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Letter To the Editor: One Size Does Not Fit All

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Brian Vestergaard writes: The ongoing argument that every long term care policy sold should include an automatic inflation-protection rider is tiring.

It is true that such a rider would provide a policyholder with stronger levels of coverage over the long haul and keep their policy in step with inflation. But the argument is also ridiculous, because these same agents appear to be arguing that having nothing is better than having something.

Consider another type of high-expense family event: paying for a child’s college education (or for multiple children). Similar to LTC, it is likely to cost $100,000 to $200,000 or more. If those same parents are able to save $50,000, isn’t that amount going to help considerably-versus saving nothing at all and having to borrow the full amount? Why is the future funding of LTC risk any different?

If I want to purchase $150,000 in protection, I might view it as supplemental to my own savings, 401(k) funds and even to my own informal care network. $150,000 certainly won’t pay all the LTC bills many years ahead, but $150,000 is better than nothing-just as saving $50,000 for my child’s education is better than saving nothing.

My company recently completed a comprehensive national survey of a particular niche market of women consumers. Two-thirds of these women said they would consider purchasing at least partial or supplemental coverage rather than a full-fledged LTC policy that would cover all expenses.

The point is that one size does not fit all. Agents must look at their own clients and their personal and family situations-and stop saying that if the person cannot afford the richest, most expensive amount of coverage, then they should not buy anything at all.

My wife and I both own decent, less-than-full coverage LTC policies, and we are also building our children’s’ less-than-full coverage college education accounts year after year. We’ll be thrilled with the balances when they finally go off to college and will wish, too, that we had socked away a little more-but that’s real life.


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