Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Do I Have To Be In A Nursing Home Or Assisted Living?

In the last few weeks I have had some conversations with people who were considering Long Term Care (LTC) insurance. I always appreciate folks who are looking into this coverage because I consider them to be forward thinkers. In our current environment of YOLO (you only live once), the "live for today" mantra can make it hard for those of us who help plan for future issues. Those who think that "we can go at any minute so we should enjoy today" aren't looking at the future and tend to miss the forest for the trees.

People who usually take on the YOLO mantel seem to be those who have either suffered an unexpected loss or those who have seen or heard about such a loss. "I could drop dead like my mother at any minute," is their refrain. The fact that the rest of the family has survived to their 90's is irrelevant to them.  

The paradox happens when I say, "You are correct. You could die in the next week." Then I ask, "If you knew you were going to die tomorrow how much life insurance would you buy today?" You see, the "future is unknown" argument can go both ways to a decent insurance agent.

As for the forward thinkers, they seem to get the bigger picture. These people are aware of their surroundings from a 80,000 foot view. An anecdotal story about a life cut short doesn't keep them from understanding that statistically they will live to old age, and sickness and poor health may be a factor. That's when those people plan for LTC.

But the forward thinkers are asking a question now that I haven't heard as much before. "How do I stay out of a facility?" Previously, when I spoke to LTC prospects, we discussed home health care as part of the picture. Everyone wants to stay in their home but many understand that as a chronic illness progresses, the chances of ending up in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility increases. 

Covid has changed that discussion. The images on the news of elderly patients sequestered in facilities and waving to their families through the windows are heartbreaking. Worse are the exorbitant numbers of infections and deaths at these facilities as the virus spreads through the community. The staff and care givers are getting the virus too.

This is why clients are so much more interested in staying in their homes now. Yes, many LTC policies include coverage for home health care, but the premiums on those policies can be very high. Plus the underwriting may keep some of these prospects from getting coverage at all, regardless if they stay at home or a facility. 

With all of this in mind, we have been fortunate to find a suitable Short Term Home Healthcare (STHHC) policy from one of our carriers. This policy is a great addition to any LTC planning in that it's both affordable and easy to understand. 

A client can receive benefits as they stay at home for up to 365 days, and those do not have to be consecutive days. Some people may have a caregiver in their home only 2 or 3 days a week. They can also choose from three levels for their benefits along with some additional riders. 

The policy is not available in all states and the minimum application age is 61 years old. Given that 24 hour/round the clock home healthcare can cost over $70,000 annually, taking a look at STHHC is a smart move that can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run, as well as keeping one out of facility. 

If you are interested in learning more, check out our website or drop us a note and we can schedule a phone appointment. In the meantime, stay healthy and forward thinking.  

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!

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