AccuQuote Blog

Our life insurance blog is dedicated to providing you with valuable information from experts on the topics of insurance, financial planning and personal finance.

Long Term Care Insurance: “To buy or not to buy”

In September, I wrote a post about long term care (LTC) because I was sourced in a USA Today piece on the topic.  I barely scratched the surface, though.

Now we’re in November, and it’s LTC Awareness Month.  But there’s a pretty good chance you’ll need long term care EVERY MONTH when you get older (not just in November).  Here are some more details on LTC insurance (pay attention, as the stats say you’ll probably need it!):

What is it?

Well, let’s start with what long term care is; it’s what you’ll probably need when you’re older (keep reading to learn just HOW LIKELY it is that you’ll need it).

Long term care insurance is what can HELP you pay for that care, which costs A LOT now and is only going to increase.

Of course, you don’t want to think about getting old, wearing a diaper, and not being able to take care of yourself.  But as long as you’re alive, that day will probably come.  And when it does, where will the money for care come from?

Answer: Long term care insurance.

Why do you need it?

Because LTC costs are staggering, will eat up your savings, and could cause you or loved ones to die broke.  In other words, long term care poses a HUGE threat to your retirement plans.

How much of a burden do you plan to be on your family in your “old age”?

Live-in care is $200 a day.  A nursing home is over $300 a day. Do the math.  That’s $180,000 A YEAR for a couple.  If you can’t afford it, your family bears the brunt of these expenses.

Think you eventually won’t need long term care? Think again

FACT: There’s a 91% chance that either you or your spouse will need long term care

FACT: 70% of people over 65 will need ongoing assistance of some kind in their lives (and Medicare only pays for short periods of care)

Bottom line: Long term care insurance shouldn’t be an option; it should be an essential and required part of your financial plan.

How do long term care policies work?

No one gets excited about buying long term care insurance … paying premiums … and coming to grips with what life will be like one day when you actually need the care. No one wants to even think about it. But it’s important to learn how it all works.

In order to collect benefits, most long term care policies require that you either:

  1.   Have a severe cognitive impairment (i.e. Alzheimer’s) OR
  2. Are unable to perform (without help) two or more of the six Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

The six ADLs are: eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, continence, and transferring (transferring is the ability to get out of a chair and walk across the room and sit in another chair—all without assistance).

How much does it cost?

It depends on a handful of factors, including your age, gender, current health and the amount of coverage you want.  You can buy a little, a lot, or none at all; it’s your choice.   If you want specifics on pricing and plans, call us at 877-908-5089

Think about this …

The odds of your house burning down are 1 in 1,200. Yet who in their right mind goes without homeowner’s insurance?!

The chances of needing long term care are much greater (91%); can you really afford not to have long term care insurance?

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Life can change in a heartbeat! Cal has a lot to be thankful for. What about You?

Calvin Lampert purchased life insurance from AccuQuote in 2006.  In 2012, we reached out to Cal- his needs had changed and he realized he needed another $350,000 term policy. 

Two months prior to our call in 2012, Cal had a physical exam that showed he was in perfect health. However, the insurance company would not approve Cal’s new $350,000 term policy without additional testing.  AccuQuote NEVER heard from Cal again until this year.

This year when we reached out again, Cal realized he was speaking to his original agent. Cal exclaimed, “I love you, you saved my life. I didn’t remember your name so I couldn’t get back in touch with you to thank you.”

Why didn’t Cal follow up with AccuQuote in 2012? 

Cal was very annoyed that he had to submit to additional medical testing for the new policy, but he did it anyway.  Immediately after the testing, the doctor called.  “I’ve got some bad news for you, you’ve got a blockage and you need to get to a surgeon immediately.” 

How could this happen? Cal had 95% blockage in his carotid artery when only two months prior his physical showed he was in perfect health!  The doctor explained that this is a silent killer because most people have a stroke or just die without knowing they even had an issue.

Fast forward to 2014, on the call with our agent, Cal emotionally said “If it were not for you, I might not be here now. I can’t thank you enough! . . .I’m electing myself the President of the Accuquote fan club and will tell everyone that will listen about your company.” 

We often take life’s little moments for granted. Protect your life’s little moments by purchasing life insurance.  We’d love to hear why you need life insurance. Share your story at yourstory@accuquote.com

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Posted in AccuQuote News , Life Insurance , Personal Life Stories | No Comments »

The countdown: Health Care Reform and what it means to America

If you take politics out of the equation, and analyze the new healthcare reforms introduced by president Obama, you can see that the idea is positive.  Making health insurance affordable is a great step.

ObamaCare, as the healthcare reforms have been come to be known, was at the center of much debate and controversy.  Here’s a simple explanation of the situation from Forbes.com.  With the Open Enrollment date approaching for the officially titled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) drawing near, here’s a look at some key factors of this landmark legislation.

  • The law. The Affordable Care Act is a wide ranging program that covers a variety of aspects of the health sector in general.  The crucial pieces of the law affecting all Americans is the mandate  that everyone must have minimum “essential” coverage, and the introduction of subsidies in private insurance and government run Medicaid to help fulfill this requirement.
  • The optional additional subsidy.  The Medicaid expansion subsidy helps individuals and families earning less than 133% of the federal poverty level , receive reduced or free health care. Currently, 26 states are offering this Medicaid Expansion. Families could be eligible for subsidies based on family size, income, age of the enrollees and the residence state.
  • The deadline. For the 2015 calendar year, there is an Open enrollment period from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th 2015 for those who aren’t covered by Medicaid, Medicare or health insurance through the workplace. Under certain conditions called a “Qualifying Life Event” you may still qualify for a special enrollment outside of the Open Enrollment period. Although, you can apply for Medicaid and Children’s Medicaid at any time.
  • The penalty. Tax penalties went into effect in 2014.  So, if you were still uninsured after March 2014; you are liable to pay the tax penalty, payable when you file your 2014 income tax returns.    The penalty in 2014 will be either 1.0% of taxable income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (up to $285 per family), whichever is higher.  In 2015, the figure will rise to 2.0% or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975 per family), and 2.5% or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $$2,085 per family) in 2016.  After this point, the rate will go up based on cost-of-living figures pertaining to the period.

So, if you aren’t already insured, use the upcoming Open Enrollment period to acquire your health insurance policy. AccuQuote can now help you shop for health insurance just like we helped hundreds of thousands to shop for the best life insurance policy. It’s so easy; we will find you the best policy to fit your family and budget.

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If You Had or Have Breast Cancer, Can You Still Get Life Insurance? (Hint: You'll be Surprised!)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There’s pink all over—in NFL games; on the streets; in the windows of buildings; and even in our office, where I’ve seen some pink streaks of hair (!).  I’m all for it.  If you read this blog, you know I feel strongly that Life Insurance Awareness Month (September), Long Term Care Awareness Month (right around the corner in November), and Disability Insurance Awareness Month (May) are very worthwhile initiatives, but they should not stop us from promoting and recognizing the importance of these vital products during the rest of the year as well.  In other words, EVERY MONTH should be life insurance awareness month.  It’s THAT important!

 

The same goes for breast cancer.  It affects way too many women for us just to think about it in October.  According to Breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

 

But what about getting life insurance if you have or had breast cancer?  It’s a meaningful question, and also a newsworthy one (I recently spoke to one nationally renowned personal finance columnist about it and am scheduled to talk with another in a few days).

 

Well, in the old days, the answer to that question would have been a hard NO.  But now, things are different.  The two keys here are how long you’ve been cancer-free and what stage your breast cancer is currently in.  Another factor that some carriers consider is family history.  We have written almost $100 BILLION in coverage, have over 100,000 clients in all 50 states, and have issued over 200,000 policies, so we certainly have experience in this area and know the best approach for a person with breast cancer.  There’s not a If we know a particular carrier uses family history as a reason for a rate hike, we’ll steer our client in a different direction.  It’s one of the advantages of going through a company like AccuQuote that comparison shops for you, uses a quoting engine, and does the heavy lifting for you.

 

Here’s a couple bits of information to keep in mind:

 -          If a parent or sibling has breast cancer already, but you haven’t, the good news is that you still have a good chance of getting life insurance at Preferred rates! 

-          If your breast cancer was non-invasive, the good news is that you can likely get a nice life insurance policy NOW (the best prices will likely be 3-5 years after you were treated for it)

 

If you or someone you know have or had breast cancer, we might be able to get you covered.  Like anything else in life, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.  So give us a call!

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Posted in Insurance , Life Insurance , Life Insurance Podcasts , Term Life Insurance | No Comments »

If You Don’t Think You Need Long Term Care Insurance, Think Again

Unless you are really, really broke or really, really rich, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll need some sort of long term care (LTC).  If you’re extremely wealthy or dirt poor, go ahead and abandon this blog post (but come back in a week or so for the next one!).

But for those who fall in the very large middle of those two categories—that’s almost everyone, by the way—you’ll want to keep reading.

Who needs long term care?

The short answer to this question is most of us.

No one wants to think about getting old, wearing diapers, and not being able to go through life without assistance.  But this stuff really happens!  And if you’re one of the vast majority of us that ends up needing care, a long term care policy will turn out to be the smartest investment you ever make.

Let’s see how well you do on the following quiz question:

The odds that either you or your spouse will need long term care are:

a)    25%

b)    47%

c)     61%

d)    91%

Answer:  There’s a 91 percent chance that either you or your spouse will need long term care.  Let that sink in for a second.

When that happens, if you don’t have long term care insurance, you may end up looking to others (probably your kids) to cover the cost of care.  This is, of course, after you’ve depleted your entire life savings. 

What will happen if you don’t buy LTC insurance?

As I mentioned to Rodney Brooks in USA Today, a few years of paying for care can ruin you financially.  So before you dismiss LTC insurance as a non-essential or luxury, ask yourself how much of a burden you plan on being on your family. 

So what’s the bottom line?

70 percent of those over 65 years of age will need LTC.  Sure, you could wind up in the 30 percent group that doesn’t need it, but do you really want to take that chance?  Can you afford to take that chance? 

The cost of a live-in caregiver may add up to $1,200 a week, plus meals.  An assisted living facility costs about $3,000 a month.

Here are some more numbers to think about (I know about this stuff FIRST HAND):  both of my parents (Mom is 81, Dad is 84) are currently receiving long term care.  Dad is at home with live-in care -- $200 a day.  Mom was recently in a nursing home – over $300 a day.  Do the math.  That’s $180,000 A YEAR for the two of them. 

I think you’ll agree…Those costs are staggering.  And the costs are going up every year. 

If you have a mattress full of cash or your kids are rich, you’ll probably be OK.  But if not, you might die broke.  My parents probably will.

Fill out a long term care insurance quote request and find out just how affordable LTC insurance can be for you.

 

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Posted in Life Insurance , Long Term Care Insurance | No Comments »