Is Long-Term Care Insurance A Rip-Off?

If you have ever thought about buying long-term care insurance for yourself or someone else, this is a question you’ve already asked yourself.  I know this because it’s a question that many of my clients have asked me and one that I’ve asked myself too.  Is it really worth it to buy long-term care insurance?

The biggest fear that we all face with regard to long-term care insurance is, if you end up not needing it (which you hope that you won’t) then all your insurance premiums have gone down the drain.  So when you buy long-term care insurance, you’re betting that something bad is going to happen to you, but at the same time hoping that it doesn’t.  But that’s the reality of buying any kind of insurance.  It’s protection against a risk that could potentially damage your financial well-being.

A New Way To Protect Yourself

A few years ago, insurance companies started developing a new type of protection against the risks of long-term care that eliminate the biggest fear people have about buying insurance for it.  That is, the fear that if you end up not needing long-term care, you’ve wasted your money.  This new type of protection is called “Asset-based” long-term care benefits.  The concept is very simple, and yet very different from paying traditional long-term care insurance premiums.

Asset Based Long-Term Care Benefits

This type of protection combines a deferred fixed annuity with build in long-term care benefits.  A deferred fixed rate annuity is a financial planning tool that can help you save more money for retirement.  It earns a fixed rate of interest and grows tax-deferred until you start taking income payments from it.  And, in addition to helping you save more money, it can provide you with up to three times the annuity value in long-term care benefits if you need them.  This will help preserve your other hard-earned assets while it pays for up to 6 years of long-term care.  It will also protect your spouse and children from the emotional, physical, and financial toll of caregiving.  And with it, you have a choice of care options which include in-home care, assisted living, adult day care, homemaker services, personal care, respite care, hospice care, and nursing home care.

What If You Don’t Need The Care?

If you end up not needing any of this type of care (which is a very good thing), your money is not gone or wasted.  In fact, this is the best part of this type of long-term care protection.  If you don’t need the care, you’ve still:

1.  Earned a guaranteed rate of interest on your savings

2.  Taken advantage of tax-deferred growth (this will be more important as tax rates go up)

3.  Had access to your principal through partial withdrawals or lifetime income options

4.  Had a death benefit for your beneficiaries that is equal to the annuity value at the time of death

5.  Avoided probate on these funds

The chances of a 65 year old person needing some type of long-term care during retirement is very high, above 50%.  And the cost of this care is very costly.  The average nursing home in our country today costs about $5000 – $6000 per month, depending on where you live.  This can eat up a retirement nest egg in no time at all.  But still, many people hesitate to pay the premiums each month for traditional long-term care insurance.  You can see that the benefits of asset-based long-term care are many.  You have the protection if you need it, and if you don’t need it, you get all your money back.  I think everyone should consider puting part of their “safe money” into one of these types of vehicles.

If you would like more information on this, and other types of asset-based long-term care protection, please contact us today.

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