As many of our clients know, I have retained Allen Hamm of Superior LTC Planning Services, Inc. to assist our clients with planning for long term care. Our clients who have utilized this service have given us high marks about the service, its benefits and the experiece of working with Allen. (If you haven’t seen the recording of the short webinar that Allen did for our clients that explains the services available to our clients, you can view it by clicking on this link: Long-Term Care Webinar. There’s no charge to you for these services because we pay his fee as a way of adding value to our relationship with you.)
Recently, I went through a long-term care planning analysis with Allen. I wanted to have the same discussion he has had with many of our clients and I wanted to go through this analysis because I wanted clarity on my best option for paying for a potential long-term care need.
Allen explained, there’s 4 ways to pay for long term care: Rely on Medicaid, the welfare program; rely on family members; rely on your assets; or rely on LTC insurance. Obviously, the first two options (welfare and family) are not viable for me–I wouldn’t choose one of those even if I could. So the analysis came down to choosing between relying on my assets or relying on LTC insurance.
During the process, Allen asked several questions designed to help me get clarity on my personal odds of needing long-term care. Even though the government and the insurance industry offer lots of “general statistics” related to the odds of needing care, what’s more relevant are my personal odds. We talked about my genetic history and whether or not the need for care is prevalent in my family. The answers to those questions were mixed. But longevity appears to be something I’ll face, for better or for worse: I take reasonably good care of myself, and my father is healthy as a horse and he’s in his mid-80s.
By the end of the analysis, we concluded that my personal odds of needing care are at least reasonable. So how would I pay for it?
Like all small business owners, my focus is on serving my clients well and so my major asset is Bernhardt Wealth Management. That’s likely to remain the case over the coming decades. So one option for paying for care could be to use the assets I’ve accumulated from my business or to take income from the business to pay for my care. After thinking about it, I’m not completely comfortable with that option, at least for now. I’ve decided that I can better protect myself and my firm by relying on LTC insurance. But I’ll be talking with Allen at least once a year about this decision, reviewing the insurance coverage and discussing whether or not changes have taken place in my life that warrant making a change. In other words, having the insurance puts me in the driver’s seat: the insurance company can’t cancel the coverage but I certainly can if my circumstances change.
If any of you have not yet gone through an LTC planning process with Allen, I encourage you to do so and believe you’ll find it valuable. He can conduct a policy audit of an existing policy, explain what you have, and/or look at options you should consider. Let me know if I need to coordinate a conference between Allen and you.