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Awareness month faces commotion

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John Hancock Long-Term Care Insurance and the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) are trying to help organizers of the latest Long-Term Care Awareness Month campaign get consumers thinking.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) started the latest LTC planning awareness campaign Nov. 1, on a day when tens of thousands of people in and around New York were lining up to get gas for their generators, ten of thousands were lining up for food and supplies from Red Cross trailers, and hundreds of thousands of people were shivering in dark, cold homes without electricity.

The general elections then absorbed a great deal of media attention Tuesday.

Campaign backers are hoping some of that media attention will now focus on the importance of planning for old age.

Deb Newman, chair of LIFE’s board, noted in a statement that about 70 percent of people over age Newman65 may eventually need some form of long-term care (LTC).

“With the cost of care on the rise, it’s critical that people think about their care preferences and evaluate whether they are financially prepared,” Newman said. “Far too many people rely on personal savings, their retirement fund or even family members to step in when care is needed, but those strategies are rarely sustainable.

Hancock and other campaign backers helped AALTCI pay for an LTC planning awareness in Kiplinger’s Finance magazine.

Hancock also is supporting the awareness month campaign by producing a monthly LTC planning Web publication aimed at financial professionals.

Hancock is trying to use the campaign to generate some publicity for a long-term care insurance (LTCI) product of its own that ties benefits growth to the performance of part of John Hancock’s own general account rather than to a traditional inflation adjustment feature.

LIFE is supporting the campaign by offering consumers a new LTCI guide and a series of five LTCI videos.

The videos cover topics such as “Protecting My Assets” and “Avoid Becoming a Burden to My Family.”

LIFE also is highlighting the results from a survey it sponsored earlier this year with LIMRA.

LIFE and LIMRA found, for example, that 59 percent of the consumers polled agreed that preparing for the need to pay for LTC services is important, but that only 14 percent said they owned LTCI coverage.

“Long-term care insurance and life insurance ownership are related,” LIFE said in a summary of the survey results. “Those with life insurance are significantly more likely to own long-term care insurance than those without.”

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