Saturday, December 19, 2009

Calorie Intake Linked To Longevity And Cancer Development

Cutting consumption of glucose, the most common dietary sugar, can extend the life of healthy human cells and speed the death of precancerous cells, reducing cancer's spread and growth rate.

According to findings reported by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reducing calorie-intake can benefit longevity and help prevent diseases like cancer that have been linked to aging.

The researchers conducted tests by growing both healthy human-lung cells and precancerous human-lung cells in laboratory flasks. The flasks were provided either normal levels of glucose or significantly reduced amounts of the sugar compound, and the cells then were allowed to grow for a period of weeks. Restricted glucose levels led the healthy cells to grow longer than is typical and caused the precancerous cells to die off in large numbers.

Every year some 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer. It ranks as one of the leading factors for the need for costly long-term care according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance among aging seniors.

Two key genes were affected in the cellular response to decreased glucose consumption. The first gene, telomerase, encodes an important enzyme that allows cells to divide indefinitely. The second gene, p16, encodes a well known anti-cancer protein.

Healthy cells saw their telomerase rise and p16 decrease, which would explain the boost in healthy cell growth, the researchers explained. The research into the links between calorie intake, aging and the onset of diseases related to aging is thought to be a first of its kind given that it used the unique approach of testing human cells versus laboratory animals.

The study has been published in the online edition of The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Monday, December 14, 2009

People Who Look Young For Their Age Tend To Live Longer

People who look young for their age enjoy a longer life than those who look older than their years.

According to researchers, doctors frequently use perceived age as a general indication of a patient's health. They note however, that there is little research upon which to base validity of the belief.

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, examined whether perceived age is linked with survival. They investigated important age related traits, such as physical and mental (cognitive) functioning and a molecular biomarker of aging (leukocyte telomere length).

Telomere length indicates the ability of the body's cells to reproduce. Shorter length is associated with a host of diseases related to aging, lifestyle factors and death.

A total of 1,826 Danish twins aged 70 years and over underwent physical and cognitive tests in the spring of 2001. Their faces were also photographed. Assessors rated the perceived age of the twins from their facial photographs. The assessors did not know the age range of the twins. In addition, each twin of a pair had their age assessed on different days.

Following the assessments, death records were used to track the survival of the twins over a seven year period. Perceived age was significantly associated with longer life survival. This was true even after adjusting for chronological age, sex, and the environment in which each pair of twins grew up. Perceived age, adjusted for chronological age and sex, also correlated with physical and cognitive functioning as well as leukocyte telomere length.

Also, the bigger the difference in perceived age within a twin pair, the more likely it was that the older looking twin died first. The age, sex and professional background of the assessors had no relevance to any of the results.

The researchers concluded that perceived age based on facial photographs is a strong biomarker of ageing. It predicts survival among people aged 70 years and over and correlates with important functional and molecular age related characteristics.

Report gathered by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How To Respond To The Passage Of CLASS

It appears that any final efforts to remove the CLASS Act from the Senate Health legislation have failed and thus it looks almost assured that we are witnessing the birth of a long-term care insurance plan that will be offered by the federal government.

Inevitably, the new plan will be included within newspaper and magazine stories that help American consumers understand what it all means to them. That will likely generate questions from people who already purchased long-term care insurance. It will inevitably bring up questions from those who are looking into it. It will certainly impact employers who will be the ones offering the federal plan to employees.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance will develop succinct and factual talking points for consumers. The federal plan will provide benefits to many who would otherwise never be able to secure long-term care insurance protection.

It will likely also confuse many and will give people a false sense of security or a reason to put off planning for long-term care. That would be an enormous mistake.

We will be soliciting input from thought leaders and from the various insurers. Undoubtedly they will want to be prepared to handle calls from inquiring customers.

If you have suggestions or wish to share statements you have seen, that would be most welcome.

Send them on to: Jesse Slome, E-mail: mailto:jslome@aaltci.org

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Study Examines Long Term Home Health Care Utilization

December 1, 2009 - Some 7.5 million Americans currently receive long-term care at home because of an acute illness, long-term health condition, a permanent disability, or terminal illness according to a new report.

That compares to only 1.5 million in nursing homes and 1.1 million who reside in assisted-living communities according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance which teamed up with Homewatch CareGivers to conduct a study examining trends in long-term health care and the utilization of associated support services.

"Most people incorrectly associate long-term health care with skilled nursing care in a facility when the vast majority of care takes place at home," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “It is clear that the people in today’s society prefer treatment for chronic conditions and issues related to aging in their own home rather than in a residential facility.”

One aspect of the study sought to compare individuals with long-term care insurance policies with those without insurance coverage. The findings indicated that individuals with long-term care insurance receive significantly more home care, and thus can stay in their homes longer. The study found that 70.6% of those covered by long-term care insurance received an average of between five and seven days of care each week, while only 35.1% of those without insurance received similar care as often.

"When possible, home is almost always the preferred setting for people who require care," says Leann Reynolds, president of Homewatch CareGivers. “This has been a clear and growing trend for more than a decade, as more and better home services have become available. The vast majority of people want to receive support care in their homes in order to maintain independence and quality of life for as long as possible.”

Possessing insurance to pay part or all of the cost of home care services enabled individuals to receive care at home for longer periods of time. The study found that 41.2% of those with insurance received care for longer than one year; compared to 29.7% of those without coverage.

"The study confirms what we've long suspected, that a basic long-term care insurance plan costing less than $1,000 a year may provide sufficient coverage for those who want care at home and still have the ability to transition to more costly skilled facilities should the need arise," adds Slome.

According to the Urban Institute, a nonprofit founded in 1968 that conducts research on social and economic issues to foster sound public policy, 21.3 percent of the frail older population receives paid home care services and it projects this will increase to 22.3 percent by 2030 and 25.5% by 2040.

"It is vitally important for individuals to recognize the increased likelihood of needing care at some point in their lives, and to plan for that inevitability," concludes Reynolds. “Having sufficient financial resources or the protection of long-term care insurance are the prime factors for all of us who want to stay in our homes and receive care for as long as possible.”

- - -

Founded in 1980, Homewatch CareGivers http://www.homewatchcaregivers.com/ is the largest, most experienced international provider of full-service home care for people of all ages, including seniors, children, veterans, the chronically ill, and those recovering from medical procedures. In-home care services are personalized for each client and customized care plans are administered through an international network of 111 owners with 181 territories. Founded in 1998, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance http://www.aaltci.org is the national trade organization established to educate Americans about the importance of long-term care planning. For more information visit the organization's Consumer Information Center or to access a free guide to reducing the cost of long-term care insurance click on this link: www.aaltci.org/free-guide/ .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Guides Address Increased Tax Deductions For Long-Term Care Insurance


Two new guides explain 2010 tax deductibility rules and limits for individuals and business owners purchasing long-term care insurance.

The "Guide To Tax Deductible Long-Term Care Insurance" was published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

"Tax deductions and credits are going to be increasingly important and a most significant selling point insurance and financial professionals can use to encourage long-term care planning," states Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. To encourage individuals and small business owners to purchase long-term care insurance the federal government and many states have started offering tax deductions and tax incentives.

The 2010 version of the guide explains tax rules for individuals as well as those who are self-employed or own small businesses. The applicable rules vary including limits for allowable tax deductions.

Tax-deductible limits for individuals can be as much as $4,110 per-individual starting in 2010 based on age. "Small business owners can take advantage of special tax rules that may make the full cost of long-term care insurance tax deductible," Slome adds. "The business can even pay for spouses and designate coverage for selected employees on a tax-advantaged basis."

A second booklet, "Accountant's Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance" provides comprehensive information including Internal Revenue Codes pertaining to various tax deductibility rules and the new 2010 aged-based limits for long-term care insurance tax deductions.

Copies of the 2010 editions of both brochures can be ordered by calling the Association at (818) 597-3227 or by visiting the organization's website: http://www.aaltci.org/tools.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long-Term Care Awareness Month Television Appearance

Ron Goldner, Financial Planner with Wealth Strategies Group, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee capitalized on Long-Term Care Awareness Month by arranging three local television appearances. You can view his appearance on the local Fox-station's newscast.

At the end of the interview, Ron offers copies of the Association's Guide For Women and has already fielded a number of calls. Offering a brochure is a great way to get the station to include your phone number. Way to go Ron.

If you send me examples of media placements you have secured, we'll gladly share them with others.



Posted by Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
http://www.aaltci.org

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Articles For Your Long-Term Care Blog

If you are reading this blog, chances are you have your own blog. or, at least, you have had more than one fleeting thought about starting one.

For those who have a blog, here is some news I believe will be of value.

For those who do not have a blog - I strongly urge you to start one. It will be a meaningful way to market yourself and your business. More on that at another time (and if you are a member, read the issue of Sales Strategies).

On a monthly basis, I will write and make available an informational blog posting that you can (and should) add to your own blog. Free content of a valuable nature. You will simply copy, personalize and post on your blog. Keep reading.

I just posted the first one. It's available as part of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance's Online Learning & Marketing Center. Click here and sign-in. Then go into the Publicity section. It's the most recent post.

First, the simplest way to copy and use the text is to highlight the text and copy it into a new Word document. The Download feature isn't great and I hope to change that in the coming year. So copy and paste.

Second, if you include a live link to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance's website as part of your posts, I will reciprocate with a link to your website. Links are important in Google's eyes - so we can help each other. The link must go to: http://www.aaltci.org/. After you post, send me an E-mail with the link to your blog and what website you want us to include in our links. E-mail me at: jslome @ aaltci.org.

Third (and this is important). Be sure that you personalize your blog. If you have a separate blog from your website, be sure to include a link to your website. Again, this is good for your Google ranking.

I dedicate an hour a day to what's called Social Marketing via the net. I can tell you that the world is going online (not just young people) and Association members will get the tools to make that a bit simpler.

LTC Association Membership Counts For MDRT

To be a member of MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) one has to belong to at least one qualifying organization.

We are very pleased to advise you that Membership in the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance qualifies.

And, because AALTCI membership currently costs $49 for a year a number of members have found it possible to join MDRT. If you belong to MDRT, you can certainly indicate you are an AALTCI member to meet their qualification.

If you know or work with other agents or brokers who qualify for MDRT membership but have put off joining because of the expense of belonging to other industry organizations, you have a solution to remove that objection. Of course, there are many other benefits available to members of the nation's only industry trade organization focused exclusively on long-term care insurance.

Please feel free to forward this information to others.

Membership in the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is $49 for 1-year. (Please note that dues will increase to $99 in January 2010.)

Here is the link to see all benefits of AALTCI membership:
http://www.aaltci.org/ltc-marketing/membership/benefits.php

Here is the link to our online membership application:
https://www.aaltci.org/ltc-marketing/membership/

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill Contains Long-Term Care Insurance Option

The passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, contains provisions to establish a national voluntary long-term care insurance program.

Section 2581 of the nearly 2,000-page bill provides for the establishment of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program the purpose of which is to "establish a national voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services."

The measure aims to provide individuals with functional limitations with tools that will allow them to maintain their personal and financial independence and live in the community. The plan intends to offer insurance to those who are actively employed or those who are members of the uniformed services and is on active duty.

According to data compiled by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the cost of the government insurance program is expected to be close to $1,500-per-year for an individual; close to $3,000 for a couple with both spouses participating. The organization notes that individuals who are able to health qualify for private insurance will likely still be able to purchase significantly better protection for less money from private insurers. For those unable to health qualify for long-term care insurance, the CLASS plan will be a viable, though expensive option experts note.

The proposed government long-term care insurance plan is designed to commence some time before 2012, though many details including the final cost and benefits will still need to be worked out. Individuals who choose to pay the government-imposed insurance premiums will need to participate by paying insurance premiums for a minimum of five years -- or until 2017 -- in order to first be eligible for benefits.

The Congressional language requires that individuals "shall be automatically enrolled in the CLASS program by an employer" though an opt-out provision will be permitted for those who choose not to have the long-term care insurance premiums deducted from their pay check.

Once the Senate passes its health care reform bill, the House and Senate bills will have to be reconciled into one document and voted on again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Increased Tax Deduction Limits For Long-Term Care Insurance

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced increased deductibility levels for long-term care insurance policies purchased in 2010. "For the first time, the maximum deductible limit for an individual exceeds $4,000," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance , the national trade organization.

"The federal government and an increasing number of states are sending a clear signal that individuals need to plan for long-term care and tax deductibility and tax credits certainly make long-term care insurance more attractive to millions," Slome adds. "It is a positive sign to see limits for long-term care insurance deductibility increase especially when pension contribution limits for 2010 were not increased."

The end of the year provides a double tax-saving incentive for consumers. There is still time to take advantage of tax deductions in 2009 and also benefit from the increased deductible limits next year.

The 2010 deductible limits under Section 213(d)(10) for eligible long-term care premiums includable in the term ‘medical care’ are as follows:
Age 40 or less: $ 330
More than 40 but not more than 50: $ 620
More than 50 but not more than 60: $1,230
More than 60 but not more than 70: $3,290
More than 70: $4,110

A complete explanation of tax deductible rules for individuals and business owners can be found on the Association's website: Click here for 2010 tax deductible limits.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance Coverage Question Regarding Penn Treaty Liquidation

I am still learning much about the Internet. I recently created a LinkedIn group for long-term care insurance producers and others. There have already been some interesting discussions between the members and I'd encourage you to consider joining.

I'm not 100% sure how to join groups ... but I know you can do so by first getting linked to me (which I'm happy to do). Go to:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesseslome
If there's a better way ... let me know.

Once on my LinkedIn page, you want to click on the the group Long-Term Care Insurance Producers. (Look on the lefthand side at the top). You do NOT want the one USA - AALTCI (someone smartly created that group ... not me ... and thus I can not monitor or make sure it serves what I believe is the intent).

Anyway ... there are currently about 101 participants ... and some good stuff.
Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Below is one of the questions and responses that I believe will be of interest.

Question from Kathleen Smith

After the latest news on Penn Treaty, I revisited the AALTCI 2009 Sourcebook article on State Guaranty Associations. I know that LTCi is protected up to $100,000. But, what does that mean to policy holders not on claim? If they have a 5 year/$250,000 policy benefit does their premium remain the same with it being paid to the State? If so, is their premium adjusted to reflect a $100,000 policy benefit rather than a $250,000 benefit pool compounding annually? ...

The response which I obtained from Sean McKenna at the National Association which comprises all the State Guaranty Associations.

The new NAIC Guaranty Association Model Act recommends $300,000 for LTC coverage. A number of states either have passed the new model limit or have it under consideration now. In answer to your second question, no, the premiums do not decline.
Sean McKenna
Director of Communications
NOLHGA

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Penn Treaty May Need More Than $1 Billion for Claims

Many long-term care insurance agents have clients who they placed with Penn Treaty and others have asked to be kept aprised. I thought the following would be of interest and value.
Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Summarized from a Bloomberg Report: Penn Treaty Network American Insurance Co., facing the biggest insurer failure in at least five years, may need more than $1 billion in additional funds to pay claims, a state regulator said.

Penn Treaty “is far more insolvent than originally believed,” Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario’s office said in an Oct. 2 request for liquidation. Penn Treaty American Corp., the Allentown, Pennsylvania-based parent of the insurer, included the document in a regulatory filing yesterday.

Sellers of long-term care coverage, including Penn Treaty, suffered after underestimating expenses, while the broader life insurance industry has reported losses on declines in stocks and bonds. Penn Treaty, with about 120,000 customers, was hurt by investment losses in the recession and “seriously under- reserved” for claims in previous years, the regulator said.

“It’s potentially a big deficit mostly that will come from guarantee funds,”a spokeswoman for Ario’s office, said in an interview. Policyholders pay Penn Treaty about $249 million in annual premium for coverage, and the regulator ruled out using rate increases to bridge the potential $1.3 billion gap between assets and future claims. That deficit will be left to state guaranty funds, which are funded by solvent insurers.

Penn Treaty is among at least eight carriers in the U.S. facing forced rehabilitation or liquidation by regulators this year, according to data collected by the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations. That compares with four in 2008.

Ario, who seized Penn Treaty in January, didn’t find an insurer to purchase or assume any of its policies. According to Nolhga, Penn Treaty has about $1 billion in assets. Cash from premiums will be sufficient to pay claims for several years, Placey of the Pennsylvania regulator said.

“There’s enough money to pay claims going forward and get the guaranty associations ready for the transition,” Placey said. Guaranty funds are used to pay claims when regulated insurers are unable to meet obligations. Penn Treaty policies will remain active for customers who continue to pay premiums. A state court will weigh Ario’s request to liquidate the company, his office said in statement last week.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Petitions to Place Penn Treaty Into Liquidation

October 2, 2009. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today filed petitions that seek orders of liquidation for Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company and its subsidiary, American Network Insurance Company. The petitions are subject to the approval of Commonwealth Court.

"We have been on-site analyzing the organizations' assets, liabilities, reserves and surpluses since we began our rehabilitation action in January," Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario said. "Our comprehensive, independent evaluation has determined that the companies do not have the ability to pay future claims without significant rate increases that would have to be requested and approved in all 50 states. In the current circumstances, those rate increases simply would not be fair to policyholders.

"We have instead petitioned for an orderly liquidation of all company assets in which policyholders' claim payments are our number one priority. Additionally, active long-term care policies will not be canceled, except by the policyholder, so they will be transitioned to the states' guaranty funds once an order takes effect. Guaranty funds have the right to assess other insurance companies to cover policyholder claims up to coverage limits that vary by state."
Penn Treaty Network America, headquartered in Allentown, and its subsidiary, American Network, provide long-term care insurance to more than 120,000 policyholders.

Together, the companies offered long-term care insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Policyholders and other interested parties will receive further information about the liquidation when the court enters an order. In the interim, policyholders with questions on claims or non-claim matters may call, toll-free, 1-800-362-0700, ext. 3270.

Posted by Jesse Slome
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Americans Fail Long Term Care Insurance Planning Quiz

When it comes to knowledge about long-term care insurance planning, Americans once again received a failing grade.

Long-term care poses the single largest risk to Americans living on retirement savings and income according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group. Yet, few consumers have the facts correct when it comes to understanding available planning options.

As the U.S. population ages, the percentage of people older than 65 will increase from about 13% in 2009 to 20% in 2040. Part of the projected increase is due to an increased life expectancy beyond age 65. After retirement health insurance and Medicare provide very little long-term care benefit, if any, according to financial planning professionals.

The results of a just-released national study of individuals between 40 and 70, most reported knowing what long-term care is and how much it costs. But their scores fall short when it comes to knowing what percentage of people will need long-term care and how they will pay for it. According to the study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, just about four in ten adults (36%) know that 60-to-70 percent of 65-year-olds will require long-term care services at some point in their lives. Just over one-third knew that most long-term care services are received at home.

While the number of respondents answering correctly (37%) increased since the 2004 survey (18%), awareness is low overall.Few participants in the survey reported that they are taking action to protect themselves from such potentially catastrophic expenses; only 18% know long-term care insurance rates are based on age, but almost nine in ten (87%) are aware that a comprehensive long-term care policy covers home, assisted living and nursing home care.

The survey also reported that eight in ten respondents (85%) understand that long-term care could have many causes, such as Alzheimer's disease, an accident or a chronic or disabling condition. More than four in ten (43%) are able to correctly identify the national average monthly cost for assisted living.

For more information on long-term care insurance, visit the Association's Consumer Information Center where you can read the organization's free guide on reducing the cost of long-term care insurance. Click here to read the guide.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance Marketing Tools Available

November is national Long-Term Care Awareness Month, an outstanding opportunity for insurance and financial professionals to communicate with clients and prospects about this important protection.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional trade organization, has created a variety of marketing tools for use by agents and brokers. The tools consist of a direct mail letter to be sent to prospects as well as an E-card that can be personalized and E-mailed by the agent. The E-card is private so that only the recipient is notified and can directly reply back to the sending agent. These tools are available free of charge for use by all agents via the Association's website. Click here to access the free marketing tools:

In addition, a number of special tools have been created for use by Association members. These include a press release that can be personalized with the agent's information and distributed to local media. A letter for mailing to secure radio interviews is also available within the Association's Online Learning, Marketing & Sales Center.

Membership in the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance remains $49 through December 31, 2009 after which it will increase to $99. For more information, click here to visit the Association's website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance Trade Organization Applauds Baucus Proposal

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's national professional organization, commended Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) for including a proposal to allow cafeteria plans to offer qualified long-term care insurance as part of his health care reform package.

The proposal was part of the Senator's "America’s Healthy Future Act," health care reform legislation which the Senator notes is intended to lower costs and provide quality, affordable health care coverage.

The health care reform proposal will make it easier for families and small businesses to buy health care coverage including long-term care insurance, ensure Americans can choose to keep the health care coverage they have if they like it and slow the growth of health care costs over time. The Finance Committee will meet to begin voting on the Chairman’s Mark next week.

The proposal recommends creation of a Simple Cafeteria Plan – a vehicle through which small businesses can provide tax-free benefits to their employees. This change would ease the participation restrictions and include self-employed individuals as qualified employees. The proposal also exempts employers who make contributions for employees under a simple cafeteria plan from pension plan nondiscrimination requirements applicable to highly compensated and key employees.

Finally, the proposal allows for qualified long-term care insurance to be provided under a cafeteria plan to the extent the amount of such contributions does not exceed the eligible long-term care premiums for the contract. This proposal is effective beginning on January 1, 2011.

The full text of the America’s Healthy Future Act is available at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/leg/LEG 2009/091609 Americas_Healthy_Future_Act.pdf

Monday, August 31, 2009

What Do Consumers Pay For Long-Term Care Insurance

The Partnership program provides enormous benefit for consumers. It also provides significant benefit to insurance professionals.

One of the most important benefits is the gathering of relevant information. The following is preliminary information gathered from the Partnership States. While the numbers may change, it sheds an important light on the subject of what people pay for long-term care insurance protection. It clearly shows that the majority of consumers are spending far less for long-term care insurance protection than what's reported in the consumer media.

The following data is based on over 70,000 individuals (under age 61) purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009.

Premium Amount Percentage
Less than $500 18.1%
$500 - $999 33.2%
$1,000 - $1,499 11.1%
$1,500 - $1,999 10.2%
$2,000 - $2,499 7.6%
$2,500 - $2,999 6.0%
$3,000 - $3,499 4.7%
$3,500 - $3,999 3.3%
$4,000 and Over 5.3%

Why are these numbers so important?

Because, here is the number a highly respected organization reports to the media: "The average individual buyer in the first three months of 2009 is paying $2,129 during the first year of coverage." (June 8, 2009)

If consumers perceive $2,129 is the cost (that's $4,258 for a couple) they are going to believe that long-term care insurance is EXPENSIVE. And, they are not going to buy.

BUT 72.6% PAID LESS THAN $2,000. And more than half paid LESS THAN $1,000.

It is very hard to overcome perceptions. Let's hope facts will help. Certainly the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and our members are doing all they can to properly educate consumers and other professionals.

Jesse Slome
Executive Director
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Low-Cost Long-Term Care Insurance Sold

More than half of Americans purchasing long-term care insurance paid less than $20 a week according to a new report by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

According to an analysis of over 100,000 policies sold during the first half of 2009, the majority of individuals age 61 and younger paid under $1,000 a year for protection (less than $20 a week). Just over half (51.3%) of long-term care insurance policies sold to individuals in Partnership states cost under $1,000 a year. Nearly one in five cost less than $500 a year.

"Most people mistakenly believe long-term care insurance is expensive," states Jesse Slome, executive director of the organization. "The cost depends on how much coverage you buy, your age and health when you apply." Less than 10 percent of purchasers spent more than $100 a month for new policies purchased.The majority of those purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies were between ages 46 and 60.

The Partnership is a program authorized by Congress that makes available long-term care insurance protection from leading insurers. Partnership-approved policies provide special features and asset spend-down protections. Some 30 states now have long-term care Partnership programs in place.

Nearly half (48.2%) of buyers purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies in the first half of 2009 were between the ages of 46 and 60. Some 31 percent were over age 60 and nearly 20 percent were age 45 or younger.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cut Risk Of Long-Term Care Need With Early MRI

A new study finds that MRI scans could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease in the early stages, which could lead to improved treatment. Every 72 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic report that the brains of people in the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease might become hyperactive to compensate for disease-related deterioration. The scientists tested mentally healthy adults, two-thirds of whom were at risk for Alzheimer's because of family history or genetic markers.

MRI scans monitored the participants' brains as they were asked to recognize famous celebrities and unfamiliar people. The brain activity of at-risk people was then compared with that of those not at risk for Alzheimer's.

The researchers reported an increased level of activation of certain parts of the brain in at-risk individuals. They note this may reflect a compensatory brain response by these participants to the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease. An estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's which is one of the most costly causes of long-term care by older individuals.

Researchers noted that functional MRI scans might eventually be used to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years. They added that by delaying the onset by 10 years, Alzheimer's disease will virtually be eliminated because people will have passed away for some other reason. The findings are published in the current issue of Neurology.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance Women Planning Matters

video

Long term care insurance planning for women is vitally important. Women have the greatest need for long-term care. Women receive 65 percent of all benefit payments from individual long-term care insurance. Women who are married can benefit from significant spousal discounts. Women living alone pay the exact same for long-term care insurance protection as men (even though they are far more likely to gain a benefit from their coverage).

Consumers seeking free information or no-obligation quotes for this protection should visit the Consumer Information Center of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

This consumer education video has been produced by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional trade organization.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance News You Never Hear

Increasingly, we get calls from reporters who are doing more in-depth stories about long term care planning and the role of long-term care insurance.

First, it is a great feeling to help them get the portray a correct story since their words, whether written or oral can influence so many prospects and potential buyers. Friday, a national editor who I have worked with before called the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance's offices. At this point, I won't reveal the story being working on but in the ensuing research I did - two pieces of information emerged. They are examples of when long-term care insurers go beyond what is required. You may not be familiar with them.

The first involves Genworth's new policy being offered to AARP members. The policy offers a 60-day return policy. In simple terms, the consumer can return the policy within 60 days for a refund of monies paid. As most insurance agents know, the standard "free look" required by law is 30 days. Now, it bears stating that the State of Washington just passed a law mandating the 60-day provision. Who knows whether other states will follow.

And, in speaking with a long-time Genworth producer, it was noted that in an effort to provide outstanding customer service the company has not held rigid to the 30-day cut off. But clearly there was someone who thought this was a customer-friendly provision ... and agreed to make it available.

The second story involves John Hancock. In recognition of the weak economy, the company allows (or allowed, I am not sure if the practice continues) policyholders who lose their jobs and fail to pay premiums for a certain period of time, to reinstate their policies without the typically-required health underwriting. What a recognition of going the extra mile to help the people who showed the good faith and sense to buy your product.

Having worked with the media for most of my life, every reporter will tell you it is not their job to "shill" for a company. So don't ever expect to read about these items in the news.

But, in the current environment we are in -- and with the news media focusing so much attention on negatives surrounding the insurance industry, it's good to know there are insurers doing well because they do good. That's a message the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is proud to help convey.

If readers have others to share, feel free to send them to me. I'll gladly pass them along. Mail to: jslome @ aaltci.org

Monday, August 10, 2009

How To Reduce Long Term Care Insurance Premiums

How much you'll pay for long-term care insurance is based on three factors. Your age when you apply, how much protection you want and your health when you apply. Where you live today and where you plan to retire also play a part.


But here is information that's most important for Los Angeles, CA residents. Your long-term care insurance can be far more reasonable than you think.

Let me share a few ways people I advise significantly reduce the cost of long-term care insurance. Before I share, I thought the following statistic from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (http://www.aaltci.org) that was especially interesting. In 2008, individuals between the ages of 55 and 59 paid as little as $844-a-year for LTC insurance protection. The maximum paid by someone in this age range was $6,939.

So, how can one reduce the cost? Start by considering a policy that might protect a specific amount of your savings and assets. The coverage you buy today can increase in value over time. So, a policy that provides $115,000 of protection today can grow to $305,000 in 20 years. If you are married, some long-term care insurance policies allow one spouse to access the other spouse's benefit pool. That's an option well worth looking into.


Consider adding a deductible to your long-term care insurance policy. Most people have a deductible on their car insurance and their homeowner's policy. When it comes to long-term care insurance, adding a deductible will significantly reduce the cost and the majority of people select a 90-to-100 day period. You'll save as much as 20 percent yearly.

Finally, know that costs vary significantly from one long-term care insurance company to another. Members of the industry's long-term care insurance association and they share enormous information. Once a year AALTCI undertakes a Price Index Study and the costs for almost identical coverage can vary by as much as 100 percent depending on your age and marital status.

If you’d like to learn more on long term care insurance please take a moment to call the Association at 818-597-3227 or E-mail us at mailto:info@aaltci.org. We will get you in touch with an area professional who can provide free information without any obligation. Thanks for reading our blog today we really appreciate it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nursing Home Studies Reveal Benefit of Long Term Care Insurance

While less than a third of benefits from U.S. long-term care insurance companies pays for nursing home care, most Americans still associate policies with a costly nursing home stay according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Two studies now look at the benefits of this increasingly popular protection.

A report published in the organization's annual Sourcebook revealed that nine percent of nursing home residents would have delayed going to a nursing home for necessary care in the absence of a nursing home policy. Some 13 percent reported they would have used a less costly provider in the absence of having long-term care insurance.

A new report issued this week has found that non-profit nursing homes provide better care than for-profit facilities. According to Canadian researchers, a review of 82 studies conducted starting in 1965 reported that 40 studies found that non-profit nursing homes provided significantly better quality care, while three studies concluded that for-profit homes delivered better care. The remaining studies had mixed results. Most of the studies were conducted in Canada and the United States.

Non-profit homes did better in four important quality measures: more or higher quality staffing; lower rates of pressure ulcers; less use of physical restraints; and fewer deficiencies cited by regulatory agencies. Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that if all nursing homes were non-profit, nursing home residents in the United States would receive 500,000 more hours of nursing care per day, while those in Canada would receive 42,000 more hours of nursing care per day.

The findings of the second study which were published online in the British Medical Journal suggest a trend toward higher quality care in non-profit nursing homes than in for-profit homes, said the researchers.

Last year American long-term care insurance companies paid some $8.5 billion in benefits to some 180,000 individuals. Some of the largest claims, typically for care in skilled nursing home facilities, exceed $1 million according to the industry organization. Long-term care insurance provides individuals with the ability to choose where care is provided, notes one industry expert. Choice and control are great benefits.

Posted On E-Max health by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Long-Term Care Insurance Association Commends U.S. Congressman

Los Angeles, CA - August 6, 2009 - The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance commended U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander (R - LA) today for his leadership and efforts to encourage Americans to take personal responsibility for long-term care planning.

"The Congressman's comments recommending tax deductions for individuals purchasing long-term care insurance creates an enormous incentive for people to consider this protection," states Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the national professional organization. "When more Americans plan, the nation avoids an unsustainable liability that will fall on all taxpayers."

According to Association data, some 8.25 million individuals currently own long-term care insurance. "The Congressman's proposal could rapidly double the number of people protected," Slome notes. Social Security and Medicare have promised $42.9 trillion more in benefits to senior and disabled workers than the programs will be able to pay, according to a new report by the Heritage Foundation.

"The Congressman understands that Americans must plan for their own future and that a tax incentive is a small price to incent action," Slome adds.“Increased life expectancy, coupled with the rapidly aging baby boomer generation forces more Americans to face the challenges of caring for either themselves or their loved ones," Congressman Alexander remarked. “To ease the burden and encourage taxpayers to take steps towards securing long-term care, I have introduced the Sunset of Life Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 1891). This legislation seeks to provide individuals a 50 percent non-refundable tax deduction on the cost of long-term care insurance costs."

“My intention is to minimize the need for individuals to rely on public resources in their later years by taking measures now to ensure a comfortable and complete long-term care coverage package," he added. "As Congress looks for ways to improve the affordability and availability of quality health care for all Americans, this is an option to lessen the costs of tomorrow by investing in insurance today.”

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the national organization serving insurance and financial professionals who market LTC solutions. The organization was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leaders From 18 Long Term Care Partnership States To Attend LTC Agent Summit

Executives from 18 states offering long term care Partnership plaAdd Imagens will attend the National LTCi Producers Summit. The Summit takes place November 14-16, 2009 at the Westin Hotel in Kansas City and brings together hundreds of producers who market long-term care insurance products.

This year's Summit will combine two conferences - the producer sales and marketing conference organized by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and the conference for state officials organized by the Center For Healthcare Strategies (CHCS).

Over 18 states will be represented each sending three or four executives from the State Medicaid office, the Department of Insurance, the Agency on Aging and State Dept. of Commerce. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to attend special Partnership workshops in addition to the extensive Summit program.

States Sending Executives Include
Arkansas
Colorado
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
New Jersey
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
South Dakota
Texas
Virginia

Summit registration is $275 ($324 for non-Association members) through September 30th.

Registration includes sessions, meals and receptions. Hotel discounts are currently available.
Complete information and registration forms are available online at http://www.aaltci.org/2009summit or by calling the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance at (818) 597-3227.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Study Reveals Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan Flaws

The proposed federal health plan being discussed by the U.S. Senate includes proposed long-term care protection. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) would provide coverage paid by individuals who would have the ability to opt out.The goal of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional organization, is to serve as an advocate for sound long-term care planning that ensures the future of all Americans -- those who can afford private long-term care insurance, and those who can not.

That said, the proposed CLASS Act (Senator Kennedy's new tax on Americans) is not the solution and a report released today by the American Academy of Actuaries reveals the plan's significant flaws. The plan's proponents believe a $65-per-month tax for individuals would be sufficient to provide a $50 average monthly benefit. The study reveals that the sound monthly premium level would be closer to $110 a month or over $1,300 a year per-individual.

The CLASS Act proposes a voluntary federal program that is sustainable and actuarially sound over a 75-year horizon. Based on the current assumptions, the independent actuaries project the new government fund established to pay long-term care claims will be insolvent by 2027. Sometime well before that date, taxpayers can expect the voluntary plan to become a new mandatory tax.

The report notes that part of the problem with the proposed plan is the increased likelihood of adverse selection. Simply stated, those individuals in poorer health will sign-up for the plan and those who are in better health will likely opt-out. Once claim payments begin after the five-year waiting period, one can expect an increasingly steady flow that will stretch the fund beyond what proponents expect.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the independent trade organization providing information on long-term care planning to consumers and providing marketing and sales support to information. The organization maintains the industry's most comprehensive website on long-term care planning which can be found at http://www.aaltci.org/

If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the American Academy of Actuaries letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, please click here to send an E-mail to Jesse Slome, Executive Director.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Provider

When it comes to needing long-term care, the majority of Americans today receive care in their own home. "People mistakenly associate long-term care with nursing home care," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

"Today most long-term care takes place outside of a skilled care facility and the vast majority of long-term care insurance claims are not nursing home related."According to studies conducted by the industry trade group, some 42 percent of long-term care insurance benefits paid are for care at home (AALTCI's 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook). "Another 28 percent was for care in assisted living communities and only 30 percent was for care in skilled nursing facilities," Slome notes."

Home care services cover a wide range of needs, from memory care and companionship to meal preparation and medication reminders," says Jennifer Tucker, Vice President with Homewatch CareGivers, a national provider of homecare services. "They may also include help with the activities of daily living, including home care services like bathing, dressing, and grooming or care coordination services rendered by a registered nurse."

When selecting a home care agency, it is important to know what questions to ask. Here are five important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:

How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?

Is a written, customized care plan developed in consultation with the client and family members, and is the plan updated as changes occur?

How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?

Do they closely supervise the quality of care, including maintenance of a daily journal in the client’s home and non-scheduled supervisory visits?

Does the agency employ a nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?

"A great way to find quality home care providers is to speak to a knowledgeable long-term care insurance professional," states Jesse Slome. "If they've been in the business for a few years, they likely have clients who are receiving care."

For additional information on home care for long-term care needs or to find local long-term care insurance professionals, visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and request information from any of the organization's 3,500 members nationwide.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Colorado Governor Praised For New Long-Term Care Awareness Campaign

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance commended Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. who announced a new campaign encouraging Coloradans to start planning now for their future long-term care needs. The State of Colorado has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help Coloradans with the long-term care planning process through the Own Your Future campaign.

"We praise this visionary leader for promoting the importance of long-term care planning," stated Jesse Slome, the Association's Executive Director. "Over 100,000 Colorado residents already own long-term car insurance, " Slome notes, "and the new outreach effort will help educate many more people about this important issue." Nationwide, some 8.25 million Americans own long-term care insurance.

"Coloradans are living longer healthier lives due to advancements in science, medicine and health education," said Governor Bill Ritter. "There is nothing more important than taking care of your health, and as your Governor, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring strong, healthy futures for all Coloradans. Over the past two years, we've taken a number of steps to ensure health care is more affordable and accessible for all residents of our state and emphasizing the importance of long-term care planning is a critical part of that effort."

The Own Your Future campaign is led by The Colorado Partnership for Long-Term Care. The Partnership is a public/private arrangement between long-term care insurers, Colorado's Medicaid program, the Division of Insurance, the Department of Human Services and the citizens of Colorado. It enables Colorado residents who purchase Long-Term Care Partnership insurance to have more of their assets protected if they later need the state Medicaid program to help pay for their long-term care. Through the Partnership, Coloradans have greater control over how they finance their long-term care.

As part of the program Coloradans between the ages of ages 45 to 65 will receive a letter from Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. about the Own Your Future campaign. The letters will include information about how to order a free planning kit as a first step to managing future long-term care needs. The planning kits are a great tool to help Coloradans make smart, safe decisions about long-term care.

Coloradans seeking more information on long-term care insurance can visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index Announced


A 55-year-old individual considering long-term care insurance protection can expect to pay $723-per-year for a base level of protection if they are married or $1,060 if they are single according to the 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.


Across various age groups, costs for coverage increased about two percent from the prior year. The index published annually measures costs for top-selling long-term care insurance policies that offer consumers approximately $115,000 in current benefits, with protection increasing yearly as the individual ages.


"A solid base plan of protection will grow in value to over $305,000 of protection 20 years from now," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the national trade organization that conducted the research. The study compares costs for different levels of plans that provide long-term care benefits for 3-years or longer with a compound inflation option that increases the available insurance benefits by five percent compounded each year.


"For some age bands the cost of long-term care insurance actually declined," Slome notes. "What we did see is a far wider range of prices between insurers offering basically the same coverage." According to the Association study, costs can vary by as much as 100 percent. "This could reflect different benefits or simply the individual insurer's pricing assumptions," Slome explains. "Consumers should compare policies or work with a knowledgeable insurance professional who can analyze for them."


Lower Interest Rates Impact Costs For Insurance Policies

The cost for long-term care insurance is closely related to interest rates that have significantly declined in recent years. "Investment income comprises between 40 and 60 percent of the dollars used to pay eventual long-term care claims," Slome explains. "Premiums paid by policyholders make up the other portion and as interest rates have declined, insurers have found it necessary to raise premiums for protection." The industry paid out $5.8 billion in claims in 2008 to some 180,000 policyholders.


"The cost of long-term care insurance is directly related to how much protection you purchase, the age you first apply and your health at the time of application," explains Slome. "Over half of all individual applicants are between ages 55 and 64, and one third purchase a daily benefit of between $100 and $149." The daily benefit amount actually equals either a cash benefit or a pool of money that the policyholder can access. Most insurers offer significant discounts when both spouses apply for coverage.


The survey compared costs for individuals age 55 with those age 65. "A married individual purchasing $172,000 in current protection will pay about $20 a week ($1,084-per-year) by qualifying for available good health discounts," Slome explains. "By waiting until they are age 65, they'll likely pay $63-a-week because they will need to buy more coverage to keep pace with inflation and will likely no longer qualify for the good health savings."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan Is Short-Term Thinking

The new long-term care insurance proposal that Democrats have included in a Senate health overhaul bill would produce about $58 billion in revenue for the government over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The $58 billion could be used to offset the cost of the national healthcare program. "Legislators must be salivating at a potential source of income with absolutely no potential for expenses for years to come," explains Jesse Slome, executive director, of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry professional trade organization.

Monthly premiums paid by individuals would account for the $58 billion. Premiums would vary by age but are expected to average about $65 per month ($780 a year). Under the proposed program, no one would be eligible for benefits until they have paid premiums for five years - a reason the CBO estimates the program would net revenue for the government for its first 10 years." The CBO generally does not estimate the cost of programs beyond 10 years, the period covered by procedural "pay-as-you-go" rules requiring legislation to be budget-neutral.

"When has a government entitlement program accurately estimated income and projected expenses," Slome queries. "The CBO already estimates that premiums will be insufficient and will likely need to be increased to maintain the program's solvency. The government already runs a disability insurance program through the Social Security Administration, but it is very difficult to qualify for that program and there is a backlog of people who have appealed Social Security's initial decline of their benefits."

According to the Association some 8.25 million Americans have already purchased long-term care insurance on an individual basis or through their employer. "Some 400,000 new policies are now sold each year," as more people understand the need to plan for the risk of needing care. Millions of others will be able to use the built-up value of their homes through a reverse mortgage.

"Another underfunded entitlement program where the real cost won't be known for 10 or more years simply shifts the financial obligation to the next generation," Slome says. "That's long-term care planning of the worst kind."

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Proven Way To Get Long Term Care Insurance Leads

I was delighted to arrive at work this morning to a fax from Randall Russo a member of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Randall faxed me three newspaper articles -- two of which resulted from his use of the free press releases available to Association members. Both included his name, his phone number and his E-mail address. That is incredible exposure. And, it was free.But here's the bottom line: Randall got a number of calls. Wrote two applications and started a relationship with a elder law attorney as a result of one of the articles.

One of the most significant benefits of membership in the Association is the free publicity material provided members. You are wasting an incredible opportunity if you don't take advantage of them.

To help you gain some exposure and potentially some leads a new press release has been added to the Producer's Resource Center. Below, I will explain how to access that page (in case you have forgotten).

The press release offers a free copy of the new guide just published by the Association. This consumer guide targets women and a copy is bound into issues of Sales Strategies magazine. Copies of the magazine are on their way to each member. Allow several weeks for delivery.But, you can see the brochure online.Click on this link: http://www.aaltci.org/subpages/resources/marketing_women.html

FIRST A FREE OFFER:
If you post a news item online and it includes a live link to the Association's home page (http://www.aaltci.org) , we will mail you five copies of the new woman's guide for FREE. That will get you started filling initial calls.You can post it as part of your blog. You can submit an online news story to your local newspaper.We posted two versions of the press release. #15 has no link. #16 has a live link embedded.But I have posted instructions below for the web coding to create the live link to www.aaltci.org.

Just send a copy of the webpage, blog or news article with the live link to my attention.

NOW HERE'S HOW TO ACCESS THE NEW PRESS RELEASE:
Go to: http://www.aaltci.org/for_producers/
Click on the "Members Only" tab.
Click on the "Publicity Tools" tab.If you cannot recall your Password - follow the instructions.

NOW HERE IS THE CODE TO USE WITH ONLINE ARTICLES (for your free brochures):

Use the wording below as the first paragraph of your story. Replace the current wording with this wording. It will create a live link to a new webpage. It will not take them away from your webpage or article.Women are significantly more likely to need long-term care and yet few are prepared, according to a new consumer guide published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
Congratulations to Randall. Get your name published. There are countless media in your area that will offer copies of a free guide for women. And, they have to include your name and contact information as part of the story.

That's a win for you.My best to all for a most productive summer.
Jesse Slome
Executive Director
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
http://www.aaltci.org/

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Consumer Guide Addresses Women's Long-Term Care Planning Issues

A new consumer guide to long-term care insurance protection has just been published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The eight-page booklet specifically addresses the issues and options facing women.

"Women have a far greater risk of needing long-term care and indeed two-thirds of all long-term care insurance benefits paid in 2008 result from care needs by women," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the national trade organization. "Women also tend to be the ones who initiate the long-term care planning discussion and often are the decision makers when it comes to purchasing long-term care insurance."

Several facts outlined in the "Woman's Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance Protection" authored by Jesse Slome: Women over the age of 65 comprise 980,000 nursing home residents in the U.S. Only 337,000 men over age 65 are in nursing homes. Women are far more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's Disease which is the cause of the largest and most costly needs for long-term care.

The guide addresses important planning considerations for women who have spouses or partners as well as women who live alone. "Each have very specific planning needs and issues," Slome explains. "Married women face a likelihood of providing care for their spouse, who typically is older, or facing a very significant annual bill for care." Women who live alone lack the spouse or extended family members to assist with caregiving.

Copies of the guide can be viewed on the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance's website and may be purchased by insurance and financial professionals. To view a copy go to: http:www.aaltci.org/tools or call the organization at 818-597-3227.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Long-Term Care Insurance Association Study Looks At Buyers of Life Insurance Plus LTC Benefits

Los Angeles, CA - June 23, 2009 -- Nearly half of individuals purchasing asset-based long-term care protection in 2008 were under age 65 according to the first national study of buyers. Two thirds (66%) of purchasers were women and the average single premium paid was just under $71,000 ($70,975). Research conducted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), the national trade organization, examined 2008 sales data for over 5,000 new policies.

"Asset-based long-term care insurance protection is becoming an increasingly popular way for individuals to protect against the risk," explains Jesse Slome, AALTCI's Executive Director. Asset-based long-term care policies offer the dual benefit of access to long-term care benefits as well as life insurance protection. "Many individuals find this coverage attractive because if they don't use their long-term care protection, their beneficiaries still benefit from the life insurance coverage," Slome explains.

The average single premium paid for an asset-based LTC policy in 2008 was $70,975, according to the Association study. This represented a four percent increase compared to 2007 when the average premium was $68,300. Just under half of policies (49.7%) had a base face amount of between $100,000 and $200,000. Some 30 percent had a face amount of life insurance protection of between $50,000 and $100,000. "Policies offer a long-term care insurance protection in multiples of the life insurance benefit," Slome explains.

Purchasers of asset-based LTC policies were almost equally divided between pre-65 (49%) and 65-or-older (51%). Just over 10 percent (11.2%) of purchasers were between ages 45 and 54. Exactly two-thirds of purchasers were women (66%). "Buyers are older than individuals purchasing traditional long-term care insurance protection," Slome notes. According to the Association's study, some 84 percent of buyers of traditional LTCi protection in 2008 were younger than age-65.

Asset-based long-term care protection and traditional LTC insurance policies share the requirement that applicants health qualify for coverage. The percentage of accepted applicants declined with age according to the study's findings. Some 70.2 percent of submitted policy applications by individuals between 45 and 54 were accepted. The percentage declined to 60.5 percent for applicants between ages 65 and 74.

"We anticipate the market for asset-based long-term care protection will increase in the years ahead," predicts Slome. "Leading insurers such as Genworth Financial and Lincoln Financial Distributors are focused on the growth of this market and policy sales."

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the national organization serving insurance and financial professionals who provide long-term care financing solutions. Consumers can obtain information from the organization's Consumer Information Center, the nation's leading resource for LTC insurance information. Insurance agents and financial professionals can visit the organization’s online Producer's Resource Center at www.aaltci.org.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will The "Kennedy Legacy" Kill The Long-Term Care Insurance Industry

Will the (Ted) Kennedy Legacy - a healthcare plan that includes provisions for a government-offered long-term care insurance provision - kill the private long-term care insurance industry?

The stort answer is, yes it indeed could. After all, what a sweet proposal - pay $65 a month ($780 a year) for five years ($3,900) and you've got long-term care coverage. And, you don't even need to health qualify. Everyone qualifies.

If you don't think there's already interest, just do a Google search for "Kennedy long term care". As a long-time and highly successful public relations guys, I know how I would spin this story to the media and thus to consumers. "We can do this because of mass numbers, and because we are cutting out those pesky middlemen - the long-term care insurers and the commissions paid to agents which can be as much as ..." (I won't go on ... why make life easy for them ... though they have bright minds working on this).

Best of all, this is the perfect time to make something like this happen. Insurers are happy to be surviving (who isn't these days) ... and agents aren't organized. The Washington D.C.-based insurance lobbying groups have to contend with health insurance and you really don't want to offend Ted Kennedy or others when the stakes (health insurance) are so huge.

Is the Kennedy "plan" attackable. Of course it is. And, at so many levels ... and that's before even talking to the real bright minds. From what I understand, no actuaries have even been called in to assess the real price.

But, perhaps most important, the time to seize the opportunity to respond is short. Those advocating an alternative plan are organized. They have egos and if they see this is generating good press ... they'll make every effort to secure more.

I hesitated a while before writing this blog. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance does not lobby and personally I have no intentions to walk the halls of the Capital.

But I am truly concerned. And, I believe others with a vested interest in both protecting Americans and not saddling taxpayers with another entitlement that isn't properly priced and will ultimately balloon beyond any reasonable expectation should be concerned as well.

I have already seen a dozen online reports about the Kennedy bill (I'm sure it's also appeared in print editions). They all focus on the $65-a-month figure. As the publicity grows (and it will), why would any sane consumer buy something that costs more? They'll wait until they see what the government ends up doing.

Publicity builds momentum. Trust me, I introduced the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls ... and it wan't my brilliant work or that of the publicists who worked with me ... we just keep feeding a little fuel to the momentum. Before you know it, we had a national phenomenon and the cover of Time magazine.

What's my answer? I'm not really sure. I am reaching out to those I consider leaders in the industry. My personal commitment to members of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is to do the best I can to serve the members, the industry. But on a personal note, my goal isn't to be self-serving. I want to do what's right for our country's future ... and the lives of my five children who will be paying the bill for Senator Kennedy's legacy.

Lots of what happens in Washington never gets traction and so it's been easy to ignore. This one shouldn't be categorized as such.

I'll keep you posted and be interested in feedback and your thoughts. Send to my E-mail (click here).

Jesse Slome

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Study Examines Long-Term Care Insurance Claims

The largest open long-term care insurance claim has surpassed $1.2 million in paid benefits, according to a just-released report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The claimant, a woman, purchased coverage at age 43, paying an annual premium of $1,800. Three years later her claim began and has continued for almost 12 years. [Note: Payment of policy premiums ceases when an individual is receiving policy benefits.]

"As a result of increased longevity and medical advances, the need for long-term care is a new phenomenon for a generation of Americans," said Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the industry trade group. "The pervasive concern about purchasing long-term care insurance is will I ever use it?"

According to Association data 180,000 Americans received benefits from their long-term care insurance policy and some $8.5 billion in claims was paid in 2008. "This is a significant increase in benefits paid compared to the prior year," Slome explains. "Long-term care insurance is not the lottery. This is not something you really want to win; but having protection in place can certainly pay off and for thousands of people it increasingly is."

The organization collected data on claims including the largest open claims (still being paid as of December 31, 2008) paid by six of the nation's leading insurers. The second largest claim is by a woman who purchased her long-term care insurance policy at age 72, paying an annual premium of $12,766. Three years later her claim began and has continued for almost nine years ($1.02 million in benefits has already been paid for her nursing home care).

The largest claim being paid to a man exceeds $690,000. The individual purchased long-term care insurance protection through his employer at age 54, paying an annual premium of $2,560. The coverage was designed to pay benefits for five years. Two years later his claim began and has continued for almost seven years.

Nearly one in 10 (8.9%) of new individual claims initiated during 2008 prior to age 70 the study revealed. "While most long-term care insurance claims begin at older ages, typically in ones late 70s or 80s, accidents and illnesses are a common reason younger people need this care," Slome notes. The Association's study revealed that 30.5% of claims start between ages 70 and 79; some 60.6% after age 80. "Almost two-thirds of claimants receiving benefits (65%) are women," Slome reports, "and the largest percentage of benefit payments (42.0%) are for care in ones own home versus a nursing home (30.5%)."

The five most common reasons for a long-term care insurance claim, according to the Association, are Alzheimer's Disease, stroke, arthritis, circulatory issues or injury. "One in eight persons age 65 and over has Alzheimer's," Slome says. "The number of new cases is expected to increase to 450,000 a year by 2010 and to 615,000 new cases a year by 2030. It’s time for individuals to start planning for care should they need it in the future." The study shows that planning can certainly pay off.

The six largest claims will be published in the upcoming summer issue of LTCi Sales Strategies magazine which is sent to all Association members.

Readers of this blog: Let me know if you'd like to see more information on long-term care insurance claims.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Women And Long-Term Care Insurance

Some quick facts about women and long-term care.

All statistics show that women live longer than men. Women who reach age 65 have a life expectency of (another) 20 years versus 17 years for men.

Women over age 75 are far less likely to be married (than men) and are twice as likely to be living alone.

Women over age 65 include 980,000 nursing home residents; versus 337,000 men.

Women are also typically the caregivers. Women provide between 60% and 75% of family or informal care.

These facts come from the Association's 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook and they will be an important part of the upcoming guide the Association will publish specifically for women.

But, facts support the issue and I am hoping readers of this blog will share their insights with me as I prepare the booklet. What have you found resonates with women - both those who are living alone ... as well as those who are married? My intent is to address both of these audiences with messages they will relate to.

What should be included in this brochure?

Please share your thoughts by sending me an E-mail to Jesse Slome.

Thanks. I can't think of a more important topic.

Jesse Slome
mailto:jslome@aaltci.org

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

IRS Rules Assisted Living Meals And Lodging Costs May Be Tax Deductible

A private letter from the Internal Revenue Service explains that meals and lodging costs for assisted living may be deducted as medical expenses if the individual is in the facility for qualifying medical reasons. The letter explains the types of conditions that would meet the standards in order to qualify these costs as tax deductible.

For insurance agents and brokers, this is good information to save and share with accountants and tax professionals who may be working with family members with a parent (or parents) residing in an assisted living community.

Here is a copy of the IRS letter dated December 18, 2008

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20224

Number: INFO 2009-0010
Release Date: 1/2/2008
UIL: 213.00-00
CONEX-149526-08

The Honorable Edward Markey
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
5 High Street, Suite 101
Medford, MA 02155
------------------------------
Dear Congressman Markey:

This letter responds to your inquiry dated December 10, 2008, on behalf of your
constituent (name withheld) who asked about the deductibility of expenses paid
to care for her mother, who is in an assisted care program because she suffers from
Alzheimer’s disease.

As a general rule, taxpayers may not deduct personal, family, or living expenses
(section 262(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code)). However, an exception
allows taxpayers to deduct expenses that they pay for medical care of the taxpayer, the
taxpayer’s spouse, or the taxpayer’s dependent, subject to certain limitations, if the
expenses are not covered by insurance (section 213(a) of the Code). For purposes of
this deduction, medical care expenses include amounts paid for the treatment or
mitigation of a mental illness and amounts paid for qualified long-term care services
(section 213(d)(1) of the Code).

Qualified long-term care services are certain services that a chronically ill individual
requires, and that a licensed health care practitioner prescribes under a plan of care
(section 7702B(c)(1) of the Code). An individual is chronically ill if the individual meets
one of two “triggers.” The first trigger is the inability to perform at least two daily living
activities without substantial assistance from another individual for at least 90 days.
Daily living activities include eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, and
continence (section 7702B(c)(2)(B) of the Code). The second trigger is a severe
cognitive impairment that requires substantial supervision to protect the individual from
threats to health and safety (section 7702B(c)(2)(A) of the Code).

What level of assistance with daily living activities is required to meet the first of the two triggers—the inability to perform at least two daily living activities without substantial assistance from another individual. In Notice 97-31, 1997-1 C.B. 417, we define “substantial assistance” as either “hands-on assistance” or “standby assistance.”

Hands-on assistance means the physical assistance of another person without which
the individual could not perform the activity. Standby assistance means the presence of
another person within arm’s reach of the individual that is necessary to prevent, by
physical intervention, injury to the individual while the individual is performing the activity
(such as being ready to catch the individual if the individual falls while getting into or out
of the bathtub or shower as part of bathing, or being ready to remove food from the
individual’s throat if the individual chokes while eating).

Notice 97-31 also provides guidance about the second trigger—a severe cognitive
impairment that requires substantial supervision to protect the individual from threats to
health and safety. The notice defines a “severe cognitive impairment” as a loss or
deterioration in intellectual capacity that is comparable to (and includes) Alzheimer’s
disease and similar forms of irreversible dementia, and is measured by clinical evidence
and standardized tests that reliably measure impairment in the individual’s:
Short-term or long-term memory,
Orientation as to people, places or time, and
Deductive or abstract reasoning.

“Substantial supervision” means continual supervision (which may include cuing by
verbal prompting, gestures, or other demonstrations) by another person that is
necessary to protect the severely cognitively impaired individual from threats to his or
her health or safety (such as may result from wandering).

The individual also asked whether meals provided with long-term care services are deductible
medical care expenses. If an individual is in a hospital or another institution because of
a mental illness, the meals and lodging furnished as a necessary incident to medical
care are considered medical care expenses (section 1.213-1(e)(1)(v) of the Income Tax
Regulations (the regulations)). This regulation applies to individuals who must be in the
facility because of a mental illness that makes it unsafe for them to be left alone (section
1.213-1(e)(1)(v)(a) of the regulations).

However, if the principal reason for being in the facility is based on personal or family considerations, rather than the need for medical care, the cost of the meals and lodging is not a medical care expense. Only the cost of the medical care itself would be deductible (section 1.213-1(e)(1)(v)(b) of the regulations). Thus, expenses for meals and lodging that are non-deductible personal expenses at the onset of a mental illness may be deductible medical expenses after the
illness has progressed. For example, expenses for meals and lodging at a minimal-care
assisted living facility are non-deductible personal expenses. However, expenses for
meals and lodging in a constant-care nursing home may be deductible medical care
expenses if the meals and lodging are furnished as a necessary incident to medical
care.

Sincerely,
Kimberly L. Koch
Senior Technician Reviewer, Branch 2
(Income Tax & Accounting)

For more information on long-term care insurance, please visit the Website of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Monday, March 2, 2009

2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sales Achievement Awards Announced

Winners of the 2009 Long-Term Care Sales Achievement Award were announced today by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional trade organization.

"There are some 40,000 insurance and financial professionals who market long-term care solutions nationally," states the Association's Jesse Slome, executive director. "Each year we recognize those deemed the best in the business." The Association awarded some 650 leading producers based on the sale of individual long-term care insurance. Award recipients are ranked nationally as well as recognized on a state-by-state basis.

For 2009, new categories include multi-life long-term care insurance as well as categories for asset-based life insurance and annuity products that include long-term care benefits. "The nation's top producers placed over $500,000 in individual long-term care insurance premium, a significant achievement," Slome explains. "Leading producers providing protection to employer groups and organizations each wrote LTC insurance for over 800 individuals during a single year."

The complete listing of award winners is published in the 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook, the annual compendium produced by the Association. For additional information, visit the Association's website www.aaltci.org or call (818) 597-3227.

2009's Top-10 Long-Term Care Insurance Producers (Based on individual placed premium in 2008)
#1 Gene Cutler
#2 Sean Deveau
#3 David Jeffrey
#4 Sally Calef
#5 Michael Lehrhaupt
#6 Christopher Aguiar
#7 Alan Stuart
#8 Meredith Pensack
#9 Stephanie St. James
#10 Carl Brockmeyer

2009's Top-10 MultiLife LTC Producers (Based on multilife long-term care insurance placed premium in 2008)
#1 Michael VanGavree
#2 Robert DeLorey
#3 Karen Mellon
#4 Ernest Strobel
#5 Derek Miele
#6 Michael Halligan
#7 Anthony Stratidis
#8 Rachel Faiga
#9 Barry Ellis
#10 Michael Russell

2009's Top-10 Life+LTC (Combo Product) Producers (Based on placed premium for life+ltc protection in 2008)
#1 George Leamon
#2 Wendy McLaughlin
#3 Loriann Artzberger
#4 Patricia Bennett
#5 Ronald Mendelzon
#6 Corwin Freeman, Jr.
#7 Robert Jennings
#8 Elaine Todd
#9 Paul Manginelli
#10 Ed Young

2009's Top-10 Annuity+LTC (Combo Product) Producers (Based on placed premium for annuity+ltc protection in 2008)
#1 Darlis Kirchhofer
#2 Edward Pacelli
#3 Dale Boliba
#4 Steve Jacob
#5 Brad Tisdale
#6 Daniel Heacock
#7 Glenn Nitti
#8 Chuck Bahr
#9 Luana Mobley Corral
#10 Elaine Todd

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reserach Reveals Consumers Purchasing More Affordable Long-Term care Insurance

Some 400,000 individuals purchased long-term care insurance protection in 2008 according to a just-released report. The overwhelming majority (84%) of individual buyers in 2008 were younger than age 65 and three-fourths (76%) selected a more affordable approach to this protection by opting for coverage for a specific number of years.

The annual study conducted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional trade organization, analyzed data on 215,000 buyers of individual long-term care insurance protection. According to the organization's research, some 8.2 million Americans now have long-term care insurance protection purchased on an individual basis (typically through an insurance professional) or through a plan offered by their employer.

"Individuals continue to purchase protection at younger ages," explains Jesse Slome, the Association's Executive Director. In 2008, some 53% of individual buyers were between ages 55 and 64; compared to 50% the prior year. Another 24% were between ages 45 and 54 (2008). "The age of buyers keeps dropping as consumers -- especially baby boomers -- understand the cost-saving benefits of locking in good health discounts and ways to make protection more affordable," Slome explains. In 2000, the average age of an individual buying long-term care insurance was 67.

The number of individuals purchasing long-term care insurance protection for a specified number of years also increased according to the Association study. Just over three-fourths (76%) of buyers in 2008 opted for coverage for a claim lasting five years or less; a slight increase over the prior year (71%). "The most expensive long-term care insurance policy is one with an unlimited benefit period (one with no cap on the number of years benefits will be received)," Slome explains. "Consumers are right-sizing their protection taking into account available savings and retirement income. This cost-sharing approach can reduce the cost of protection by 30 percent or more."

Perhaps in recognition of cost-consciousness, consumers were fairly evenly spread in terms of the level of selected daily benefit. Just under one-third (31.5%) opted for a daily benefit between $100 and $149. "In current dollars, that amounts to between $36,500 and $54,385 in a yearly benefit," Slome notes. "But most policies offer an option so benefits keep pace with rising costs and 15 years from now, the value of the (higher) benefit would be $75,800 a year."

The complete findings of the study are published in the 2009 LTCi Sourcebook available from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. For additional information, call the Association's offices at (818) 597-3227 or visit the organization's website: http://www.aaltci.org/.

Summarized Study Data

Age of Buyers (2008)

Under 45 7%
45 to 54 24%
55 to 64 53%
65 and Over 16%

Daily Benefit (2008)
Less than $100 6.5%
$100 to $149 31.5%
$150 to $199 35.0%
$200 and Over 27.0%

Benefit Period (2008)
2 Years 7%
3 Years 30%
5 Years 24%
Unlimited 13%

Premium Paid (2008)
Age Low High Average
35 - 44 $637 $2,830 $1,650
45 - 54 $1008 $6,440 $1,900
55 - 64 $844 $7,400 $2,150
65+ $1,883 N/A $3,350

Additional information can be found in the Association's Consumer Information Center.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marketing Long-Term Care Insurance To Affinity Groups

Members of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance often submit questions via the organization's members only website. We solicit answers from leading industry experts and post them. I thought it would be valuable to post this one on our blog as well. As sales of long-term care insurance to associations and affinity groups grow, I believe you'll find this of value.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance reached out to a leading national expert in the field, Joseph Pulitano of Advanced Resource Marketing, in Allston, MA.

The Question: I am agent of record for a large affinity group, and am debating whether to continue to use a mailback pro forma or to partner with an LTC specialty Managing General Agency (MGA). My question is, how many times more apps could I expect to receive by using the face to face process, vs the mailback process?

Joe Pulitano's reply: I don't have enough information on your group to give you a quantitative answer but I can certainly give some conceptual ones. In all of the associations and employer groups we market to we see participation rates much higher when the prospect is approached face to face with an agent.

The reasoning - Members/Employees have purchased life insurance and/or DI in the past and have perhaps purchased more than one policy. They tend to understand those products; the role they play in a person's overall financial plan and most people can adequately purchase them over the phone/mail/internet.

The people who have not purchased LTCi will hopefully only need to buy it once. For that to happen a well trained, competent agent who understands how to work affinity leads can guide a prospect through the role LTCi plays in a person's overall financial plan and help them purchase the right product at the right price.

Perhaps the best example of this is AARP. They have been offering LTCi to their membership for over 20 years strictly through over the phone and through the mail. Last year AARP contracted with a nationwide company of career agents to meet members at their homes and sell the product face to face. The results in most areas of the country have been phenomenal.

Yes, there are those prospects who do not want to sit with an agent and want to conduct business over the phone, internet, or through the mail, and as an MGA marketing to affinities we do accommodate those individuals with an on line education process and purchasing system.

When considering an LTCi MGA to handle your affinity there are several items you need to review:

1. What experience does the MGA have in affinity marketing?

2. Does the MGA have a regional of national base of agents who are experienced in working affinity leads?

3. What investment is the MGA willing to make to market to your affinity? Little or no investment means little or no leads.

4. Does the MGA have the ability to structure commissions to flow directly from the carrier to the affinity and the agent of record?

5. Does the MGA have an on line educational program Members can go to and get more information?

When an MGA is considering taking on this affinity project from you they may want to know:

1. What is the affinity between the association and the members?

2. Are other insurance products sold to affinity members?

3. What are the demographics of the affinity? There are some large affinities that will not be successful.

4. What is the retention rate of affinity members?

5. How long has LTCi been offered and what have the success rates been?

Affinity marketing of LTCi when marketed, sold, and administered correctly is a goldmine of opportunity.

Thanks Joe.

The Ask The Experts service is a benefit of membership in the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. To become a member, click here or type: www.aaltci.org/join into the address bar of your web browser.