Interest in planning for longevity, health and Long-Term Care issues has never been bigger but some of the media coverage has been misleading. That is the message a nationally known Long-Term Care specialist delivered today on a national conference call of specialists around the country.
Matt McCann, who has been a leading expert in Long-Term Care insurance and longevity planning, said the Mark twain quote, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” has never been more spot on especially when it comes to internet news coverage of this topic.
“It is easy to place a news story for people to consume today. We still have traditional TV and radio plus the expanded 24/7 news cycle with cable news. There is a lot of news and information to consume. The biggest difference today is anyone with a computer can create a news story. It seems almost everyone has a computer or smart phone and they are not afraid to use it,” McCann said.
McCann said the best way to describe some of the content being written about Long-Term Care insurance and longevity planning is not the often used “fake news” but more “lazy news” or “advocacy news”. “Everyone has an agenda. What information is true or how much information is left out can impact a consumer’s view of the story,” he explained.
McCann says internet and media articles about Long-Term Care insurance premiums and the public’s interest in Long-Term Care insurance is very misleading. It is up to Long-Term Care specialists to educate the consumer, so they can make a fair decision on how they will plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging.
“These stories are concentrating on old “legacy” products that were sold and priced prior to rate stabilization and the interest rate crash. The fact is even with increases these plans remain, for most people, very affordable. Plus, the benefits of these plans are huge and are providing tremendous benefit to the American family,” McCann said.
In 2017 the Long-Term Care insurance industry paid over $9.2 billion in claims according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. McCann notes very few people ever lapse these policies. Many don’t ever pay the increase on these old plans since they are easily able to adjust benefit levels to keep the premium level.
“Today all plans are priced with the very low interest rate environment factored into the equation. Remember, interest rates have been low in the United States over the last decade. While these older plans were not priced for low interest rates and low lapse rates they are today. In addition, underwriting is much more conservative and scientific that it was 15, 20, 30+ years ago. The industry has substantial claims and underwriting experience which makes the plans being sold today very rate stable,” McCann said.
He said some articles that suggest Long-Term Care insurance is expensive and few insurance companies offer are just not true.
“There are still numerous companies offering traditional Long-Term Care insurance. Plus, now companies offer shorter duration plans which offer benefits to older people or those with health issues and asset-based plans which offer life insurance or annuities with riders for coverage of Long-Term Care,” he said.
“The products are available to meet the demand for consumers to plan in advance for the financial costs and burdens of aging.”
McCann says all these options are very affordable especially for those in the age groups who are the primary market for purchasing the product.
“People are planning before they retire. When you are in your 40s and 50s these plans are very affordable. You still can design an affordable plan if you are older and there are products and designs which fit most budgets,” McCann added.
He told the group that policy design and understanding underwriting and how the product gets used at the time of claim is key for an agent or advisor’s ability to help a consumer.
“People contact me from all over the country. Many of my clients pay under $150 a month. Premiums are dependent on policy design – the amount of benefits available in the policy along with age and health. This is why a consumer should seek the help of a Long-Term Care specialist,” McCann said.
McCann said there are several outstanding online resources for consumers to learn about Long-Term Care. He mentioned:
US Department of Health and Human Services Long-Term Care site: https://longtermcare.acl.gov/
The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance: www.aaltci.org
LTC NEWS: https://www.ltcnews.com/
He notes many states have specific websites for Long-Term Care. Plus, some specialists, like himself, have very good websites. McCann’s site is: https://mccannltc.net/
“Planning in advance for Long-Term Care just makes common sense. You don’t start planning for retirement when you are 70. You sure don’t plan for long-term care when you are too old. Ideally you wish to put a plan in place prior to retirement. Consumers will find it is easy and affordable income and asset protection which will reduce the many burdens on your family that are a result of your future aging,” McCann said.