Eric Henderson has been working to protect Americans from longevity and health risk for years.
Henderson, senior vice president of the annuity and life businesses at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, came to New York on Monday to try to draw attention to Americans’ unmet long-term care (LTC) planning needs.
Nationwide’s Nationwide Retirement Institute is doing its part this week by releasing its sixth annual batch of LTC awareness survey data. The institute hired Harris Institute to poll 1,214 U.S. adults ages 50 and older, and a separate sample of 508 caregivers ages 50 and older.
(Related: 7 Wells of LTC Planning Terror)
One survey finding: Planning ahead for the need for care helps.
“When you don’t plan for it, that makes it really tough to deal with it,” Henderson said in an interview.
When a couple that has failed to plan is caring for an older parent, “it puts stress on their marriage,” Henderson said. “It puts stress on their finances.”
Henderson said helping people plan for LTC needs, and caregiving responsibilities, is an example of how financial professionals can pursue what Nationwide calls their “noble purpose”: putting clients in a better position.
Here are five more ideas about the nuts and bolts of pursuing the noble LTC planning purpose, drawn from the interview with Eric Henderson, and from a summary of Nationwide’s survey findings.
(Image: Andre J. Spidjass/Thinkstock)
1. Consumers may know a more, but gaps remain.
Nationwide found, for example, that the participants in the latest survey knew one important thing about LTC risk: 85% understood that Medicare does not pay for LTC services.
The participants also showed some awareness of their knowledge gaps: 67% said they wished they understood Medicare better. Only 27% were cocky enough to say they were confident about their ability to pay for LTC expenses.
But 55% of the participants said they had not discussed LTC costs with anyone.
2. Many financial professionals still have trouble volunteering information about LTC risk.
For anyone, talking about LTC risk “is a very emotional discussion,” Henderson said.
Most financial professionals now know they should address the topic, but, especially when they have never sold stand-alone long-term care insurance (LTCI), “they’re not comfortable having that conversation,” Henderson said.
Nationwide has developed an infographic and other materials to help financial professionals explain the risk to clients.
Nationwide has also added a health care assessment.
Going over the assessment results with a client can be a relatively easy way for a financial professional to ease into a conversation about LTC risk, Henderson said.