A Patient Advocate's View

How to plan for Long Term Care costs.

By the time most people call me in to Advocate for them, their financial situation is mostly fixed in place. They don’t expect to be able to earn anymore, so what they will have to live out their lives is their social security, possibly a pension, any savings and investments.

For the past few years, we’ve heard about the sandwich generation who will be responsible for more of the expenses of their parents, while also working, covering their own living expenses and saving for their own retirement. But with the current economic downturn, adult children may not have the extra income to help out their parents. In fact, most of what I see these days is parents helping out the children, by babysitting, buying the extra’s grandchildren need and many times even giving the children and their family a roof over their heads as more people lose their jobs.

It became clear to me this past year, that there was a great disparity to the quality of life for a senior with long-term care insurance and those without. People like my cousins, who believed they had enough predictable income coming in every month to pay for a second home, a few nice trips every year and plenty to be generous to the kids and grandchildren, found that a lot of their income is going to pay for out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare, since he developed Parkinson’s. They are very familiar with the costs that could be needed in the future, since they cared for his mother with the help of a live-in aide. But, they also realize that there really isn’t anyone to do for them what they did for her, because their children live in another state and just about make ends meet themselves.

Another friend of mine has lived the great retired life for many years. However, now in their 80’s her husband is in a progressive stage of Alzheimer’s. They have seen their investments go down in value in the last few years and they have tapped those investments to support their lifestyle. They do not have children who can help them, in fact they have a disabled adult child who will need to provided for. They started having an aide come in for eight hours a day during the week, which is covered by their long-term care policy. The husband has been hospitalized several times in the last few months due to infections he develops from not being able to properly catheterize. He needs a higher level of care now and they know it will not only be getting worse, but may be dangerous for both of them to live alone. They are afraid to use more of their insurance, since they have a cap and regardless of that, their daily coverage is not enough for both of them to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

I do a lot of public speaking and have shared the stage with many financial planners and long-term care insurance salespeople. I thought I understood how plans work, as I have helped dozens of people use their long-term care policies to get care. But now, I am running into situations where people may not have enough insurance or the right kind of policy for their needs. So, I asked expert in Long Term Care Insurance, Rona Loshak to explain how to decide how much and the type of insurance that someone my age should consider to protect me from the fates I see my clients experiencing.

Rona told me that because she and her partner Natalie Karp only deal in Long Term Care insurance, they spend all their time learning about what policies are out there and what they do. She said there are three things to look at when considering long-term care insurance, “Health, Budget and Flexibility. Karp Loshak is able to look at a variety of products that can be changed as your situation changes.”

Rona explained the different types of coverage including plans that cover informal caregivers like paying your children to care for you from a cash benefit. She also talked about plans that waive the waiting period for home care and the State’s Partnership plans. ”

Their website talks about the Partnership Plans.  ” Partnership Plans are a combination of Long-Term Care Insurance and Medicaid. It is a viable option for some since it protects all of your assets in Total Asset Plan (NY only) or a portion of your assets up to the amount of premiums that have been paid in Dollar for Dollar plans. There are income restrictions that must be met in both cases once you apply for Medicaid Extended Coverage. We are certified to sell LTC Partnership plans in NY, NJ, CT and FL.”

“People start out with one kind of policy and then a spouse or a friend get sick. The surviving spouse may then realize that they should increase their coverage to a lifetime policy, or add a cash benefit. We like to review our clients situation on an annual basis, while they’re healthy, but many people say they just don’t want to deal with it now.” Rona said.

But, I’ve seen too many situations where people do not have any choice but to suffer isolation, lack of care and even premature death because they didn’t have the resources to pay for improving their living conditions. There are many complicated issues to consider when planning long-term care, not having enough money shouldn’t be one of them.

Caryn Isaacs, Patient Advocate


Natalie Karp and Rona Loshak , Specialists in all aspects of Long-Term Care Insurance plus Certified in Long-Term Care, CLTC*

As CLTC* licensed professionals with State Partnership certification, Karp Loshak are experts in asking the right questions in order to craft a plan to protect a family’s retirement portfolio from the risks associated with needing protracted care as one ages.

Karp Loshak understand and appreciate the emotional and financial consequences of protracted home or nursing care. They are independent insurance brokers and represent the top rated LTC insurance companies: Genworth, Guardian/Berkshire, John Hancock, Hartford Life, Lincoln, Mass Mutual, Med America, Mutual of Omaha, National Life, Prudential, TransAmerica, UNUM.

Karp Loshak is currently licensed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, California, Missouri, Washington DC, Massachusetts. They are members of The American Association of Long Term Care Insurers and are ranked one of the top in the industry. They work in partnership with lawyers, financial planners, CPA’s, Patient Advocates and other insurance professionals.

They are an approved NYS Sponsor of Continuing Professional Education Credits (CPE) for CPA’s and are Adjunct Professors for CW Post, LI University as a trusted source for information for long-term care insurance for individuals, business owners and employer groups.



March 17, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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