a financially strong company. I favor the former.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #5
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Re: Long Term Care Options

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Either self insure or buy actual LTC from a financially strong company. I favor the former.
ditto
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 02:22 PM   #6
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Hi,

I am a (semi-retired) financial advisor.....And even being in the business, I normally say "self-insure" if you can afford it.

LTC insurance is WAY complicated and (fairly) WAY expensive to boot! Avoid it if you can.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 02:45 PM   #7
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Another strategy for consideration if you're insurable: buy a level term life policy for 20 years with a death benefit comparable to a typical nursing home stay, say $250k (one for each member of a couple).

If you live long enough to self-insure for LTC, drop the policy at that time. Otherwise use your nest egg to pay for LTC and replete after death (typically 2-4 years after NH admission). Family can own the policies (with you and spouse as beneficiaries, kids as contingent beneficiaries) if you want a layer of protection should you become unable to manage your financial affairs.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Another strategy for consideration if you're insurable: buy a level term life policy for 20 years with a death benefit comparable to a typical nursing home stay, say $250k (one for each member of a couple).

If you live long enough to self-insure for LTC, drop the policy at that time. Otherwise use your nest egg to pay for LTC and replete after death (typically 2-4 years after NH admission). Family can own the policies (with you and spouse as beneficiaries, kids as contingent beneficiaries) if you want a layer of protection should you become unable to manage your financial affairs.

Not a bad idea Rich! Have you run any projection scenarios with premiums and potential costs?


Brew-man... What do you think about this type of approach?
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 06:19 PM   #9
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Another strategy for consideration if you're insurable: buy a level term life policy for 20 years with a death benefit comparable to a typical nursing home stay, say $250k (one for each member of a couple).
A big advantage of this system is that level term life policies are pretty well priced and understood.

20 years from now we'll look back on LTC policies and realize that the policies priced to make a profit for the insurance companies cost far more than people are willing to pay, while the "affordable" LTC policies all cost way too much in payouts and drove their insurers to insolvency. Either way the customer loses.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 06:39 PM   #10
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Re: Long Term Care Options

With my luck, I would need LTCI in the 21st year of my 20 year term

That is why we bought it. We view it more of asset protection for the surviving spouse, as a long stay in nursing or home care could leave little resources. When I looked into policies, I found those policies from group plans to be more expensive than individual policies. For example, the CalPERS insurance carrier must take all comers, and therefore has a spread rate. If when you get quotes, you and your spouse are a good risk, then you can get lower rates. You would be subsidizing the bad risks in a group policy. If on the other had you are not eligible for the preferred rates, than group plans work well.

As others have said, if you are not well off, no need. If you are very wealthy, self-insurance works. For the rest of us, I think some level of coverage is a good idea, and I hope it never gets used.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 07:24 PM   #11
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Thank you all . I like your idea too Rich . ( I too however am wondering if I would need LTC at year 21). We will probably end up with some sort of comprimise partial coverage . Needing bigger nest egg to totally self insure just moves ER out.


Everyone is sort of reinforcing my skepticism. Like investing in securites I don't fully comprehend, the complexities of LTC coverage makes it seem like something I want to avoid. Fortunately I don't need to do anything right now. With the "Boom" in elderly population arriving in the comming decades I hope the picture gets clearer as the date approaches.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 08:14 PM   #12
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by GLM
Thank you all . I like your idea too Rich . ( I too however am wondering if I would need LTC at year 21). just moves ER out.
Course, 20 year term was just an example -- choose your interval. But recall that 20 years from FIRE at, say, age 75 or 80, your jeopardy is greatly reduced due to life expectancy, and your nest egg will probably by then be big enough to self-insure. Meantime, you will have enjoyed 20 years of peace of mind (or financial protection if you have to use it).
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-19-2007, 09:42 PM   #13
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Re: Long Term Care Options

I decided to self insure. I have an automatic payment ($200/month) set up into a Vanguard Wellington fund (65/35 mix) so I don't have to mess with it. I'm 52, the account currently stands at $11K and I hope that a) I'll never need it and it can pass to our children, or b) if we do need it that it will be sufficient for out needs.

All types of insurance are a gamble one way or another and I don't think there is a single right answer when it comes to LTC
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 03:40 AM   #14
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Re: Long Term Care Options

I wonder if this idea may be a good supplemental approach for LTC policies where "Health Care Inflation" Outstrips ones LTC policy (the daily cap) over time.

Part of the problem is projecting (and dealing) with inflation. Life and LTC contracts can span 30, 40, 50 years. Just when you need it... it is worth very little.

At any rate, the idea bears a look.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 07:24 AM   #15
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Re: Long Term Care Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
Brew-man... What do you think about this type of approach?
Its fine as a partial hedge, but there is no guarantee that the amount of insurance would actually be enough to cover your LTC costs. I think that it is likely to be something of a wash anyway, since hanging onto the premiums and sticking them in a diversified portfolio may well beat the life policy payout in aggregate.

But if you have estate tax games to play o r other tax/legal strategies taht buying life insurance to hedge LTC costs would benefit, it moght be worth investigating. This is something I would do with the aid of an estate attaorney, though.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 09:42 AM   #16
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Re: Long Term Care Options

There's only a couple LTC companies that are strong enough and have committed to being a player in the LTC market. NML, Metlife, and John Hancock are the only ones I trust. Genworth isn't a sstrong as it used to be..........

My feeling is anyone with over $3 million can self-insure, anyone under can buy a policy if it gives them peace of mind and they can afford it. A client of mine recently got joint LTC with a $200 a day benefit, indexed for inflation for $2200 a year, they are age 62 and 58. Sounds like a lot of money, but assisted living is around $3500-$4000 a month where I live, and nursing home is $5000-$7000 a month................ :P :P

I guess another way would be to set up a dedicated "health care account"...........
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 09:56 AM   #17
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Re: Long Term Care Options

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
There's only a couple LTC companies that are strong enough and have committed to being a player in the LTC market. NML, Metlife, and John Hancock are the only ones I trust. Genworth isn't a sstrong as it used to be..........

My feeling is anyone with over $3 million can self-insure, anyone under can buy a policy if it gives them peace of mind and they can afford it. A client of mine recently got joint LTC with a $200 a day benefit, indexed for inflation for $2200 a year, they are age 62 and 58. Sounds like a lot of money, but assisted living is around $3500-$4000 a month where I live, and nursing home is $5000-$7000 a month................ :P :P

I guess another way would be to set up a dedicated "health care account"...........
Is the $3,000,000 for a single or a couple?

Will LTC insurance pay for assisted living. I thought that the events for payout for most policies mean nursing home care, not assisted living. Or perhaps this is something you can option into (and pay for) the policy?
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 10:35 AM   #18
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Re: Long Term Care Options

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I decided to self insure. I have an automatic payment ($200/month) set up into a Vanguard Wellington fund (65/35 mix) so I don't have to mess with it.
i have done something similar. more than several years ago i seriously considered LTC ins, and decided instead to invest (in a dedicated account) an amount equal to what the premium would have been. as it happened, the premium per month was approximately what the area NH cost/day was ... so i now uses the latter.
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 11:01 AM   #19
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Re: Long Term Care Options

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Originally Posted by youbet
Is the $3,000,000 for a single or a couple?

Will LTC insurance pay for assisted living. I thought that the events for payout for most policies mean nursing home care, not assisted living. Or perhaps this is something you can option into (and pay for) the policy?
I was referring to a couple for the $3 million. Most LTC will tell folks that number is really $4 million or higher.............

In the "old days", it HAD to be nursing home only. However, I have seen policies today that will cover assisted living. Most people mistakenly think of LTC as a "nursing home policy", which is incorrect. Truth is, most of us would want to be at home rather than a nursing home or assited living. Therefore, the "benefits per day" formula is frequently used.

A lot of folks will but a $150-$200 benefit per day for home care. The services are for those who need help but can do certain things themselves. If you would need a 24 hour nurse to be there, the $200 a day won't go very far.

Fact is, most folks aren't so sick they are going to be in the nursing home for a long period of time. In my case, I'm going to buy a daily benefit, and supplement my care with a seperate account I will begin funding at age 50.

FYI, most LTC is sold to folks aged 52-63 in the US..............
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Re: Long Term Care Options
Old 04-20-2007, 11:16 AM   #20
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Re: Long Term Care Options

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Fact is, most folks aren't so sick they are going to be in the nursing home for a long period of time. In my case, I'm going to buy a daily benefit, and supplement my care with a seperate account I will begin funding at age 50.
The policies I looked at, a while back, called for you to not be able to perform certain normal living functions (eating, bathing, dressing, can't remember exactly) before they would pay. Not being able to do these things looked like you'd wind up in a NH. If they've lightened up the requirements, that would be a good thing......

I also include the possibility of paying for help in my financial plans, although I do not fund a separate account as you do. I seem to be able to improve my returns on the money by keeping it within my one portfolio approach.......more flexibility, etc.
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