How It Works
A few years ago, I needed to have my knees replaced. I had been seeing the same orthopedic doctor for several years and was planning on having him do the surgery. During an appointment with my primary care physician, he changed my mind. He reminded me that we live in a large metropolitan area where there are specialists in all areas of health care so I should work with someone who replaces knees on a regular basis. I took his advice.
Why do I mention this story? LTC is a complex field that can leave you a little confused, frustrated and wondering whether it is right for you. Whether you live in a metropolitan or rural area, you should consider working with a LTC Specialist. Working with someone who specializes in long term care can provide you unbiased information on a variety of LTCI carriers to assist in finding the best plan that is most appropriate to your individual needs and budget.
What does a LTC Specialist do?
Specialists make the Complicated Simple
The cost of long term care insurance can vary drastically from one company to the next. A LTC Specialist who represents multiple companies and more importantly, has experience with all products, can shop and compare plans.
Specialists Offer Multiple Options
Specialists have access to an entire portfolio of products and providers. There are Agents/Financial Advisors who are ‘captive’ and some who are ‘brokers’. ‘Captive’ insurance professionals work for one specific insurance company and are obligated and limited to offer insurance policies from the insurance company for whom they work. A ‘broker’ represents you as your Advocate. They offer multiple carriers to find you the best policy at the lowest cost to find the most appropriate product to satisfy your needs.
What does a LTC Specialist do?
The initial focus of a good LTC Specialist is on educating clients. Once you have been educated and have a broader understanding of benefits and costs, you will have the tools to make a more ‘informed’ decision regarding your needs. The specialist will be more than happy to answer all your questions no matter how many times you ask the same question. They understand that you are being introduced to a complex field. A specialist has a teaching heart.All of the Specialists that work with LTC Insurance Consultants maintain recognized LTC
designations and keep up to date with what is happening to the industry.
You want to be sure that the specialist has experience in this complex field or the ability to work as a team with other experienced specialists.LTC Consultants has over 38 years of experience in various aspects of insurance with
over 24 years dedicated to the specialized area of long term care.
Purchasing a long term care insurance policy is perhaps the most critical financial decision you will make in the second half of your life. It is paramount that you work with someone whom you trust. Be wary of anyone who is pushy, tries to make you buy more than you need, and tries to pressure you into deciding during your first appointment.LTC Consultants is a Trusted Advisor to numerous clients as well as the University of
Richmond and other organizations in Virginia.
We never assume that you want to purchase long term care insurance. We assume that you want to explore options and gather the information that allows you to make an informed decision.
We will send out an initial email that will outline the agenda for our first consultation. The email will contain a packet of introductory information for you to review before meeting with us. The packet contains a Group Bio of our Team, a brochure with general Long Term Care Information and a “Help Us to Serve You Better Questionnaire”. We do ask you to complete this questionnaire and return it to us at least 48 hours prior to our meeting so that we have the opportunity to obtain a basic health pre-qualification with the various companies we represent.
In addition to the agenda we laid out in the initial email we sent you, we want to review your concerns related to long term care. We want to discuss your preferences if care is needed and the resources (personal and financial) that you have available to assist with care. We will also provide education related to how health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid comes into play if care is needed.
We believe that everyone’s needs are different. Long term care insurance is not right for everyone. When it is right, not everyone needs the same amount of coverage for the same amount of time. We personalize our recommendations based on your needs, goals, finances, and individual situation. Because we represent many of the leading insurance companies, we are able to assist in selecting the company best suited for you—many factors go into making that decision.
The initial meeting is scheduled at a mutually agreeable location or by computer in a comfortable environment and usually lasts 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Following the initial meeting, we will call to follow-up on any unanswered questions.
As advisors, we do not believe that any decision should be made in a high-pressure environment. We will never pressure anyone into any particular course of action. We review, analyze, make our recommendations and give you the information needed to decide.
All conversations, whether on the phone or in person are 100% confidential whether or not we eventually end up working together. With your written consent, we will share our recommendations with the other advisors working with you.
Should you decide to become a client, we are available for you to be a continuing resource for information and assistance. We believe that it is our responsibility to provide ongoing support.
There is much we can share with you about long term care insurance. This email is the first step in getting started.
We are meeting to provide an educational overview of all long term care insurance planning options available today for your specific circumstances.
We will discuss:
- The definition of long term care.
- Explore cost of long term care in various settings.
- Basic components of a long term care insurance policy.
- Policy type options available for your specific circumstances.
- What is most tax efficient way to fund long term care insurance planning option for your specific circumstances?
Is there anything you would like to add to the agenda? Please feel free to modify.
Once you have information, you will be able to make an informed decision on which plan works best for your specific circumstances. There is no “one-size-fits-all”.
We look forward to meeting with you. Please provide us with some dates and times that work best for us to get together. You have the option to meet with us in person or online. Be sure to let us know which option you prefer.
While we have an initial agenda that we want to cover it is most important to provide the information that our potential clients desire in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not they need long term care insurance and how or what type they should purchase. We want to know the following:
Step 1: The Client Concerns and Preferences Discussion
Each person seeking information on long term care planning comes with their own questions and concerns. The goal is to meet your needs and respond to your concerns. In this part of the planning conversation we spend time talking about the types of care that are available. Many people do not realize that most long term care is provided in the individual’s own home. Some questions to think about:
- Have you ever had an experience with a loved one needing care?
- If you were to need care, what would you want the experience to be like?
- Geographically where do you think you would likely be?
- Where would you prefer to receive care—at home or in a facility?
- How do you feel about having your family members involved?
- What are your thoughts and concerns about the impact of care giving on your loved ones?
Step 2: What are the Consequences of Not Creating a Plan to Prepare for a Long Term Care Crisis
There are two main consequences that arise from not having a plan in place. Those consequences are:
Providing care disrupts the emotional and physical well being of those the client loves.
- The situation can make healthy caregivers chronically ill.
- Rather than coming together, adult children may be torn apart, which may cause irreversible damages
Paying for care causes a reallocation of INCOME. If the situation lasts long enough, it compels an unintended invasion of your portfolio. This could cause additional issues such as:
- Paying additional penalty taxes for withdrawing funds from qualified plans plus the regular taxes that would be incurred in doing so.
- The market conditions might not be to your benefit if you have to withdraw funds from investments.
- How much of your Portfolio is liquid?
The bottom line is that you can’t use the nest egg that you’ve
built for Retirement & Lifestyle to pay for Long Term Care.
Assets don’t pay for LTC …. INCOME does.
Step 3: The Resource Inventory
Each person has different resources available. We will discuss the resources that you have available, how they are currently allocated or invested and what you would be willing and able to contribute towards your care without impacting the lifestyle of others who may be dependent upon those resources. We will also discuss the availability of family or friends who may be involved in providing care as well as how available you believe these people may be in the future.
Step 4: The Funding Decision
If needed, how does your plan intend to fund care? Many people are under the mistaken impression that Medicare will provide care if needed. Or what about Medicaid? We will touch on the those options that might be available to fund your plan. This might include the discussion of partially self-funding and partially shifting a portion or all of the risk to an insurance company, in order to protect the assets that you have worked diligently to grow to provide for your family’s standard of living.
Step 5: Designing the Plan
In this final step, we work together with you to develop a reasonable plan in the event that you may need care. We take into account the expressed concerns, care preferences and the resources that you have available. We will discuss the options available to protect your family and you if long term care insurance is indicated. We will determine which insurance company’s health requirements, care options, are most appropriate for your needs and desires.
While we quote you a premium when we design your plan, we don’t know for sure that this is the actual premium that you will be paying. We have provided you with that estimate based on the health information that you have provided. The insurance company is the one who will confirm that you are insurable and at what classification. Once we have a definite offer by an insurance company, we can tweak the plan that we have applied for to make any adjustments.
The application process varies in the time it takes. One of the first things that you can expect is a telephone interview that we commonly refer to as your Personal History Interview or PHI. We may set this up for you, or the company may contact you directly depending upon the company to which we have applied. This can be a somewhat lengthy interview. You should be prepared to spend from 45 to 90 minutes on the phone. The length of time will be somewhat dependent on your health history. You can expect to be asked some cognitive questions.
It is important to be in a comfortable, quiet location, free from distractions while you are participating in the interview. It is also highly recommended that you have a copy of the “How We Can Serve You Better Questionnaire” with you as this will have all the information regarding your doctors and meds that you take.
Once you have completed your PHI, the insurance company may require additional information from one or more of your doctors. This is what we refer to as an APS or Attending Physician’s Statement. This is the point at which many applications are stalled. The insurance company has a company that obtains this information, and your physician also has a company that provides the information. This can become an extremely long process. It could take from 8 to 12 weeks to obtain the necessary paperwork. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of options during this phase of the application process other than continually monitoring it.
Once all the information is received, the application goes to the Underwriter who will make the final decision regarding the approval of the application. Should your application be denied for some reason we will work with you to determine the reason for denial and then research other options that might be available for you. Filing an appeal with company that denied coverage, may also be an option.
Once we deliver your policy, we want to be sure that you understand the benefits that you now have. More importantly, we realize that as you move on in your life and other events and activities take priority, we want you to know that we are always here to answer any questions that you may have. You don’t need to be concerned if you’ve already asked the same question 10 times, we are here to support you. We understand that Long Term Care is a complex field and that is why it is our specialty!
The process that we have gone through in assisting you in creating and funding a plan to meet your needs in the event of a Long Term Care situation has been long and sometimes very emotional and probably a little frustrating, but, we know that you will have a tremendous peace of mind once the process is completed.
You probably have friends who have not taken the time and effort that it takes to prepare for a Long Term Care situation or perhaps you know someone who has recently been involved with caring for a loved one. We hope that you will keep us in mind and refer us to people who you care about that may need our services!