Ask Me How To…

I’ve always been a big fan of those many “How To” books and articles floating around. I like the idea of learning from others on how to do certain tasks, using their experiance and knowledge to save me time and mistakes. I’m also a big fan of “Paying it Forward”… passing on something in the hope it gets passed on to others. Today, I’d like to combine the “How To” and the “Paying it Forward” to give you some ideas on how to get the best value in Long Term Care Planning.

Having been in the Insurance Business for about 30 years and working specifically in Long Term Care Planning for about 25, I’ve had a good opportunity to see the many options available for providing protection against Long Term Costs whether that may be Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities or Home Health Care. I’m firmly convinced that ASSET BASED LTC (ABLTC) is one of the best ways to provide this needed protection. ABLTC is simply using Life Insurance or Annuity based Long Term Care products to provide the protection needed, offer guaranteed premiums that can never increase, provide benefits even if protection is never needed, allow for Single Premium or pay as you go plans and in some cases offer lifetime coverage.

Based on that… Ask Me How To…
-Get LTC benefits out of a cash value life insurance policy…
-Get LTC benefits out of an Annuity, income tax free…
-Get LTC benefits by using your IRA or 401k funds…
-Eliminate rate increases Forever…
-Eliminate ongoing premiums entirely…
-Turn an Annuity on one person into LTC protection on two…
-Get LTC benefits and save on taxes at the same time…
-Use just about any type of Asset to fund ABLTC…

We don’t have enough room here to discuss each of these in detail but all these options are available to you. I’ve always told clients and agents that there are two decisions here to make. The first one is do you like this concept? The idea of a WIN-WIN approach where if you don’t use the benefits, they get passed on to your heirs and you never have to worry about potential rate increases down the road. If you like this concept, then the second decision is how do you want to pay for it? Single premium or pay as you go? Use your CD, Annuity, Life Insurance policy or IRA/401k money? If you like the concept, there is a way to pay for it. Just depends on your situation on what is right for you. So if any of these ideas appeal to you, please contact me at mwcaslin@msn.com or call me at 309-297-0296. I’d be happy to discuss the ideas with you. If you were referred to this post by another agent, please contact them.

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8 Reasons Not To Buy Long Term Care Insurance!

#8: You like to be surprised each day with your meals. Maybe you really did like that “Mystery Meat” they served in school. Going to an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home does cut down on your choice of cuisine.

#7: Kids were really a pain growing up. You always told them “paybacks are h**l!” So now it’s their turn to take care of you! See how they like it…

#6: You like someone else making all your decisions. If you don’t have the funds to decide where you are going to live, you may find that others will make those decisions for you. Living in a facility may mean having to give up some choices or alternatives.

#5: The kids are rich… let them take care of me. The kids are doing well, so just move in with them. You paid for their care growing up so now they can help take care of you. Also see #7!

#4: My home is too big! You like the idea of living in one or two rooms and getting rid of all the excess stuff you have accumulated over your lifetime.

#3: Freedom of Choice is such an overrated idea. If you don’t have the assets or some type of Long Term Care plan, you may end up with fewer and fewer choices on your type of care and where it is provided.

#2: I don’t need all those assets anyway. To go to the nursing home and have the government take care of you (Medicaid) you have to use or get rid of most of your assets.

#1: The Government does such a great job! They have done such a great job with everything else and seem to know what they are doing so why not let them take care of you in your later years!

As you hopefully can tell, I am being very Tongue-in-Cheek here! The point I am really trying to get across is that by having some type of Long Term Care Insurance in place, it will give you more choices on what type of care you receive and where you receive it. Long Term Care Insurance is really all about CHOICES!

The type I would suggest you consider is “ASSET BASED” Long Term Care Insurance. This type of plan guarantees that you will never receive any premium rate increase and best of all… if you never use the benefits or don’t use all of them… they pass on to your heirs, in many cases Income Tax Free. If you would like to discuss these ideas or Long Term Care Insurance in general, please give me a call at 309-297-0296 or email me at mwcaslin@msn.com. If you were referred to this site by another agent, please give them a call.

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A “No-Brainer” Long Term Care Solution

I think we all know what “No-Brainer” means but I went ahead and looked it up anyway. It is an “easy or obvious” conclusion, solution or task. Something requiring little or no thought. Something so simple or easy as to require no thought. Or.. an X-Ray of Homer Simpson’s head! I couldn’t resist that last one as it was actually included with some of the definitions I found online. Now, I would be the last one to tell someone that getting Long Term Care protection is a total no brainer. It does take a bit of thought and digging to find the right solution. However, there are some issues we can look at that almost become “NO BRAINERS”.

RATE INCREASES: Long Term Care (LTC) health insurance plans are subject to rate increases and most if not all companies have taken them and some have been very substantial. Even as high as 80-90% or more. During the life of the policy, you can expect to receive numerous increases over time. With Asset Based Long Term Care (ABLTC) which is a policy that uses either Life Insurance or an Annuity as the chassis instead of health insurance, you never have to worry about premium rate increases. The rates are GUARANTEED! To me that is a “No-Brainer” decision.

USE IT or LOSE IT: In most cases, a health insurance based LTC plan has no benefits other than for Long Term Care. If you don’t use the benefits or only use a small amount and then die, you don’t receive any financial value back. With ABLTC plans, because they are using the Life Insurance or Annuity chassis, if you don’t use the benefits or don’t use all the benefits, the remainder will pass on to your heirs. In many cases…Income Tax Free. Again… another easy decision! It is WIN-WIN with an Asset Based plan.

CASH VALUE GROWTH: With health based plans, you have no cash value growth inside the policy like you do with the ABLTC plans. If you have an emergency or just need some extra cash, the Asset Based plans have various provisions to be able to withdraw funds. You are earning interest on your premiums and building up an account. This is still an “ASSET” that you own. Hence the term… ASSET BASED LTC! Health based plans have no cash value growth and no way of accessing funds from the plan since there are none. Even Homer Simpson can see the advantage here!

There are many things to consider when looking at various plans but sometimes if we look at the individual issues like we did here, it will help you in deciding which plan might be best for you. As for me, I will take a plan with Guaranteed No Rate Increases, Cash Value Growth and a WIN-WIN solution every time. Seems like a “NO-BRAINER!

If you would like to discuss these ideas or would like more information on them, please give me a call at 309-297-0296 or email me at mwcaslin@msn.com. If another agent referred you to this site, please contact them. Looking forward to visiting with you on these ideas and solutions.

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“Are You Prepared To Fail?”

One of Ben Franklin’s more well known quotes is “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It basically means to BE PREPARED. Think like a Boyscout. Have a realistic plan of attack and a systematic approach for getting where you need to be. While preparing to write this week’s article, I was glancing at some clippings I found in newspapers and magazines. Some that jumped out at me were… “Time for a Plan B”, “Boomers Be Prepared”, “Plan for Today, Tomorrow and the Future” and “Choices Have Consequences”. They are all talking about planning ahead so that we can live our later years the way we want.

One of the least planned for issues is Long Term Care. Most of us have worked and planned ahead to try and have a good retirement where we can enjoy life more and just take it a bit easier. But if you don’t have a plan in place to address the potentially drastic costs of Long Term Care down the road… all your hope’s and dreams for retirement could be wrecked. So, why don’t people plan more for Long Term Care? One reason is because most people are looking at the negative side of the issue (going into a Nursing Home) and sometimes miss the whole point of the planning. This same problem comes up when people are discussing Life Insurance… it means thinking about the issue of death down the road which is the negative side of the problem.

You may be asking yourself where is the positive side of all this? If you think about discussing Life Insurance, the positive side is the thought of taking care of your loved ones. Being able to pass on an inheritance so that your spouse or kids can have a good life and accomplish things they might not have been able to without the Life Insurance proceeds. Many College’s, Library’s and Museum’s have benefited from bequests in this way. Kids have gone to college or had a better start in life due to Life Insurance Proceeds. Those are the positive aspects of Life Insurance.

When it comes to Long Term Care planning, the positive side is the choices it gives you. When you mention Long Term Care to people, they normally immediately think of going into the Nursing Home, a place most of us prefer not to end up at. Most of us would prefer to stay at home as long as possible having our friends and family around and being in a familiar environment and being able to make all the decisions on how the day is going to unfold. Long Term Care planning helps you do this. The next step might be to move to an Assisted Living Facility where you might need some extra help but still are fairly independent. The last stop would be the Nursing Home. Again, Long Term Care planning lets you have the choices to be where you want to be and not get forced into moving before you are ready.

I have found one of the best tools to use in this planning is “Asset Based” Long Term Care (ABLTC) plans. These type of plans use either a Life Insurance or Annuity based chassis instead of the more common health insurance based chassis that many folks don’t like. ABLTC plans guarantee NO PREMIUM RATE INCREASES…EVER, a choice of how you pay for it (single premium or pay-as-you-go) and best of all, if you don’t use the benefits…They pass to your heirs…In many cases, Income Tax Free! In many situations, you could use an old Annuity, old cash value Life Insurance, CD’s and even IRA’s and 401k type funds to fund these plans by simply repositioning some existing assets! Give me a call at 309-297-0296 or email me at mwcaslin@msn.com to discuss these ideas. If you were referred to this site by another agent, please give them a call.

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“Not Your Parent’s Long Term Care Insurance!”

Most of us who are in our 50’s or older have probably looked at or at least thought about purchasing Long Term Care Insurance, or we are aware of it because our parents who are probably in their 70’s or later have already bought a policy. If you have looked at Long Term Care Insurance at all, you probably have seen the traditional, health insurance based approach that your parents purchased. Well…there is another approach called Asset Based Long Term Care which is definitely NOT your parent’s type of LTC coverage.

Asset Based Long Term Care (ABLTC) has been around for about 26 years or so and has evolved into a variety of choices that will protect your assets and income against Long Term Care costs but will pass on any unused benefits to your heirs. In many cases, Income Tax Free! They also have the added advantage of guaranteed rates. You will never receive a premium rate increase…EVER! ABLTC uses a Life Insurance or Annuity chassis instead of
the older, health insurance type chassis that is normally a USE IT or LOSE IT type approach and will normally have multiple rate increases over time. ABLTC is WIN-WIN.

From the Single Premium Life Insurance based product of the late 1980’s, the products have evolved enough that there are now many choices. The life insurance based products can be purchased with a single premium or on a pay as you go type approach. The single premium products can be funded with just about any source of funds including Cash, CD’s, Money Market funds, old cash value life insurance policies (through a tax-free exchange), old annuities (again… a tax-free exchange) and even IRA and 401k type funds. The pay as you go plans can be paid up in as short as 10 years or have ongoing premium options. Your choice.

The advantages I see in ABLTC type of policies are (1) Cash Value growth that can be accessed in a variety of ways. (2) Tax-Deferred growth of funds within the policies. (3) Tax-Free withdrawal of funds for Long Term Care in most cases. (4) A great way to leverage your assets into more Long Term Care benefits. (5) Never having to worry about a rate increase down the road that will make the policy unaffordable that sometimes happens with health insurance based plans. (6) The greatest advantage I see is that these type of policies pay Long Term Care benefits if you need them but will also pass on unused benefits to your heirs. Long Term Care benefits is defined as Nursing Home, Home Health Care, Assisted Living Facilities or Adult Day Care.

ABLTC policies cover the same benefits and use the same definitions and “triggers” for claims as health based Long Term Care plans but as you can see, they are much more appealing to most consumers because of the WIN-WIN based approach. They can even be combined with a traditional health based plan to either supplement benefits for a small plan or to reduce premiums and cost on a health based plan that has taken rate increases and needs to be reduced in benefits.

Please feel free to contact me about these ideas and to see if we can find a plan that fits your situation and budget. We can discuss over the phone (309-297-0296), by email (mwcaslin@msn.com) or face to face. No rush and no pressure from my end. Hope to talk to you soon!

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“How to KISS Long Term Care Worries Goodbye.”

Most of you have heard the old saying…KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid. Although the politically correct way now is Keep It Simple Silly, I still like the original version. I learned this saying during my days as a Marine Corps Officer and it just meant to keep your plans simple, easy to understand and easy to carry out. I think we can apply this idea to Long Term Care(LTC) planning also. So, let’s try a simple question and answer approach.

1) Do I Need LTC Insurance? The simple answer for most people is yes. The odds are fairly high (60-70%) that we will need some type of care down the road whether that be Home Health Care, Assisted Living or Nursing Home care. The odds are even higher for a couple. The odds of having a reported home fire during your lifetime are about 25%. The odds of having a reported auto crash injury during your lifetime is about 26%. The percentage of people reporting an unexpected medical expense in the last year is about 34%. The percentage of individuals over age 65 that will require some form of LTC service is about 70%. We all carry Homeowners, Auto and Health Insurance for those smaller risks…why don’t you have LTC Insurance for the larger risk?

2) Will my family take care of me? To some extent yes. Most will want to help out in some way or the other but most can’t afford to make it a continuous, round-the-clock affair. They have their own families and probably have limited resources and time. Besides, there are probably some care needs you really don’t want your kids help with anyway. Also, most times the burden of care falls unfairly on one sibling or child.

3) Will the Government take care of me? My first response to that is…”Do you really want them to?” The quick answer is maybe…maybe not. Medicare has limited benefits for a short period of time. Medicaid means impoverishing yourself. With government budget cuts and problems, it will probably get harder and harder to qualify for possibly reducing benefits.

4) I don’t like LTC health insurance Most people don’t. They see it as a costly product that will probably continue to have even more costly rate increases down the road and the biggest objection is the “USE IT or LOSE IT” aspect of the product. If they don’t need LTC or don’t use it for very long, they have spent a lot of money for little financial return.

5) Is there a better Solution? In my mind and for many thousands of satisfied customers that have already done so…YES! It is called “ASSET BASED LONG TERM CARE” (ABLTC) Instead of using a health insurance product that is prone to rate increases and is “USE IT or LOSE IT” in most cases, ABLTC uses either a Life Insurance or Annuity based product for Long Term Care protection. This eliminates rate increases entirely and if you don’t need or use all the benefits, they pass on to your heirs. In the case of the Life Insurance based product…INCOME TAX FREE! They are more of a WIN-WIN type of approach.

6) How do I pay for ABLTC? However you wish! These products can be done with a single premium by using Cash, CD’s old cash value life insurance, old annuities and even IRA’s and 401k funds or they can be paid on a pay-as-you-go basis. If you like the idea of a WIN-WIN product that guarantees no rate increases… there is a way to pay for it that will fit your situation.

I hope this helps to simplify some of the issues with Long Term Care planning. Please give me a call at 309-297-0296 or email me at mwcaslin@msn.com to discuss these ideas. If you were referred to this site by another agent, please give them a call.

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“Breaking Up is Hard to Do”….Not Really!

Most of you will remember the Neil Sedaka hit of 1962 which was then re-recorded and released again in 1975.  Both times it was a big hit.  So how does this have anything to do at all with Long Term Care Planning??  It will really apply to those of you that have already purchased a traditional Long Term Care Health Insurance type policy.  I want to give you some reasons why you might want to consider replacing that type of policy with an “Asset Based Long Term Care Plan”.

Many times over the years I have run across clients that have the health insurance based Long Term Care (LTC) type of plan.  They have been paying premiums sometimes for many years and seem somewhat reluctant to replace those type of plans with the Asset Based LTC plans that offer a guarantee of no rate increase …ever … and a WIN-WIN type of approach where if you don’t use the benefits or don’t use them all, they will pass on to the heirs… in many cases, Income Tax Free.  The usual comment I get is that they have been paying premiums into the plan for so long that they feel that if they change they will have wasted all those premiums.  My response has always been to consider their auto insurance policy.  They may have paid premiums for years and then due to a rate increase or lousy service they may have switched to another carrier.  They didn’t waste the premiums on the first carrier because they had coverage for all those years.  Same thing applies here also.  If you switch coverage, you didn’t waste the premiums because of the protection that you had for that time period.

So why switch from the Health Insurance Based approach to the “Asset Based” approach that uses either Life Insurance or Annuity Based LTC?

(1)  No Rate Increases …. EVER!

(2)  Cash Value Growth …. It is an asset that you can access.

(3)  WIN-WIN … If you don’t use it, you don’t lose it..

(4)  Flexibility …  Reposition existing assets or do  Pay-As-You-Go.

(5)  Tax Advantages … Tax Free LTC benefits,  Tax Free Death Benefits.

Please give me a call at 309-297-0296 or email me at mwcaslin@msn.com for more information or to get a quote.  I would appreciate the opportunity to sit down with you and visit about these options.  If you were referred to this site by another agent, please give them a call.

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