Shared Benefit LTC Policies: Their Time Has Come
Savvy consumers are asking their financial advisors a question these days. Its not “why do I need LTC insurance?” (They know why they may need it.) Its “is there a policy where my spouse and I can both be insured–for whoever needs long term care?”
Knowing the answer to this question and why your prospects should–or should not–buy this type of coverage, will increase both your sales and your clients satisfaction. As you will see, one very good answer has to do with shared benefit policies.
There is one primary motivation that propels people to ask this question: the desire to not be over-insured, or, as some put it “insurance poor.”
One or both spouses may feel that the first one who needs LTC will be taken care of at home by the other spouse, so a LTC policy on that spouse will not be necessary, or fully used. Or, perhaps the two think one spouse will never need LTC and, if so, a policy on that person would be “wasted.”
Often the type of person who worries about LTC expenses–a “planner” personality–is also a realist. This person wants to protect against most (but not all) LTC expenses, but is willing to keep some of the risk of paying the costs to himself or herself. This person may believe that lifetime benefits are overpriced relative to the odds of having a very long claim, and he or she may be willing to use other assets in the event of the truly catastrophic claim.
In these instances, you might suggest purchase of a shared benefit policy. Such a contract reduces significantly the two risks–that the premium will be “wasted,” or that the couple will run out of insurance benefits.
How do shared benefit plans work? Well, like many other aspects of LTC insurance, there is little uniformity. I looked at a few policies with shared benefits, and discovered three very different methods for adding a shared benefit.
Some shared benefit policies use one policy for two insureds, each of whom can access the benefit.
Other shared benefit arrangements are done with riders to two separate policies; here, the riders allow a spouse who has used up his benefit to access the benefit in the other spouses policy.