Long-Term Care Insurance Taking Advantage of Member Benefits

By Smith, David J. | The National Public Accountant, November 1998 | Go to article overview

Long-Term Care Insurance Taking Advantage of Member Benefits


Smith, David J., The National Public Accountant


With the new Long-Term Care Evaluation Service, FTJ is taking customer service to a new level. For more than 28 years, NSA members have had access to an insurance portfolio administered by Forrest T. Jones & Company (FTJ). Although you can purchase insurance through other avenues, the NSA plans were specially chosen for accountants and offer association discounts. Recently, FTJ added longterm care insurance to the portfolio. As an added benefit to an array of policies to choose from, FTJ helps you make your way through a complicated information-gathering and decision-making process.

With all the recent legislation and media attention given to long-term care insurance, the messageis clear. You must take responsibil-ity for funding your own long-termcare, but shop around before buyinglong-term care insurance.

Demographics explain the present focus on long-term care. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people over age 85 (prime candidates for long-term care) will more than double from 3.9 million to 8.5 million by 2030, and by 2050 will have more than doubled again to 18 million. Even today, people 65 and older outnumber teenagers. Finally, among Americans aged 65 and over, 43% will spend one or more years in a nursing home. Unfortunately, many people are discovering the high cost of care only when it's too late - at the time they need it. The average cost of a one-year stay in a nursing home runs $40,000 - and it can be twice that amount depending on geographical location and level of care. Even in-home care can top $20,000 a year.

Insurance companies have rushed to accommodate the growing market for long-term care insurance. Many new plans are available, but not all plans provide the same features. First of all, the buyer needs to be aware of whether or not a plan qualifies for tax breaks under HIPAA. With a qualified plan, premiums are deductible and the proceeds from the policy are not considered taxable income.

An equally important issue is the quality of the insurance company. How is it rated? Will it still be paying benefits when the purchaser needs them?

Next comes examining the specific terms of the policy. …

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