Protection Products

Why Spouses May Want to Consider Joint LTC


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Spouses share a lot of things – house, cars, kids, bank accounts. Why not long-term care insurance? Yes, spouses can choose a long-term care policy with SHARED coverage, giving them a pool of benefits they can split.

One of the unknowns with long-term care is predicting how long you will need benefits. While the average need for care is about three years, your clients could die before needing care. Or just the opposite, they could have a long-lasting condition, such as Alzheimer’s, and need care for much longer.

Sharing benefits is a great way to hedge bets when deciding on a benefit period. It may make a couple more comfortable with purchasing a shorter duration and can save them quite a bit of money.

On the other hand, a lifetime benefit pool covers both short and long-term risks and ensures both spouses are covered no matter the timeframe of coverage needed. Of course, this is a bit pricier. Your clients will have to consider the risks they’re willing to take – together.

For more information on sharing benefits, JUST ASK. Use my calendar link to schedule a time that’s convenient for us to talk.

Linked Benefit Explained in 1-2-3


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Most advisor aren’t experts in long-term care. So it’s understandable if you struggle to explain the concept of linked benefit, let alone convince someone to purchase it. Especially when you’d rather be doing something else. Anything else!

But because long-term care can be so challenging, that’s exactly the reason it’s crucial to take the time to explain all options available. That may mean taking the time to educate yourself first.

Since linked benefit plans combine both life insurance or annuities with long-term care, you might think they’re complicated. However, that is not the case. 

Essentially, a linked-benefit policy has three components:

  1. LIVE - An income-tax-free benefit pays for long-term care expenses, which could include home care, adult day care, assisted living and/or skilled nursing care. The policy is issued with a monthly benefit that is paid for a specific number of years, based on the policy design and riders purchased. Some policies offer benefits that can last for up to seven years.
  2. DIE - The life insurance pays an income-tax-free death benefit. The death benefit is reduced by any loans, withdrawals and/or benefits the insurer has already paid. Many policies also offer a residual death benefit, usually 10-20 percent of the initial amount of insurance, if the entire benefit has been consumed by long-term care expenses.
  3. QUIT – The policy’s cash value earns a set rate of return. Once all the planned premiums have been paid, the policy can be surrendered for the actual cash value, which is often 80-100 percent of the premium paid. Policy surrenders are subject to any vesting schedule and adjusted for any claims, loans or cash withdrawals.

It's an easy conversation to have if you’re a long-term care marketer like me, but not so much if this is not your everyday focus. Avoiding the conversation doesn’t have to be your default plan. If you have questions, JUST ASK! Use my calendar link to schedule a time that’s convenient for us to talk.

3 Reasons to Love Indemnity Policies


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Indemnity or reimbursement – that is the question. For long-term care policies, traditional reimbursement policies pay benefits based upon the actual expenses you incur. An indemnity policy, however, pays you a monthly CASH benefit, regardless of expenses incurred.

As you may have guessed by the title, there are three reasons why I love indemnity policies.

  1. You don’t have to keep track of receipts. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can barely keep track of my tax papers, let alone every medical bill or receipt I would be required to keep track of for long-term care.
  1. You don’t have to use a qualified provider. Aunt Susie can come over and help! I would much rather it be Aunt Susie seeing all my business than some guy who looks like my mailman. No thank you!
  1. Money, Money, Money, Moneyyy! What better way is there to dip into the carrier’s pocket faster? Cash can be used for care, travel expenses, prescriptions, medical equipment, meals – whatever you want!

Case Study

  • 65-year-old female, married
  • $5,000 monthly benefit, 6-year duration, no inflation
  • She goes on claim but only needs $2,000 a month for care; after two years, she passes away
  • With a reimbursement policy, her spouse would be reimbursed her care costs: $48,000
  • With an indemnity policy
    • If she received the same care as above, her spouse would pocket $72,000 cash after her bills are paid
    • Keep in mind she can receive care from Aunt Susie; because she is family, she doesn’t charge as much. The spouse could net $120,000.

I know every situation is different, but so many people see the big number on the paper and think a reimbursement is the way to go. Just make sure you have all the facts. If you don’t – Just Ask! Use my calendar link to schedule a time that’s convenient for us to talk.

 

What “Coco” Teaches Us About Legacy Planning


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I recently sat down with my wife and son, at their urging, to watch Disney’s animated movie, “Coco.” In a concise recap, the movie is about a young Mexican boy who is trying to understand why his family has alienated his deceased great-grandfather, especially on the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that honors family members who passed on.

In typical Disney fashion, they put a nice spin on the story and, while their message of redemption plays well, I found myself thinking of a different message.

You see, in the movie we learn about the spirit world and how memory play a big part in a person’s legacy. When people in the spirit world are completely forgotten by their family in the living world, their spirit can no longer exist – it’s essentially your final passing. This reminded me of legacy planning.

Many advisors instruct their retired clients to allow their life insurance to lapse, except for a small amount for final expenses. They say, “Your children are grown, your home is paid for, you don’t need life insurance.” While I have always found this to be a bit cynical, watching “Coco” helped bring the concept into clarity.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if, on your grandsons 25th birthday, you could provide him with a check for $20,000? And what if he received a check for the next 10 years, along with a handwritten note from you telling him how much he means to you? And, as he receives that check, wouldn’t it be wonderful if he could recall a favorite memory or two that you shared with him?

And, if he used that money to put a down payment on a home, or establish a college fund for his new baby, you would essentially be providing his family with a financial head start that maybe you didn’t have but wanted for him.

And, what if all of this could happen many years after you had passed away? Wait, what?! Yes, you can leave a legacy to your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews or a favorite charity many years after you are gone. That is the power of life insurance. 

Like the characters in “Coco,” your clients want to remembered long after they leave this world. To all my advisor friends out there, please don’t let this movie’s message go to waste. Help your clients, today, to create their legacy for years to come.

Life Insurance Legacy Planning Estate Planning

Disabilities Do Happen: My Mother’s Story


Protection

No one believes that a disability will happen to them. But, it happened to my mom.

When my mother was young, she was a home health care aide for the local hospital. She enjoyed helping people – it was in her nature to care for those who could not properly care for themselves. But, she had no idea she would one day be sick herself, and unable to work as a caregiver.

After my sister way born, my mother’s health started to decline. Her asthma got worse. She started having severe depression and anxiety episodes. Her body was always in pain, no matter what she did. We used to joke about the “pharmacy” that she carried around with her, but in all actuality, it was sad. My mother was young, but she felt like someone twice her age.

Then, about 10 or so years ago, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She finally had an explanation for her aches and pains. But, on top of that, her asthma had developed into COPD, even though she had never smoked a day in her life. She could barely get out of bed most days. Her depression was worse than ever. She would end up hospitalized every time she got sick, mainly with upper respiratory issues.

Amid all her medical issues, she was no longer able to work full-time. Whenever she would land a job, a few months into it, she would fall ill and need to be hospitalized … then she would lose her job again.

The cycle continued. Eventually, she learned her immune system was basically not functioning. But, without a job to provide proper health insurance, she had no coverage for the medication she needed.

She applied for Social Security Disability Income, but was rejected – three times. It didn’t matter that her physicians had all written letters. It didn’t matter that she had significant proof she was unable to work full-time. It didn’t matter that her illnesses were expected to last over a year.

I’m going to repeat that – she was unable to work full-time and her illnesses were expected to last over a year. That is the basic definition of qualifying for Social Security. But still, she was denied time after time.

Finally, she agreed to hire an attorney. After more than a year and a couple hearings, she has finally been approved to receive Social Security Disability Income. She’ll have some money coming in each month and will no longer have to worry about insurance. She can start focusing on getting better and enjoying her grandchildren.

I wanted to share my mom’s story for two reasons:

  1. Disabilities aren’t always visible. When your clients are picturing a disability, they’re thinking about breaking a leg and needing a wheelchair. In reality, most disabilities are due to illness, not injury. Invisible conditions can impact your ability to work just as much, or more, than a visible injury.
  2. People think Social Security will be there to help if they’re disabled. That’s not always the case. It’s vital to protect the one thing we all mostly take for granted: our ability to work. We may not be able to “fix” our Social Security system, but we can help people get the coverage they need when they’re too sick or hurt to work.

As I said, no one believes a disability will happen to them. You may not always see them, and you probably never expect them, but disabilities do happen.

Disability Insurance Ash Story