Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Millions of middle-aged Americans worry about parents in their 50’s and 60’s who lack long term care insurance (LTCi). Should they buy policies for their unprotected parents, and if so, how should they go about it? They can learn by trial and error, but that can be a recipe for delay, false starts, and frustration. Today the LTC Guild applauds Paula Taylor for supplying a clear path based on years of experience.
A simple four-step process, developed by Taylor, may be helpful to children who want to consider this approach. Taylor is an LTCi specialist and member of the LTC Guild, the social network for the long-term care industry.
1. Confirm that long-term care insurance is the best solution. “It should serve your own needs as well as the parent’s,” says Taylor. “Also, determine if LTCi is a better solution than other alternatives.” She recommends answering questions such as — Are you prepared for one or more parent to move in with you? Or is a brother or sister?
In the absence of LTC insurance, who in your family would be the default caregiver? “It’s often a woman who assumes this role,” says Taylor. “Is someone available and willing to help with eating, dressing, toileting?”
Are you wealthy enough to pay for care out of savings, or would that jeopardize your own retirement? Taylor tells of a California family, the Maravillia’s, that investigated annuities, mutual funds, and savings as a means of financing their mother’s care. “They found the market risk too high and interest rates too low,” says Taylor. “That left LTCi as the best option.”
2. Thoroughly research the LTCi options before approaching your parent. Working with an LTCi specialist, design a plan that is appropriate and comfortably affordable. “Pinpoint the right policy for your situation,” says Taylor. You cannot submit an application without the participation of the person to be insured, so you’re not done yet.
3. Gain buy-in from your siblings. “Everyone should be consulted before you approach your parent,” says Taylor. This can be done in a family gathering or by phone. The concerns and involvement of all should be addressed. So should the question of who pays. “In the Maravillia family,” says Taylor, “four of the seven children were in a position to help with the premium, and a brother who had made a lot of money agreed to cover extra costs if the insurance didn’t pay enough.”
4. Present the plan to your parent. He or she may not react favorably. “At first our mother was resistant,” says Lucille Maravillia. “She didn’t want us to spend the money, but finally agreed it was the best solution.” Once your parent says yes, it’s time to apply for a policy. Remember, the insurance must be purchased before care is needed and while the parent can still health-qualify. For the Maravillia family, LTCi protection has been in place for 10 years.
“Over time Mother is so grateful,” says Lucille. “She has seen friends who struggled because they don’t have the insurance. She is very active and independent and she thanks us all the time. It has given her a lot of peace of mind. For us it was a gift of love.”
Paula Taylor is an agent with LTC Partners and Insurance Services, LLC, the California division of LTC Financial Partners, LLC, a national agency of LTC professionals. Her primary goal is to educate her clients so they can protect their independence and assets, and not burden their loves ones. She provides education programs for accountants, attorneys, insurance professionals and financial advisors. In addition, she works with employers who are concerned about the effect that long-term care needs may have on employees and their families.
Taylor may be reached at (800) 303-1103 or http://www.paulataylorltc.com. Lucille Maravillia is a health insurance agent with offices in San Jose. The LTC Guild — http://ltcguild.ning.com — is a social network described as "the place where long-term care and allied professionals meet one another and the public, form local chapters, schedule meetings, and share information." It is managed by EraNova Institute of Mountain Lakes, NJ.