Some LifeHealthPro.com readers have been selling stand-alone long-term care insurance for years. If you’re one of them, this article is not for you.
But what if you usually focus on selling other types of products, and new clients, or established clients who have ignored your recommendations to plan for long-term care (LTC) costs for years, suddenly come in with urgent questions about relatives’ need for LTC services, or their own imminent need for LTC services?
The company I work for, Senior Planning Services, helps the many families that rely on Medicaid LTC benefits understand the system. You may believe that families should buy private LTCI, or use other private insurance and savings products to pay LTC costs, but many middle-income families are in situations that require them to take a different approach.
When families have not thought much about long-term care and suddenly come in asking about that topic, you may find that the challenges involved with knowing what to say can be daunting.
Here are four things an insurance professional outside the LTC field should consider when deciding whether to refer a client to someone who understands how LTC services really work.
1. Has the family discussed long-term care at all?
Even in some families that have no private LTCI, long-term care is part of the plan that they’ve made to care for aging relatives. They know what mom’s wishes were before Alzheimer’s claimed so much of her mind that she couldn’t contribute to the discussion anymore, or they know what dad would want, now that he’s starting to have trouble taking care of himself throughout the day.
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Other families have no idea what their aging family members would have wanted and struggle to come up with a plan. A long-term care specialist is ideal for helping these families develop a plan of action that will work best for their loved ones.
2. Do they really understand what long-term care is?
There are a variety of options available for long-term care. It’s not just about nursing homes anymore. There are plenty of assisted living and home care options available, including caregivers who will come in to help with bathing and dressing, meal delivery, and plenty of other options that can make it possible for an aging relative to stay in the home longer.
See also: How Medicaid has evolved in 50 years
Not all long-term care options are created equal, though, and it would be naïve to think that any senior can have all their needs met while remaining in the comfort of their own home. Generally, home care benefits programs will cover only 25 hours of care per week. In a nursing home or assisted living facility the resident could potentially receive up to 24/7 hours of care.