The baby boomer generation is unique. They are more active, more self-reliant, more determined. Because of this, they are more likely to turn down LTCI because they “just won’t need it.” So, as advisors, how do we overcome this hurdle in the minds of so many? There are several facts that can show your boomer prospects that, indeed, they might very well need LTC.
The realities of retirement. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home. About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more.” This statistic illustrates that although boomers might believe “it won’t happen to me,” unfortunately, it very well might.
While the retirement years can be rewarding, they come with a twofold threat. First, there is a financial risk–being unable to pay for LTC due to a lack of proactive planning. Second, there is the emotional risk of having to put all finances toward unexpected care and having little or no money left for family members or charities. One aspect common with any generation is the fear of running out of money. Without LTCI, the threat of depleting funds is significantly greater. But by investing in LTCI, your client ensures they are prepared for the unexpected–whatever it may be and whenever it may occur.
Medicare is not the answer. According to Medicare.gov, Medicare generally doesn’t pay for long-term care. It pays only for medically necessary care in a skilled nursing facility or home health care. And remember, a recipient must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care.
A changing landscape. LTCI has evolved to fit the changing desires of the boomer generation, making it easier than ever for boomers to develop a tailored plan. For instance, it is now possible to cancel a policy and receive a full refund. Also, age-based benefits can multiply the amount of money in a policy, so $100,000 can result perhaps in $300,000 worth of benefits and a death benefit.
As advisors, we have a responsibility to protect our clients and help them prepare for unforeseen challenges. Though it may be difficult to discuss, many will need LTC as they age. Be sure to inform your boomer clients of the benefits of LTCI. They may well turn out to be the “someone else” who experiences unthinkable hardship.
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Philip E. Harriman, CLU, CHCF, 2007 MDRT president, is a partner with Lebel and Harriman, LLP.