As financial professionals, our message to consumers is clear and consistent: Do something! We deliver that message when it comes to the many ways we help people protect themselves and their families: Retirement services, life insurance and disability, and certainly not least, long-term care protection.
If you’ve been monitoring Washington lately, you know that the government’s latest potential option for paying for long-term care (LTC) is dying on the vine. The Community Living Assistance Supports and Services program (CLASS) is no longer being supported by the Obama administration. CLASS was passed as part of the broader health care reform bill to create a voluntary public insurance program to pay for LTC expenses. It’s been deemed unsustainable, and members of the House are pushing for outright repeal.
Here’s where we need to step in. The failure of CLASS, coupled with the well-documented challenges found in the traditional long-term care insurance (LTCI) market, might lead people to believe there are no viable options. However, there are specific options that appeal to a consumer’s need to have predictable premiums and benefits available, even if long-term care is never needed.
A quickly expanding base of agents, professionals and others in our business is finding success by promoting viable options that use life insurance and annuity products with LTC benefits. (And in this case, the federal government has actually done something to help. More on that later.) These asset-based products use the structure of life insurance or annuities but provide LTC benefits as needed. They are payable with a lump sum (single premium) or via guaranteed annual premiums.