Sunday, October 15, 2006

How to Understand Health Standards for Long Term Care Insurance Enrollment

Copyright (c) 2006 Clay Cotton

Long term care insurance conforms to the basic insurance mechanism, in that the individual risk of future peril is shared by a pool of people who currently are free from that peril.

The insurance pool is represented by the insurance company which sets eligibility standards for enrollment to ensure a hazard-free pool, so that actuaries can calculate reasonable, standardized premiums for pool members who meet the eligibility requirements and enroll in the risk pool. In this way, members transfer their individual risk of peril to the pool. The pool shares the risk for all members and covers those whom actually experience the future peril.

If you are thinking about applying for a long term care insurance policy, please be aware that certain pre-existing health conditions can make it impossible for some folks to enroll due to health reasons. If you have any health issues, this article can help you better understand long term care insurance health requirements.

Do not apply for long term care insurance if you CURRENTLY:

* Use a multi-pronged cane, crutches, oxygen, walker or wheelchair

* Require assistance with bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, urinary or bowel continence, or transferring between bed or chair

* Use/need home health care, adult day care, assisted living or nursing home care

* Require assistance with grocery shopping, use of transportation, use of telephone or banking

( NOTE: These pre-existing health problems may make you uninsurable for buying a new long term care insurance policy. However, all the above health conditions WILL be covered if they occur AFTER you you have purchased your long term care insurance policy. )

In addition, do not apply for long term care insurance if you CURRENTLY have:

* AIDs or HIV infection * Alzheimer's * Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) * Cystic Fibrosis * Dementia * Hemophilia (other than Von Willebrand disease) * Hepatitis C, Non-A, Non-B, or Autoimmune (Active) * Kidney Failure * Liver Cirrhosis * Memory Loss * Multiple Sclerosis * Muscular Dystrophy * Paralysis * Parkinson's Disease * Post-Polio Syndrome * Schizophrenia * Sickle Cell Anemia * Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Every long term care insurance company has their own health underwriting standards. Each company's health underwriting standards may vary by state, according to each state's laws.
Note: As you increase in age, so does your risk for health issues. Therefore, most long term care insurance companies will require medical records for people over 45, medical records and phone interview for people 50 and over, and medical records plus a face-to-face health interview for people over 70.

Be aware: If you think you can slip your health issues past long term care insurance underwriters, then think again. First, lying on your application is fraud. Second, it is the underwriter's job to be very thorough when looking through your medical records and assessing risk. Be honest with yourself and with the long term care insurance company you choose.

The upshot of all this is that folks must protect themselves while they are still in good health.
If you fall within acceptable guidelines, then "congratulations", as you can protect your assets and your family's lifestyle stability now, then cross your fingers and hope that you are not one of the nearly 45% of us who will need care at some point in our lives.

About the Author
Long term care insurance activist, Clay Cotton, writes for - The Online Baby Boomers Decision Assistance Center, where you get Free Long Term Care Insurance advice, comparative rate quotes and personal guidance, all while safely at home in your favorite pajamas and bunny slippers.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Baby Boomers Turn 60 – New Challenges Ahead For Those Approaching Retirement Age

Ontario, Calif., --- Long-term care is the crisis of the 21st century and 3 out of 5 people will need it, while 2 out of 5 will require nursing home facilities.

70% of current nursing home residents deplete their financial assets within 12 months and right now, 12 million Americans need long-term care. “How will increased life expectancy and rising medical care affect you and your family as you age,” asks Frank N. Darras, the nation’s leading disability and long-term care insurance lawyer. See

“It is critical to think now about the best path for aging gracefully and with dignity without a devastating financial trauma near the end of life,” Darras says.

If you are considering long-term care as an insurance option, Darras says these are important questions to consider when purchasing:

• Should I invest the long-term care premiums instead of making payments to an insurance company?

• Why spend money on insurance when I have assets to cover the medical costs directly?

• What type of long-term care policy should I buy?

- A stand alone comprehensive policy?

- As a rider to my life insurance policy? (this is not an accelerated death benefit)

- As an either/or feature in my life insurance policy?

- As an integrated single premium deferred annuity? (usually requiring a $50K lump sum)

- As part of a disability income policy?

• What insurance carrier has the finest claim paying history?

• How can I be sure the insurance company I select will be in business when I need to use the coverage?

• Are insurance carriers financially secure enough to pay out on policies years down the road?

• What is the possibility I could be wrongfully denied coverage when I need it most?

While some Americans will spend all their assets on care, others will plan to give money away or put it in a trust. By doing this, they have no assets and can qualify for Medicaid. This is a tricky business and the risks are enormous. Counting on Social Security is another shot in the dark, considering experts predict insolvency by 2019. In 1945, 42 workers supported each retiree in America, today, 3.4 workers are supporting each retiree.

“Your surest bet,” Darras says, “get reliable competent advice and a sound second opinion so that you and your family are fully protected while moving into this new phase of life. Understand the legalese in your policies and make sure your financial future is secure by making educated and well-researched decisions.” For more information see

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Long Term Care Insurance and Suze Orman - The Ongoing Controversy

Copyright 2006 Clay Cotton

Long term care insurance is an obvious “must-have' for Americans with assets and families to protect and with discretionary income to afford the premiums. While Suze Orman publicly promotes this coverage as the foundation of your financial plan, we wonder if she ought to put even MORE emphasis on LTCi protection

People all-too-often assume that long term care is just for the elderly, and it's shocking to learn that over 40% of nursing home residents are currently under age 65. In fact, because of my advanced Multiple Sclerosis, I would be in a nursing home right now if I had LTCi coverage to pay for it, and if my beloved wife, Kimberly, would agree to let me out of her sight.

In any case, while Suze Orman is clearly America's most popular financial advisor, she is also America's most visible proponent of long term care insurance.

This is a good thing for all of us since, of every 20 folks who need long term care insurance, only 1 of us owns it - A sad state of affairs to be sure. And we had better learn more about it fast...

But now the question is this: Should Suze Orman be even more forceful in her insistence that long term care insurance be the bedrock upon which everybody's financial planning must be anchored?

And why all the fuss over long term care insurance, anyway?

Well, just ask Suze Orman: It's because she knows as well as I do why Americans have no other common sense choice than to embrace this family financial tool if they want a mature, secure retirement. I, myself, was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis at age 50 - WITHOUT long term care insurance. Now I can never get long term care insurance coverage because of this pre-existing condition. Rats!

Suze Orman is bringing America's baby boomers into awareness on retirement planning and the need for long term care insurance, and for this she should be commended, but is she saying enough? You be the judge.

Here are few words from Ms. Orman: "Considering how hard people work for the majority of their lives with an eye towards retiring, it's surprising to find that many give little thought to actually funding (and protecting) their retirement."

In You've Earned It, Don't Lose It: Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make When You Retire, Suze addresses this sad fact and "goes beyond the usual financial primer to describe how to safeguard your financial future with smart long term care insurance.""No well-planned retirement should be without long term care insurance. It is the very cornerstone of retirement security." - Suze Orman

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Long term care insurance activist, Clay Cotton, writes for - The Online Baby Boomers Decision Assistance Center where you get Long term care insurance advice, comparative rate quotes and personal guidance from home in your favorite pajamas and bunny slippers.

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