Category Archives: Retirement, Finance & Legal

 Advice For Seniors – Working Your Way Through Retirement     







Caring for the elderly can be daunting and challenging at times. It is something to that everybody has something to worry about sometime. Everyone gets old in each and every family, and at the very least, most people have a relative of an advanced age. This stage poses a lot of uncertainty and behavioral change that the person himself/herself is unaware and can hardly control.

1. Theory on Behavioral Change Among Elderly

Each of life’s stages are characterized by unprecedented behavioral change. Your preferences in food, color, clothing style, company, music genre, etc are mostly affected. In a latest study, it was found that people periodically change in their preferential course of life, including aspirations approximately every 7 years. Just as how complex this change in the early life are as complicated when one turns into old age. People may find elderly people annoying but these behaviors are a result of various physiological processes occurring in their body as they approach such age. Many may have seemed to develop resentment on an activity that they previously enjoy. They develop resistance to many things such as loud sounds, discomfort on almost anything, incontinence, and apparent withdrawal from the society. Understanding these queer behaviors and how they arise will provide you valuable information that you can use in tailoring the kind of care needed for your elders.




2. Tips on Caring for Seniors

While geriatric care managers are the expert in the provision of health care among elderly, everyone can empower themselves to be equipped with the right training and knowledge in geriatric (referring to old, elderly) and better assist aging members of your household such as your grandparents and parents, and older siblings. Below are the lists of useful tips on how you can better assist our elders as they embark on this stage of life with full of challenges and uncertainties and assist elderly on protecting themselves, physically (health matters), financially and legally on everything that concerns your assets.

3. Be Completely Absorbed

People who have had experience taking care older adults, especially the caregivers and other geriatric care managers, considers giving a “piece” of yourself into a health care program designed for such individuals. More than ever, accompanying them in this critical stage provides them with enough relief with all dramatic changes they are experiencing physically.

4. Secure Health Care Insurance

As you age, you will be more prone to diseases. Your body will become more vulnerable to diseases. You tend to develop illness that do not normally occur in healthy, young people. Because of this, more and more people are paying closer attention to the quality of medical or health insurance they enroll to and make sure that it covers programs expected when one reach old age. Review carefully your health insurance policy and make sure you understand the entire terms of service programs stipulated in it.

5. Financial Care for Elders

As we reach retirement age, you will be more or less dependent upon your retirement pensions unless you have acquired a business of your own. This leaves you little flexibility in the amount of income or budget you will get for a month but this very same financial rigidity empowers or teaches you to limit your spending to an amount that is appropriated for you for a specific length of time.

6. Elder Care Law

The government dutifully protects senior citizens’ rights and extends support for elderly who still can manage to take care of their own and during the time that they need other else’s supervision in the performance of daily activities such as cooking, bathing, feeding, taking medications and leisurely walks, etc. It is important to note that legal provisions vary from state to state and that the help of a professional family law or elder care law attorney should be consulted.

7. Relegating Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is a legal right whereby an individual is granted certain rights to act as a representative of someone in the performance of a certain legal actions or decisions. Elder individuals become less able to dealing with affairs concerning their assets, including financial, monetary, and estate affairs. It is about giving someone the authority to do the affairs for you especially when you reach the stage where you can no longer perform these activities yourself.

About the Author:
Get great pregnancy and baby advice at Mommy-Mommy.com You’ll find excellent tips to help you fight all sorts of pregnancy “discomforts” like morning sickness and crankiness.







                   

 Using the Durable Power of Attorney







Using the Durable Power of Attorney

The “durable power of attorney” is one of the most powerful planning tools that an attorney can recommend to a client, not only for estate planning, but also for Medicaid and other public benefit planning.

When a person (the principal) signs a power of attorney, he gives another person (the agent) the power to act in his place and on his behalf in managing his assets and affairs. The agent’s powers may be broad and sweeping so as to include almost any act which the principal might have performed. It should be noted, however, that, in general, acts which are inherently testamentary in nature, such as the authority to make or revoke a will, may not be performed by an agent.




A power of attorney can be either a “general” power of attorney, where the agent may perform almost any act the principal might have performed himself regarding the financial management of his affairs, or a “limited” power of attorney where the agent has one or more specific powers, such as the power to sell a particular property to a particular purchaser at a particular time.

A single principal may name one or more agents who can be authorized to act either “jointly” or “severally” (alone without the signature of the other agent or agents).

The “durable” power of attorney is unlike the ordinary power of attorney in that it does not become inoperative upon the incapacity of the principal. The durable power of attorney, provides that those powers granted to the agent shall not be affected by the subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal or by the lapse of time.
In drafting powers of attorney, care should be given to confer powers with as much specificity as possible in order to avoid the possibility of a court construing a specific omission as an intent to fail to grant that specific power. Such an adverse finding could be a serious detriment to the principal’s assets. The power of attorney for asset management in the case of a seriously ill or disabled person is especially useful in situations where the person’s assets may be modest and, accordingly, do not warrant the expense associated with other planning techniques such as trusts or guardianships.

The great advantage of the durable power of attorney is that it remains in effect after the principal’s incapacity. The agent, therefore, can act immediately upon the principal’s incapacity to manage his assets or to take various measures without initiating costly and time consuming guardianship proceedings to obtain the court’s authorization for such transactions.

In a few states, the principal is allowed to delegate to the agent in the durable power of attorney various health care powers in addition to control over financial matters. In New York State, however, a health care power of attorney or proxy must be a separate document from a power of attorney.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/elderly-care-articles/using-the-durable-power-of-attorney-692881.html
About the Author:
MARTIN PETROFF, Esq. is the founder of  Martin Petroff & Associates.. Formerly staff attorney for health affairs for the New York City Department for the Aging, Mr. Petroff is a member of the Executive Board of the State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section where he serves on the Medicaid and Guardianship Committees. He is on the Advisory Council of the Senior Companion Program and a member of the board of directors of the Long Term Care Community Coalition.







      

 Frugal Living: Retiring Better for Less 







According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word frugal characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. What do I mean by frugal living, retiring better for less?

When looking for Cheap Places to Retire, you can find affordable housing in charming and quaint neighborhoods; whether it is small college towns or large cities, this is the starting point to begin your retirement years.




Once you have selected your ideal place to retire, you can begin to engage in frugal living. Frugal and cheap are not mutually exclusive. Finding an affordable place to retire can then allow you to live frugally, so that you can comfortably enjoy your retirement years.

For example, you can retire to a large city such as New York and still find ways to limit expenses. With free live concerts in Central Park, the Farmers Market, museums, zoos, parks, botanical gardens, and a variety of recreational activities available, you can easily live comfortably in this great city.

Frugal does not necessarily mean cheap. Seniors have a wealth of opportunities available to them. Local libraries offer DVDs and CDS in every genre, flea markets, senior citizen centers that offer visits to various historical venues, and cultural attractions that offer a variety of discounts as well.

While New York is just an example, every city in the U.S. offers a retiree the same opportunities for frugal living. The package may be different, but the contents are still the same.

For those who live frugally in large cities, buying clothes at consignment or thrift shops; traveling during off-peak seasons; purchasing groceries in bulk; winterizing their home; and using energy efficient appliances are just some of the cost-effective methods utilized to save money. Thus, finding a cheap place to retire is the first step living frugally completes the circle.

In addition, there are retirees who have a specific interest either in education or recreation that may allow them to participate part-time. This additional revenue can easily supplement their pension but, more importantly, become involved in the community by offering their expertise in one area or another.

Whether they work on campus or set-up their own stand at a farmers market, there are innumerable choices for retirees to become fully integrated in any city or town they choose.

Thus, frugal living is the catalyst for finding cheap places to retire; whether it is a large metropolitan city or a small college town, the possibilities are endless. 

Bio: Charlotte Demontigny Web Master Ideal Places to Retire – Inexpensive to Exotic http://www.ideal-places-to-retire.com







 

 Top Ten Medicaid Myths







Medicaid is the nation’s largest health coverage program. The program was originally a welfare-based health coverage program, but has become a health insurance and long-term care program for those who are struggling financially and for people with disabilities. Because of its complexity, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the Medicaid program.




MYTH: Medicaid is obsolete.

FACT: Medicaid is an innovative program that has changed as the American health care system has evolved. Through the waiver process, states experiment with benefit design, eligibility, and delivery systems. Currently, several states are experimenting with transitioning long-term care services to home based setting.

MYTH: Medicaid is an inflexible program.

FACT: Medicaid has minimum federal standards, but states have flexibility to customize their Medicaid program beyond those minimum standards. In many ways, Medicaid operates like fifty individual state coverage programs.

MYTH: Medicaid spending is out of control.
FACT:
The cost growth per enrollee for Medicaid is lower than comparable coverage under Medicare, private health insurance, and employer-sponsored insurance. Medicaid costs continue to increase, but so do health care costs across the board in the American health system.

MYTH: Medicaid provides “Ritz Carlton” coverage.

FACT:
Medicaid has a unique role as a safety net for the weaknesses in our health system. The populations served by the Medicaid program require services that are not readily available in typical health insurance plans. Medicaid not only functions as an acute care plan for low-income families, but it is also the only alternative available for many individuals with disabilities and low-income elderly who require long-term care.

MYTH: Medicaid covers too many people and competes with private insurance.




FACT: The vast majority of the people who are covered by Medicaid do not have access to other insurance. Many work for employers who do not offer coverage. Many are priced out of the private market because of illness or disability. Studies of Medicaid have demonstrated that Medicaid as an alternative to private coverage is limited. Those who are newly enrolled into Medicaid were previously uninsured.

MYTH: Medicaid is for people who don’t work.

FACT: Working families make up 65% of those who receive Medicaid coverage. For those who are not in the workforce, like people with severe disabilities, Medicaid supplements cash assistance and makes available essential health care coverage.

MYTH: Medicaid foots the nursing home bill for affluent seniors.

FACT: Medicaid is only available to the very poor or those with health care expenses that have depleted their savings. The new Medicaid rules make it difficult to transfer assets to qualify for nursing home care. About three out of five nursing home residents are not on Medicaid at the time of their admission. Even when a person’s assets are depleted, they still must apply their income towards the cost of care, except for a meager personal needs allowance.

MYTH: Federal financing of Medicaid encourages wastefulness.

FACT: During hard economic times, more people need Medicaid coverage and spending increases. But, unlike the federal government, most states are required to balance their budgets so they are hindered from over spending. States struggle to control Medicaid spending even as more people are covered.

MYTH: The Medicaid program is inefficient.

FACT: Medicaid has lower administrative costs per claims paid than private sector health insurance. And, year in and year out, the per capita growth of Medicaid is about half the rate of growth found in private sector health insurance.

MYTH: Medicaid is a second rate program.

FACT: There is substantial evidence that Medicaid has improved access to primary and preventive health care comparable to that of those with private insurance. In particular, Medicaid’s inclusion of pregnant women and children has helped reduce infant mortality and acute health conditions.

The rules and regulations concerning Medicaid are not only very complicated, but also work independently from, and often contrary to, tax laws, veterans benefit and estate planning. Careful considering to individual circumstances is critical. Don’t go it alone. Call me at (203) 488-5586 to discuss specific situations to avoid making an inadvertent mistake.

Author: Mark R. Connell Attorney At Law, LLC
420 East Main Street, Suite 12
Branford, CT 06405
Phone: (203) 488-5586

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Connell

         

Confused about what happens when you turn 65? 







Are you turning 65 this year? You are probably full of questions. When does Medicare start? How much will it cost? I’m here to help you.

Most people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. More specifically if you have received your Medicare card it will begin the first day of the month you are born. For example My mother will turn 65 December 20th. Medicare actually starts for her December 1st. The exception to this rule is if you were born on the 1st of the month. An example is if your birthday is July 1st. Your Medicare will start June 1st.

People on disability for a certain amount of time also qualify for Medicare but I will focus on those turning 65 for today.




Your Medicare card and information about what amount will be coming out of your Social Security check every month should come a few months before you turn 65. Normally you don’t have to do anything unless you DON’T want Medicare.

2009 Premiums

Everybody pays a premium for Medicare part B. Some people will argue and say that they don’t pay. They just don’t realize it because it almost always comes directly out of Social Security. The premium goes up a little bit most years. The premium for 2009 is $96.40. Those who have high incomes may pay more for their part B premium. It comes out of your check every month which saves you from having to send it in.

Some people also pay a premium for part A but it is much less common. For 2009 it is either $244.00 or $443.00 depending on circumstances.

Those are the only premiums you pay for Medicare. Most people only pay $96.40 for their Medicare which is pretty cheap insurance and is also pretty decent insurance. You are required to have a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. If you choose not to you may have to pay a penalty in the future if you decide to enroll in a plan.

You are not REQUIRED to have any supplement to Medicare although many choose to.

Turning 65 may mean making changes but don’t worry they won’t hurt too bad.

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

Many choose to have some sort of supplemental coverage in addition to Medicare. While Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD) are not supplements they can be very helpful for people. Especially folks who need a bit more than Medicare alone but can’t quite afford a supplement. Keep in mind that you don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions. In some states MA’s and MAPD’s are free while in others you will pay a low premium. You then make reasonable co-payments. You may ask why you would want to do that when Medicare is already paid for.

A couple of reasons. First you won’t pay deductibles. You have immediate coverage. Secondly in many cases you will have a maximum out of pocket. This may not seem important but if you have a tough year and end up in the hospital a few times your out of pocket expenses on Medicare alone can be kind of expensive. At this point there is NO maximum out of pocket on Medicare alone.

About the Author:
Dora Guldborg is an insurance agent, Marketer, Mom and much more. Find out more about her at http://www.dream-to-work-at-home.com.aboutme.html
Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com 







Why Seniors Need To Have a Financial Economic Stimulus Plan Of Their Own







If seniors or baby boomers sit back and wait for things to get better in this unprecedented and never before seen economic disaster in this country and in fact around the world, then they better think again.

With bad news hitting our air waves everyday all day long, it is becoming more increasing for older citizens take matters into their own hands, and not wait for things to change you must change them yourself. So how do you make changes in your financial situation with all of the downturn everywhere you turn? The problem that many are facing around the country is what we can and can not do!

The Stock Market is now down 55% of its high and predicted to go even lower so this is not the solution.
Pension funds and many investment funds are invested into the markets and have lost a large portion of the principle balances. (Down as much of 75%) Real Estate values are down all over the country as much as 60% and foreclosures are up 22% since the beginning of the year. Fuel costs have gone down but the up cost that the higher prices caused have not come back down. Unemployment rates hit 8% and in some areas as much as 10% and is expected to increase and stay that way for sometime to come.




So what can seniors and their families do to secure that their futures aren’t heading totally in a downward tail spin. There are solutions and steps that can be taken to alleviate some of the economic pressures that maybe around for many of us for the rest of our lives. Like I said this is unprecedented in history and there is no one who has the answers or how to fix it. The one thing is sure we need to look out for ourselves and as seniors we need to think about the last place there maybe money available and that is the home.

Your home may not have the value it had four or five years ago which by the way was over inflated in the first place so don’t think you have lost something that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It was FAKE!
So what is the real value of your home and how is it determined. If you purchased your home 30 years ago and you paid your home off, the fact is your anticipated appreciation should have been between 3-5% per year. But when the market took off ad many people cash out the equity in their homes with hope that they would sell their homes or would be able to pay it off from their proceeds or gains. This did not happen! In many cases they lost no only the interest but the principle of the investment.

Here is good way to look at the value of your home today!
What did you pay for the home originally!
Over the years you lived in the home so what did it cost you!
What would it cost you today to replace your home if you sold?

Take the original purchase price and multiply it out by the national average that should have taken place which would be a national average of 5%.Once you have done this take the value and ad 10% for improvements if you did any. Now you should have the value that your home should have been without the boom years .
If your home doubled in value you are ahead of the game, because not only did you live in it all these years but you also received tax benefits over the years that you paid for it.

Now that you know what the value should have been you can now take a look at what the market says that your home is worth. By visiting a number of websites out there that can give a pretty good idea of what it is worth if you could sell it. The biggest word in the English language is IF……

Now for the big answer to the senior who is struggling to make ends meet and are thinking of where to go to get the money to live off of for the rest of their lives. The Reverse Mortgage is the answer for many people who are in need of having funds to use for living until they leave this world. This program not only provides you with money to live from, but also gives you great flexibility. In this program called Reverse Mortgage you are in complete control over the funds that you receive, you have the option of taking all of the money or setting up and monthly income or having a credit line for future use. One of the best parts of the program is that if you plan on living in your home for the rest of your life you can literally freeze your home value from going down any further, unlike if you take out a conventional mortgage.




In this program you are paying a Mortgage Insurance premium to the Federal Government; too not only protect the lender but to protect you and your heirs! The lender is protected should the home value decline and the loan balance which will increase over time the insurance would make up the difference to cover the loss. For you the or your heirs should the home value be less the loan balance at the time the loan is going to be paid off the insurance would make up the difference and your heirs or you would not have to worry about having to come up with the money. In addition; none of your other assets such as; investments, insurance proceeds or savings can be attached to pay the loan off this is called a NON-RECOURSE LOAN.

So as you can see this is a very important issue for many seniors and how they can make a Reverse Mortgage as part of her financial plan and live without fear of not being able to take care of their needs now or in the future. Plan today for tomorrow and don’t be afraid of a Reverse Mortgage it is truly a program that will change your life for the better and give you money without ever making another payment for as long as you live in the home.

About the Author:
I am a Reverse Mortgage Specialist I have spent over 20 years as a Real Estate broker and the last 10 years in the mortgage industry, and 5 of them providing Reverse Mortgages. My years as a professional, I have always felt that helping our seniors is helping the back bone of this country. Our seniors are the ones who made this country great and in the time of their lives that is so suppose to be their golden years it is in many cases painted black. I have dedicated my life to helping them achieve some sort of financial independence and help to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Visit http://www.bestmortgageplans.com or call toll fee 877-463-6546 ext 7807

Getting the Government to Pay Family Members For Eldercare at Home







Some 44.4 million adult caregivers — or 21% of the U.S. adult population — provide unpaid care to seniors or adults with disabilities, according to a 2004 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda, Md. On average, those caregivers provide 21 hours of care a week and the average length of time spent providing care is 4.3 years.




Over the years, the National Care Planning Council has received many public requests. A number of these requests have been from family caregivers who had to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to take care of one or both of their parents. Invariably these caregivers assume there is a government program that will pay them to provide this care. Only recently have we become aware of some programs that will pay family members. These programs are not publicized and the public is largely unaware of them or how to receive them.

Money Follows the Person—MFP (Self-Direction in Care):

In recent years, some state Medicaid programs have been experimenting with the idea of providing a budget to elderly Medicaid recipients. This money can be used to hire family or friends to provide care at home. Most of these programs are very limited, and there are waiting lists for them. Also, the amount of money available may not always be enough to compensate a family member to provide full-time care in lieu of maintaining employment.




The attitude of our government is quickly changing and there is now a new initiative to provide income for family caregivers. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 allocated $1.4 billion — the largest demonstration grant in Medicaid history — to a program called “Money Follows the Person.” This program is designed to transition individuals receiving Medicaid and who are living in institutions, back into the community. In 2007, 31 states received their portion of the grant money pie to begin demonstration programs offering more choice in care besides an institution. Most of these state programs offer a concept called “self-direction” which allows a budget to be established by Medicaid for the care recipient. Self-direction allows the care recipient to spend this money hiring any caregiver of choice and this typically includes friends and family.

Unfortunately, this is not a widespread benefit for elderly Medicaid recipients and in addition only applies to bringing elderly people out of institutions and back into the community to receive care. Over the next five years, only 34,395 elderly care recipients nationwide are expected to be transitioned to community-based care through this program. Even though this represents a fraction of the elderly, who over the next five years are expected to receive Medicaid services in institutions, there is still a possibility for the family to apply for one of these programs and to have the government pay for their care services.

Using the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit:

A totally overlooked source of money to pay family caregivers to provide care at home is the aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. This money is available to veterans who served during a period of war. Pension money is also available to the widows of these veterans. This benefit, under the right circumstances, can provide up to $1,843 a month in additional income to pay family members to provide care at home. 

It also comes as a surprise to many people that about 33% of all seniors could qualify for the aid and attendance benefit. That’s how many veterans or their surviving spouses there are in this country. Getting the aid and attendance benefit to pay for family caregivers is not an easy task. This is because there must be a caregiver contract in place and services for care must be initiated and thoroughly documented before application can be made. Getting these applications approved requires using a consultant who understands the documentation requirements. Very few people can do it on their own.

Using Medicaid Spend down to Pay Family Caregivers:

In order to qualify for Medicaid nursing care, a person must spend his or her cash assets down to less than $2,000. Instead of giving this money to the nursing home and waiting for Medicaid to kick in, the potential beneficiary can instead transfer this money to a child in return for caregiver services. This is not considered a gift and if done properly does not create a penalty for Medicaid eligibility. The strategy also allows Medicaid to take over paying its portion of the nursing home costs much sooner.

As with the caregiver contracts for VA benefits, an expert in this area of Medicaid benefits is required in order to do it right. In fact, the same type of caregiver agreements used for obtaining extra income under the veterans benefit can also be used for Medicaid. A consultant who is proficient in both the aid and attendance benefit and Medicaid personal caregiver agreements can be of great service to the community. This contracts’ consultant can help relieve a great deal of caregiver stress by providing funds to help that caregiver cope with personal financial pressures.

About the Author:
The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping the American public recognize the need for long term care planning and to helping implement that planning. Planning for long term care is important. To learn about The National Care Planning Council and long term care visit our website at  http://longtermcarelink.net
Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com

Reverse mortgage: Cash bonanza for seniors? 







Reverse mortgages: What are they and how do they work? 

Reverse mortgages were once a financial novelty and have now entered the home loan mainstream. This is very good news for senior homeowners who have to be 62 or older to qualify. Reverse mortgages are one of the few ways that seniors can cash out part of the equity in their home without moving or incurring loan payments. 




Reverse mortgages are in essence mirror images of regular mortgages.  As unbelievable as it sounds, rather than making payments to a lender, the lender actually makes payments to you in a lump sum in monthly installments.  The best part is that you actually don’t have to repay the loan as long as you live in your home.  The reverse mortgage is only repaid from the sale of your house, or after you move or die.
 
The only real negative aspect of reverse mortgages is that they usually have high upfront closing costs.  Those charges have been falling, but even at 5% of a home’s value (which is about the going rate), reverse mortgages looks so much better when the alternative is to sell and pay 6% to a real estate agent. 

What if the home’s value at the time of the sale doesn’t cover the balance of the reverse mortgage? 

If the home’s value at the time of sale doesn’t cover the balance of the reverse mortgage, the lender is actually on the hook for the loss rather then the homeowner or his/her heirs.  That is absolutely excellent downside protection.  The upside is even better: If the property’s value rises over the years, the senior homeowner or his heirs can keep all of those profits after paying off the reverse mortgage.  In other words, you can cash in on cashing out even when the market continues to trend upward. Overall, reverse mortgages are an excellent opportunity for seniors to take cash out on the equity of their home without moving or having to sell their property.

Information from Money magazine, August, 2005.
 

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist 







Necessary Features of long-term care insurance plans Page 2







Some other important features of a good long-term care insurance plan include:
 
Early eligibility. It is important to look at when a policy holder becomes eligible for long-term care insurance benefits.  You must find out what the “benefit triggers?”  are.  Most long-term care insurance policies kick in when a person cannot handle two or more “activities of daily living” or ADL’s.  These include bathing, dressing, eating, getting from a bed to a chair, toileting and being incontinent of bowel and bladder.  A good policy should also cover issues related to memory or cognitive impairment such as different forms of dementia, that will necessitate some level of supervision.  Some will cover care which is deemed “medically necessary” such as when an individual with congestive heart failure may require home care.
 
A reasonable deductible period. Most long-term care plans have a waiting period (called a “deductible” or “elimination”period), which means that the policy does not really go into effect until a person has paid for care themselves, for a certain number of days.  The longer the waiting period, the cheaper the long-term care policy. 




A waiting period of less than 20 days will usually make a policy much more expensive.  On the other hand, waiting periods of more than a hundred days, greatly reduce the chance that an individual will ever put the policy to use.  A reasonable amount of days to wait is usually between 30 and 40 days. 

Adequate reimbursement. Most long-term care policies pay a fixed amount for each day of long-term care, and then you pay the remainder.  The benefits usually run in a range of between $50 and $300 a day.  Of course, the higher the amount of the benefit per day, the higher the cost for premiums. 

Home health care is usually covered at a rate of about 50% – 60% of the rate that it will cost your loved one to be in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.  So in effect, a policy that pays $100 a day for nursing home care will usually pay about $50 a day for home health care.
 
In order to determine how much long-term care coverage your parent needs, figure out how much they can afford to spend on long term care (or is willing to pay). Now find out the average cost per day of nursing homes in your area.  If a nursing home costs $160 a day and your loved one has an average of $70 of daily discretionary income, then they need a policy that offers at least $90 a day in coverage.  Also, you need to keep in mind that nursing home rates will continue to climb, while your parent or love one’s income may not.  Finally, it’s always important to remember that the rates paid for nursing home care do not include some expenses, such as drugs and supplies and the cost for additional services such as professional mental health and medical services. 

Some information Adapted from How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris 

Additional information and web page by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Clinical Director- Senior Care Psychological Consulting







Long Term Care Insurance Policies: Selecting the Best? 







How do you go about selecting the long term care policy that is best for you?

As with in choosing any other product, you always need to compare several long-term care policies to find the one that best suits your parent or loved one’s needs. You may need to contact your state insurance department to find out which companies provide long-term care policies in your area. Another option may be to add a rider onto a current health insurance policy.  Several companies offer free quotes through the mail or over the Internet.  You may do a search on the Internet using “long-term care insurance” to find some of these companies. 




It is not easy to compare long-term care policies.  They vary in so many ways- when they come into effect, what they cover, how benefits are paid etc…  You should ask to see an “outline of coverage” detailing a long-term care policy’s benefits, costs, restrictions, and limitations. 

When reviewing long-term care policies, you should be sure that any special features are worth the price paid in higher premiums.  Additional coverage of any type will add substantially to the cost.  You should not simply consider what your parent or loved one wants and then get quotes.  You should compare the basic packages with the more expensive policies, see what each item adds to the price of the policy and then determine if it makes sense to pay the higher premium.
 
A growing number of employers are now offering long-term care policies to employees, retirees, and sometimes employee’s parents as well.  Usually this means discounted premiums (they’re often paid for with pretax dollars). The federal government is now offering long-term care policy options to most federal and U. S. Postal Service employees, active and retired members of the uniformed services and their spouses, and adult children (employees can also get insurance coverage for their parents, parents-in-law and step parents).  For more information about the federal program for long-term care policies you should go to www.ltcfeds.com or call 1-800-582-3337. 

Even if your employer offers a long-term care policy option, look at other plans and compare.  Just because the company has a group plan that includes long-term care policies doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you or your parent.

What do you look for in a long term care insurance policy? 
  

You should look for the following features in shopping for a long-term care insurance program:
 
A solid company. You should look for a well-known, stable company with a good reputation.  Buying from a strong company is absolutely essential because the long-term care insurance field is still young and companies have little history in which to base their underwriting assumptions.  A strong long-term care insurance company will be better able to absorb errors in estimates. 

It is also a pretty good idea to check the company’s rating with Standard & Poor’s (www.standardandpoors.com) Moody’s (www.moodys.com ) or A.M Best (www.ambest.com).  You should look for one that falls within the top two categories related to their financial strength.
  
You should ask the company how long they’ve been providing long-term care health insurance.  A company who has been in the market for a while (perhaps 10 years or more), will be more experienced and their rates will be more stable. 

It’s also worthwhile to call the state insurance department, which may have information about complaints that have been made against particular insurance companies. You should always be especially suspicious if a salesperson tells you that the state will guarantee coverage if the company goes into default.  The premiums may be higher for these long-term care insurance policies, and if the company fails you can count on the fact that the coverage offered by the state will not be as generous as the original policy. 




Tax qualified. Most long-term care insurance policies are qualified, but you should still check and make sure that they are.  “Tax qualified” means that a policy conforms to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. What this actually means to you is that the benefits cannot be taxed, also, a long-term care insurance policy must be qualified if someone wants to deduct the premiums as “medical expenses” from their taxes.  (These expenses must be greater than 7.5% of a person’s adjusted gross income). 

Comprehensive coverage. “Facility-only” policies cover only one type of care, usually nursing homes.  Most long-term care insurance policies, however, offer “comprehensive” coverage. These policies should cover care in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, as well as care provided at home, adult day care, hospice care, and even respite care.  It makes more sense for most people to buy a comprehensive policy, which gives them more and broader options in their long-term care insurance coverage. 

Some information Adapted from How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris 

Additional information and web page by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Clinical Director- Senior Care Psychological Consulting