Alzheimer’s Disease: Taking Charge

The New York Times had a Special Section on Sunday May 1, 2016 titled “Fraying At The Edges” by N.R. Kleinfield. The article followed Geri Taylor from the early stages of her disease. Ms. Taylor taught me how we still have a choice in how we live out our lives even in the face of a horrendous disease like Alzheimer’s.  The article also introduced me to the NY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association called Caringkind, a wonderful organization that I will recommend to many clients.

alzheimerMr. Kleinfield writes about the “stigma” associated with Alzheimer’s. This is a disease that makes people feel embarrassed causing them to pretend they are fine when they know they are not.  What was refreshing was the focus not on the end of the journey but the beginning and how people can choose how to deal with the disease; to accept it and talk about it, to be active, and to strategize how they can best live with the disease. It truly changed my thinking.
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The Crucial and Impressive Work of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative

old-young“America faces an enormous challenge in figuring out how to address and pay for the long-term needs of aging Baby Boomers and the generations that will follow them. We need to imagine ways to shift from a more welfare-based financing system to a primarily insurance-based system that meets the needs of individuals and their caregivers. We need to have an honest discussion of the obligations we have to each other.”Stuart Butler Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution & member of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative

What is the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative?

The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative is one initiative of the non-profit Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. The Collaborative has brought together national experts and stakeholders who cross ideological divides with a common goal: to improve the way Americans pay and prepare for the non-medical care needed by our frail elders and people living with disabilities. Today, 10-12 million adults require supports to help them maintain the best possible quality of life, a number that is expected to double by 2030.
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Large Insurer Offers Life Insurance for People Living with HIV

This exciting and deserved news was announced on World Aids Day in December 2015.

HIV is now officially classified as a chronic illness. In fact, people living with HIV and on maintenance medications, are living long and healthy lives. It is only right that life insurance companies recognize this and offer affordable life insurance as they would others living with chronic conditions.
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Do We Really Need Long Term Care Insurance in the New Year?

According to Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), we all absolutely need long term care coverage.  Certainly as I look at my friends’ aging parents and grandparents as well as my clients on claim, this seems quite obvious to me.

And yet, because of the expense of the policies and the unpredictability of future policy costs, experts and insureds often focus on these problems rather than the larger issues of our high likelihood of needing care into the future and the terrible impact that has on our families both emotionally and financially.
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Long Term Care Coverage is Not One-Size-Fits-All

In an article written December 26, 2015, the New York Times says:

“Long Term Care Coverage is not One-Size-Fits-All”

This message for 2016 is completely on target for me.  Everyone’s needs are individual and what’s always been most important is to have a plan for our own long term care.

The first step is to talk about what you want with your spouse and your family. The holidays are an ideal time to do that. Here are a few questions that should be asked:
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Long Term Care Companies Are Whacking Insureds Hard With Policy Increases!

As a broker and a firm believer in long term care insurance policies, it is difficult to open my mail these days. It is not unusual for me to see an increase letter on a book of business that dates back 10-15 years. These increases come from all the carriers—MetLife, Prudential, Unum, Genworth, John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica, Medamerica. If a carrier has been in the long term care market over the last 20-25 years, they have been forced to issue policy increases.
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Julianne Moore Wins the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Still Alice!

Julianne Moore gives us a disturbingly beautiful performance as she portrays a college professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This is real life for so many people whose parents have been diagnosed with this dreadful disease. We are being told that 1 in 12 people over 65 will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by the age of 85. This is truly a frightening thought and life changing for an entire population of younger people who will need to care for their parents.
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What If I Never Need Long Term Care?

Last week, one of my clients was concerned that if he didn’t need long term care, he would lose all the premiums he spent. So we added a very interesting rider known as Return of Premium Rider (ROP). An ROP rider gives back all the premiums spent (minus any claims) if the client dies before using any or all of their benefits. I love this rider and use it quite often. It is not expensive and protects the premium dollars spent over the years prior to needing the care. It is particularly appealing for clients who truly believe they will never need long term care.
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