I’ve re-published below my friend and colleague Ron Hagelman’s October 2014 Broker World Magazine column. Ron writes eloquently and from his heart. Plus, he is fun to read. He explains why buying long-term care insurance (LTCi) will always be less about wealth preservation and more about love. The primary reasons my clients buy LTCi are to show kindness, consideration and love to themselves and their families.
Ron has a knack for describing the frustration and concern I experience on a daily basis. Most people refuse to think about what might happen to them in the last years of their lives, so far in the future.
I love you, Ron!
Here is Ron’s column, titled, “LTCi…Who Cares?”:
The frustration inherent in the title is not the point. Surveys continue to point out the obvious: As far as the future of the LTCI industry is concerned, familiarity with the pain and stress of caregiving in America remains the most reliable motivation to buy. The most recent U.S. census information confirms the inexorable progression of an aging population with 13 percent of our population currently over 65, rising to 20 percent by the year 2030. Institutional care has never been the answer. Nursing home populations have decreased by 20 percent since the year 2000. Although the growth of assisted living alternatives has been noticeable, seniors would of course rather receive care at home if at all possible. A report just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, “65+ in the U.S. 2010,” confirms what we already suspected: “90 percent of people older than 50 express the preference to be cared for in their own home.” The problem of course is who will provide that care. In another recent poll, 75 percent of seniors reported they could only identify two people who might help them when the time came that they needed care.
Finding care may be the single largest problem we all will face when the need for care arises. The fact is that roughly 70 percent of all informal care comes from relatives. This is, however, a vanishing resource. According to the new AARP study, “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap,” the ratio of potential family caregivers to high risk people in their eighties is falling rapidly. Although seven to one in 2010, it is expected to drop to four to one by 2023, and three to one in 2050. There is no alternative but to shift to more paid caregivers, which will dramatically increase the cost of future long term care. I think we can all agree that perhaps the hardest part of the sales conversation is explaining the real risk and convincing your prospect that, “Yes, this can happen to you!” Improper, misguided and inadequate planning remains our curse. (Amen, Ron!)
Although most buyers claim that protecting assets is their primary motivation for acquiring coverage, the purchase of LTCI is never just about the money. Just as a long term care event is never just about the person needing care—it is about all those family members willing to respond to the problem, which can severely impact their own finances and their careers (including their own health issues aggravated by the stress of caregiving). The bottom line is that attempting to plan for long term care is not simply a financial decision. There are more important questions concerning who will provide your care, in what setting will it take place, to what extent do you plan to involve family members, and from exactly where will the money arrive? Please recognize that it is immediate family, those for whom the insured cares the most, who will bear the burden of care. Eighty percent of the time, informal caregivers are the most immediate family, including spouses, daughters, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law. Caregiving, especially from spouses, may represent a substantial threat to the caregiver’s health, accelerating their own need for long term care. Usually there is a progression of care from part time assistance to full time maintenance, and as we know, as the need for care increases, the importance of freedom of choice and the quality of that care also increases.
A strong recommendation is to include your anticipated plan for care and available funding dedicated to that purpose in a separate “Care Agreement.” Too often families find themselves thrust into a care event for which no one was prepared. It is estimated that one-quarter of all Americans are currently receiving care. For 10 years this column has attempted to explore why what may represent America’s largest underinsured, under-planned and under-prepared risk remains at the end of the planning conversation instead of at its heart. Too many on both sides of the sale continue to ignore the obvious at their own peril. By not making the risk a required universal recognition and featuring its resolution as a centerpiece of everyone’s planning practice, we unnecessarily jeopardize consumer confidence, agent ethics and company relevance.
Other than that I have no opinion on the subject.
Ronald R. Hagelman Jr., CLTC, CSA, LTCP
CLTC, CSA, LTCP, has been a teacher, cattle rancher, agent, brokerage general agent, corporate consultant and home office executive. As a consultant he has created numerous individual and group insurance products. A nationally recognized motivational speaker, Hagelman has served on the LIMRA, Society of Actuaries, and ILTCI committees. He is past president of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance and continues to work with LTCI company advisory boards. He remains a contributing “friend” of the SOA LTCI Section Council and the SOA Future of LTCI committee. Hagelman is president of Broadtower Insurance Solutions, a national IMO helping BGAs enhance LTCI production. Hagelman can be reached at Broadtower Insurance Solutions, Inc., 156 N. Solms Rd., New Braunfels, TX 78132. Telephone: 830-620-4066. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.BroadtowerInsurance.com.