Q: I’m planning to use direct mail leads and need a proven pre-approach letter for following up with prospects.

A: Using direct mail and following up leads with a letter first and then six days later with a phone call works well for Trish Swanson, a Chicago ACSIA LTC Specialist. Here are the highlights of her letter.

1. Thank you for your interest.

2. People need LTC services because of accidents, health problems and age-related issues. Pre-planning is essential since the cost of care is high, and you’re responsible for paying for these costs unless you plan ahead. If you are like most people, you want some fast answers.

Let me provide those. Health insurance and Medicare (for those 65 and older) don’t pay for LTC (care in your home, adult day care, assisted living, rehab, nursing home, etc.) beyond 100 days. You might have disability insurance, but that only replaces a small portion of your income until age 65 and doesn’t pay for any care. This means you will pay for care out of your pocket. If you are 50 years old today and require care in 25 years, you will need about $750,000.

That will have a huge impact on you, your spouse and the rest of your family. As medical science improves, we live longer and almost half of us will need care. In addition, assets can go up and down. Insurance is guaranteed to be there at the full value when you need it. You never need to worry about the economy.

3. A brief explanation of Medicaid.

4. Most people who look into LTC insurance do so because they love their family. They don’t want to be a financial or emotional burden. They want to protect the spouse’s lifestyle and provide for quality care and peace of mind. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.

5. My sister, age 55, ended up in a nursing home. After she passed away, the state took her home as payback.

6. Many clients refer to LTC insurance as “nursing home avoidance protection.” You will have a guaranteed pool of money separate from the rest of your assets.

Trish also sends a piece titled “Trish’s Story,” which relates how her mother needed help at home as a result of a leg amputation and several mild strokes.

“I treasured my mother. But I just didn’t have the skills needed to care for her. The three of us siblings working together along with our two spouses wasn’t enough.” She concludes with: “Don’t confuse getting LTC insurance with someone not loving you enough. LTC insurance helps your kids get the care that will help them take better care of you. It allows the loved one the dignity that they have always asked for.”

For more about Trish, please visit www.trishswansonlongtermcare.com.