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View Poll Results: Purchase a LTC Policy or Not?
No, I plan to Self-Insure 78 43.33%
I already have purchased a Policy when <60 years old 52 28.89%
I already have purchased a policy when >60 years old 8 4.44%
I am actively searching to purchase a policy now 6 3.33%
I cannot figure out the cost/benefits of this yet! 36 20.00%
Voters: 180. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:35 PM   #21
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Difficult to figure out. As with any insurance, you pay hoping you never have to use it. Worse case, it is money well spent. The increase in premiums and difficulty in claims being paid (as I have read) are concerns as well.
These concerns have kept me from buying LTC insurance as well. I have close friends and relatives that have experienced each and felt they had been scammed.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #22
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It is very tough to decide what to do but we decided to self insure and set aside my deductible IRA about 8 years ago as an LTC nest-egg. It is excluded from our retirement savings. Since ER'ing I've converted it to a Roth and do a Roth conversion of $5k/year into it. That $5k/year is counted as an expense in the budget.

If we are lucky we won't ever need it and the kids will get it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:49 PM   #23
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They are like many annuities... the one who really profits is the insurance company.
I wonder about that. My father paid in a little more than $11K in just over 18 years, and now over the next three years he'll collect a total of $318K in LTC benefits.

I'd hate to think of how may insureds abandoned their policies (or died) for John Hancock to make a profit even after paying off my Dad's policy.

Of course another possibility is that the insurance companies have grossly underestimated the costs of their commitments and won't be able to make good on them. Why, it would almost be as if they were focused more on grabbing market share than on making money. Nah, that can't be right-- no corporation would be that shortsighted...
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #24
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I think when it comes to LTC or self-insure, there really is not clear cut answer.

Now to retire early or not? That's an easy answer!
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:53 PM   #25
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I have a LTC policy for several years (before 60); am seriously considering just dropping it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #26
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Maybe you can donate it to some homeless person.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:24 PM   #27
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I haven't purchased LTCI because I can't find a policy that fills my needs. I want catastrophic coverage only. To me, this means a long, perhaps 2 years, waiting period followed by lifetime coverage at a high, cola'd per diem. I would expect the premium to be low since the probability of using a policy with a 2 year waiting period would be very small. In our situation, this is what we need. Self-insuring for 1 or 2 years is easy. We need, and only want to pay for, coverage for the catastrophic situation that one or both of us needs LTC for many years.

While doing research on Medicare supplemental policies, I also inquired with several of the same agents about the availability of this type of LTCI coverage. No one has it. They were all interested in selling me LTCI, their companies just didn't offer inexpensive, catastrophic only coverage.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #28
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DW and I purchased a few years ago at 48 and 50 respectively. There are many reasons why we decided to go with LTC:

1) If either of us needed LTC soon our nest egg is not sufficient to self insure so the LTC policy provides a "peace of mind" factor.

2) We are insuring against the likelihood that one or both of us will require a significant amount of care at a relatively young age - due to an extended illness or an accident - rather than a prolonged period of decline at a later age. If the illness or accident occurs at a young age there's a reasonable expectation that we will recover. Once again, our nest egg will not handle this at a young age.

3) We may drop the LTC policy in later years if our funds grow sufficiently and will provide a level of self-inurance.

4) Our LTC policy provides for home care, home modifications, and some home medical equipment. It also provides that one of the covered individuals can use the dollar value of the second person's coverage if needed.

Living in a LTC facility is not my first choice. I'd rather be at home. However, we've known several people that have lived in LTC facilities and I was pleasantly surprised how good the facilities were. Of course, that's not the case with all locations.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:54 PM   #29
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Both DW's parents and my parents spent their last days in nursing homes, with stays from five months to just over three years before they died. This was the deciding factor in DW and I purchasing LTC policies 13 years ago.

Our polices have limited bells and whistles: $100/day initial benefits (now $188/day), 5% compound benefit option, includes home health care, 3 year benefit period, 90 day waiting period. We're paying a combined $1,166/yr and have not had any premium increase - at least not so far.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #30
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Living in a LTC facility is not my first choice. I'd rather be at home. However, we've known several people that have lived in LTC facilities and I was pleasantly surprised how good the facilities were. Of course, that's not the case with all locations.
Everybody is different, but my father spent the last 25 years being a hermit "at home". When he was no longer able to live on his own and went to a care facility, the improvement was huge.

It's not just being able to socialize with others. (Mid-stage Alzheimer's means that every day for him is "getting to know you" chit-chat, and every day it starts over.) It's also a better diet, more group activities, centralized services like a gym and skilled nursing and a doctor and a dentist, and expert geriatric knowledge.

A facility offers semi-privacy in a room with a world of help just outside the door. When it gets to the point where just getting out of bed and getting dressed takes most of the morning, "home" is more of a prison than a castle.

In the hospital when he went through his phase of "I'm going back home", we researched the costs. A live-in staff for a man would have started at over $400/day-- plus rent, utilities, groceries, and all the other expenses of maintaining a residence. In the care facility he's paying $214/day.

I'm not a big fan of roommates myself (maybe it's genetic) but I think a group facility would offer more life-lengthening stimulation and a lot less isolation.

Of course a big advantage of living at home is that it's much easier to stockpile alcohol & Percocet. Assuming at that point you still remember what can be done with them.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:22 PM   #31
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2) We are insuring against the likelihood that one or both of us will require a significant amount of care at a relatively young age - due to an extended illness or an accident - rather than a prolonged period of decline at a later age. If the illness or accident occurs at a young age there's a reasonable expectation that we will recover. Once again, our nest egg will not handle this at a young age.

Does this mean your policy includes lifetime coverage? You or DW could require care indefinitely and they would continue to pay?
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #32
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I think when it comes to LTC or self-insure, there really is not clear cut answer.

Now to retire early or not? That's an easy answer!
I read 40% of people 65 years or older will be in a nursing home. Only 10% of that 40% will be there longer than 5 years. I can afford to pay 5 years and will take my chance I am part of the overwhelming majority that wont be there or will be there a very short time. I must admit that I refuse to be " insurance rich" and cash poor. Or at least while Im not in the nursing home anyways.

BTW- Easysurfer, I believe this lady would aurgue with you on whether retiring early or not is an easy answer
http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0312/neubauero.html
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:46 PM   #33
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Both DW's parents and my parents spent their last days in nursing homes, with stays from five months to just over three years before they died. This was the deciding factor in DW and I purchasing LTC policies 13 years ago.

Our polices have limited bells and whistles: $100/day initial benefits (now $188/day), 5% compound benefit option, includes home health care, 3 year benefit period, 90 day waiting period. We're paying a combined $1,166/yr and have not had any premium increase - at least not so far.
Your premium sounds attractive but aren't you concerned about the 3 year benefit period? I'm having trouble getting my head around insuring against a risk but leaving the real problem - a long stay - uncovered.

Neither my or DW's parents spent a day in a NH (so far, DW's mom is still alive) but that hasn't influenced our decision to self-insure. We tend to look at the larger picture. But since we haven't purchased LTCI yet and we're in our mid-60's, we'd like to find a high deductible equivalent that only protects us in the event of a financially crushing long stay. We can handle the 1 - 2 - 3 year scenario OK. I would still consider us "self-insured" since most stays are less than 3 years. But I'd feel better if I could find a way to put a limit on the pain of financing a long stay with some sort of high deductible coverage that would take over in the unlikely scenario where one of us lived in a NH for many years.

It's troublesome to figure out.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:11 PM   #34
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Your premium sounds attractive but aren't you concerned about the 3 year benefit period? I'm having trouble getting my head around insuring against a risk but leaving the real problem - a long stay - uncovered.
We took a 180 degree approach to your self-insure for a short stay strategy. The odds of a stay longer than three years are so small (see chart here) we chose to go with the much higher probability risk. I suppose the ideal option would be a lifetime care catastrophic plan with a one, two, or even three year waiting period, but no one offers them and only wierdos the most discerning of us would purchase such a policy.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:11 PM   #35
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Does this mean your policy includes lifetime coverage? You or DW could require care indefinitely and they would continue to pay?
No, not lifetime coverage. But if only one of us uses the coverage that person receives twice the amount (meaning they will pay 2X the normal time until the maximum is paid out). Not perfect but once again, trying to protect the nest egg in the early years and probably self-insuring in later years.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:34 PM   #36
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Your premium sounds attractive but aren't you concerned about the 3 year benefit period? I'm having trouble getting my head around insuring against a risk but leaving the real problem - a long stay - uncovered.
It's troublesome to figure out.
What's the worst that could happen? Your spouse would have her assets and the house while you spent down to Medicaid. There wouldn't be any inheritance for the kids but I think our kids would prefer that we be well cared for.

Of course in the extremely unlikely event that you actually found an unlimited policy, let alone an affordable unlimited policy, the care facility would have considerable motivation to keep you alive by any means possible. Perhaps that's the worst that could happen.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:57 AM   #37
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So what happens if someone with a LTC policy moves into one of those all inclusive CCRC senior homes that offer graduated levels of care from independent apartments through full time care. Does the policy ever kick in?
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:51 AM   #38
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DW's mom spent the last three years in an Alzheimer special care unit: 85 yo and in excellent physical health. She had sisters reach the 100 year mark.

LTC sounds like an excellent idea to us, at least for DW.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:09 AM   #39
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So what happens if someone with a LTC policy moves into one of those all inclusive CCRC senior homes that offer graduated levels of care from independent apartments through full time care. Does the policy ever kick in?
My mother was in an assisted care facility for four years. Paid for (mostly) by her LTC policy.
Then she went to a hospital. When the hospital discharged her, she could not go back to the assisted care facility. We placed her in a nursing home. Medicare paid for about the first 30 days, which broke her LTC coverage. After that, we had to repeat the recertification with the LTC company. This was of, course, a major hassle.
Eventually, we were able to have her re-certified with the LTC company and they began paying her monthly bills. She finally exhausted the benefits of her LTC policy and we went on the pay-through-the nose plan until she died.

The LTC company did not question whether she was eligible for benefits in a certified assisted care facility. We just had to jump through all of their hoops. On the other hand, she also had a separate home care policy, which she was not able to use. She went from living independently alone to where she needed 24/7 care rather quickly.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #40
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After witnessing what has happened with health insurance premiums, I see no reason to believe the same thing won't happen with LTC premiums.
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