By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor
We all know the risks of a long-term care event devastating our family’s finances as well as our mental and personal well-being. Roughly half of those who reach the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care assistance during their lifetime. What this means for a married couple is likely one of them will incur costs for long-term care. Because of the astronomical odds, the cost of long-term care insurance is certainly not inexpensive.
Despite the odds, the biggest objection that I receive when formulating a plan for one of our members when it comes to long-term protection is, “If I don’t use it all the money that I spent will be wasted.” Plus, we’re all invincible superheroes anyway, right? “It will never happen to me, so I’ll just save and invest the money and take my chances.” Thankfully, with the evolution of long-term care planning over the past few years, there is another alternative that makes a great deal of sense!
The life insurance industry has existed much longer than long-term care insurance. Actuaries, as it pertains to life insurance, have these statistics down to microscopic precision in calculating how long on average a person will live and what sums of monies will be paid out and when. When it comes to long-term care, this really isn’t the case, and is in part why the costs of protection are high. As consumers of life insurance, we also know that without a doubt the benefits will be paid out, and what we have paid for the benefits. In addition, we have the added benefit that the proceeds will likely be income tax free.
Are you aware that there are now policies where some or all of the life insurance benefits can now be utilized for costs incurred for long-term care while you are alive? And on a tax advantaged basis? All proceeds of the policy will be paid either in the form of long-term care protection or a life insurance benefit to named beneficiaries. If the policy is in force, the money is guaranteed to never be wasted!
These policies can also involve some dual planning, such as a charitable gift or estate planning scenarios if the proceeds are paid out in the form of a life insurance benefit. Lastly, these plans are priced attractively, as actuaries know exactly what benefits will be paid out and on average when.
I am a big advocate of this relatively new concept in planning for long-term care. If you haven’t addressed long-term care as part of your overall financial portrait, I would encourage you to promptly do so. You may be very pleasantly surprised by the cost to benefits ratio! At WisMed Assure, we are always here to help!