DHill Financial

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4 Benefits Blunders by 1 National Payroll Co.

4 Benefit Blunders by 1 National Payroll CoMost business owners started their businesses to address market needs, serve the community, possibly to create generational wealth.  I haven’t met one business owner yet who told me they started the business because they like compliance and administration.

It’s more common that they might view these areas as a barrier to entry, or at least to company growth.  Companies know that in order to grow, they’re going to need good people which only amplifies the administrative responsibilities of the business.

So, it’s no wonder that when companies start adding people, that they look for efficiencies and expanded sophistication in payroll and benefits.  Having a strong payroll system to support process and compliance is critical as a company grows, and payroll companies have deep expertise in this area.

A dedicated and visible health insurance broker can enhance the employee value proposition by making sure the employees feel connected to their benefits.  On site meetings, one to one consultations, and visibility during open enrollment help employees to feel valued.

While marketing experts stress specialization, there has been a move for payroll companies to offer insurance benefits as an additional service.  Here are four blunders I’ve witnessed from one national payroll vendor from the least egregious to just unacceptable.

  1. Mismatched Benefit Plans – the benefit plans should match the financial needs and culture goals of the company, the type of employee they are targeting, and the experience they want to provide the employee. If you want a Platinum health insurance plan, make sure you pay 100% of the premium for the employee and rich vision and dental benefits.  The vision and dental does not add much cost, but keeps the program consistent in terms of quality.  Gold and Silver plans also have a place for employees responsible for dependent costs.
  2. COBRA / Continuation of Benefit – Departed employees who wish to continue coverage pay the premium to the employer, and the employer submits the premium to the insurance carrier. When using a payroll company, the premium may get paid to the payroll company.  In one case, a terminated employee found a new job with benefits, the payroll company didn’t collect premium from the employee once new coverage was secured but continued to bill and pay the premium on behalf of the employer.  When the employer submits premium directly to the insurance carrier, they can see if the money has been collected.
  3. Failure to Terminate Coverage – Not terminating employees in a timely fashion can create administrative and compliance problems and the responsibility remains with the employer. Having direct access to an online system either at the insurance carrier level, or preferably through a Third Party Administrator who handles insurance benefit administration, ensures there is a process in place with checks and balances.
  4. Letting Coverage Lapse – If the employer is not sending in the premium payments, how do they know if coverage goes unpaid? While it seems unlikely that this would occur, this happened with a new client as of January 1 who found that one of the plans had lapsed for non-payment some time the previous year.

In fact, all four of these issues came up with the same client last year, a key reason they needed to make a change.  So why change to an insurance broker for benefits management instead of a payroll company?

This business owner wanted a vendor partner who is attentive to their business, cares about their people, understands their value proposition, and find ways to work towards that mission.  If you don’t feel like your benefits broker understands your mission, consider making a change and see how powerful it could be if they did.

David Hillelsohn founded DHill Financial, LLC with the mission of enhancing the cohesion among families and businesses by prioritizing meeting obligations and taking steps to ensure people know you care.  His vision is for people to want to do for others thereby doing for themselves.  David is an independent agent licensed in the majority states around the country, and he can be reached at 703.435.6028 or by email at david@dhillfinancial.com.

3 Tax Act Changes Impacting Corporate Owned Life Insurance… for the Better

Corporate Owned Life Insurance Tax Act 2018

While taxpayers continue to evaluate the impact of the new Tax Act on their pocketbook, one thing has become clear; the tax bill supports the life insurance industry.  Cash value accumulation remained a tax-deferred growth vehicle, loans against cash value continue tax-free within policy limits, and income tax free death benefits reserved for the individual market now has similar advantages in the corporate market.

Here are 3 tax law changes impacting the corporate owned life insurance market which every business should know:

  1. Reduction in the Corporate Tax Rate: The reduction of the corporate tax rate to 21% for C-Corporations fundamentally changes the approach to purchasing life insurance for owners and for businesses looking to reward key employees. With the potentially higher personal tax brackets, there is a distinct advantage to having life insurance policies owned by the corporation.  One advantage is using the lower tax bracket to purchase the policy; the second advantage is realized when the employer pays out a retirement income to the key employee.  As example, if the agreement is to pay the key employee $50,000/year for 10 years at retirement age, the after tax to the employee at the 37% rate would be $31,500 and it would take $39,873 of cash value from a corporate owned life insurance policy to generate that amount at the 21% tax rate.
  2. Elimination of Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax: A permanent change in the tax code, this eliminates the additional tax levied to corporations owning life insurance on key employees and owners/shareholders. Previously, any death benefit proceeds above cost basis would have been included in the corporate AMT which could lower the net proceeds from life insurance to the company of up to 20%.  This allows the employer to fulfill their retirement income obligations to the key employee, and retain the policy as an asset on the balance sheet with no corresponding liability.  Corporate owned life insurance can also be of value to a business as collateral when seeking additional financing.
  3. Tax Savings for 2018: Life insurance is an attractive vehicle for cash accumulation within a corporation as the cash values remain accessible for liquidity to the business and the funds can avoid the additional tax associated with retained earnings when structured properly to meet normal business needs (like key person coverage). Using the 2018 tax savings to purchase corporate owned life insurance allows the business to build cash reserves as working capital, a rainy day fund, or for succession planning to assist with ownership transfer.  Companies which spend time preparing for ownership transition are typically the most successful at making the change, and having assets available to assist with the buy-out makes the company attractive to the next generation of ownership.

Life Insurance can be an effective tool for cash accumulation and wealth transfer, and the new tax law changes make corporate owned life insurance even more attractive.  Corporate owned life insurance requires notice and consent from the insured and annual tax reporting; make sure to work with an experienced insurance professional who can design a plan that’s right for your organization.

David Hillelsohn founded DHill Financial, LLC with the mission of enhancing the cohesion among families and businesses by prioritizing meeting obligations and taking steps to ensure people know you care.  His vision is for people to want to do for others thereby doing for themselves.  David is an independent agent licensed in the majority states around the country, and he can be reached at 703.435.6028 or by email at david@dhillfinancial.com.  This article is not meant to be tax advice, please consult a tax professional for details.

Is Long Term Care Insurance the missing ingredient?

It was 7:28am on January 2nd (2018) when the email arrived from a client; the message read “I’ll call you at 9:00am, we need to get our long term care insurance application submitted.

The demand for long term health care funding continues to grow with the recognition that as we age the risk of needing care continues to rise; so why the drop in LTC insurance sales in recent years?

There are a number of factors, but the greatest is that many people don’t see the LTC risk until they either have a personal experience or an adviser brings it to their attention.

Many consumers consider LTC planning as part of their long term financial plan,  so they rely on their financial planner to address important areas of risk management within their plan.  According to an AARP report, 70% of people over 65 require some form of long term health care.  This is much higher than the likelihood of double digit inflation!

You likely have a fantastic adviser,  and if they are an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, this likely does not apply, and what I’m about to share doesn’t include any financial planner I know (and I know a lot).

If your financial planner suggests long term care insurance isn’t right for you, this could be what they really mean:

  1. “I want to invest your money.” Raise your hand if you think that makes sense.  Of course it does.  If your advisers product/service is investment advice and management, then he/she often wants to manage assets. However, unforeseen health care expenses can jeopardize any well intentioned investment plan.  To maintain assets for continued growth, a more balanced approach that includes long term care insurance would ensure long term goals are achieved.
  2. “I don’t understand why long term care insurance rates are higher today.” Long Term Care Insurance plans have been around for 50 years… but not over 100 years like life insurance and other product lines.  Insurance companies could not predict how long people would keep their policies, as well as a decade of falling interest rates. Consumers who purchase long term care insurance tend to keep it.  Generous provisions in older policies coupled with reduced investment earnings, rates had to rise. Current plans are built and priced based upon claim history, current data, better knowledge and a tougher economic environment.
  3. “I want to sell you a life insurance policy instead.” This occurs in two very different, yet subtle ways. There are traditional financial advisers who felt that permanent life insurance was a poor investment choice and long term care insurance was a good idea, only to now suggest that buying whole life insurance or universal life with a long term care benefit is a good option. The second is the financial adviser who works for a life insurance company, I’m not sure I need to finish that thought for you to see where that is heading.  If you believe you’re going to need care at some point in your future, what would you do?  You’d want a long term care insurance plan supporting your lifestyle decisions and protecting your assets… not spending down the assets.
  4. “I don’t think you will need care.” As mentioned above it is most likely that you will need care at some point in your life. If you need care, long term care insurance is the most economical way to pay for it.  The policy offers the most liquidity compared to most other investments in your portfolio. Advisers use the common misconceptions for not having their clients purchase long term care insurance – I’ll never need it.  It’s too expensive.  My family will take care of me. Marketing research from LIMRA has shown that I’ll never need it is not the main reason people are unwilling to purchase long term care insurance; it’s not knowing what to do.
  5. “While Long Term Care Insurance is expensive, you should spend more to cover multiple needs.” Life Insurance plans offer a predictable (and often guaranteed) outcome, and this comes with a cost. That cost may be in the form of benefits (inflation growth, longer care needs, spousal provisions), or in the form of the higher premium required to secure the coverage. When added to a life insurance plan, the long term care feature is often a fraction of the cost of purchasing the same amount of traditional long term care insurance. The reason is that the life insurance plan knows it will pay out at some point, and has priced mortality and morbidity (awesome industry terms) together. So, while life insurance with a long term care can address the “what if you never need it,” this will not address the concern that this risk transfer vehicle requires a larger upfront financial outlay. (aka “it’s too expensive”)
  6. “I am not certified to offer long term care insurance.” In many states, to offer long term care insurance, licensed insurance agents are required to complete specific continuing education which outlines state partnership long term care programs.  Financial planners and insurance agents who do not suggest long term care insurance may in fact not be certified by the state to provide this coverage.  Furthermore, purchase of LTCi today looks very different than it did five or ten years ago; staying current on the latest trends impacting the long term care marketplace gives consumers better information from which to base their planning decisions.

There is clearly a lot of noise in the marketplace, and new product innovation continues to cloud the issue.  The focus needs to return to making sure our core needs are met as we age.

If you have questions keeping you up at night with regard to things you’ve heard about long term care planning, talk with an experienced LTC specialist to get a different perspective.  You deserve a better night’s rest.

4 Reasons PEOs are Killing Health Insurance

DHill Financial, PEO, Health Insurance, Local Broker

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield  announced their departure from the individual health insurance marketplace in most major county areas in Virginia at the start of 2018.  Concern is growing about the state of the health insurance marketplace, and what the changes mean for affordable healthcare to consumers across the nation.

Increasing health insurance premiums and rising plan co-pays are just part of the issue. More and more people will find local and regional insurance agents reluctant to provide needed guidance and service to families looking for individual health insurance.

Anthem has maintained their plan to stay in the small group employer marketplace.  However, Anthem and other regional insurance providers face competitive pressures from a new type of buying consortium, some of which provide small employers access to carriers and benefits historically restricted to larger employers (500 employees and above).

These consortium’s, called Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are often payroll service companies who have developed ways to provide additional services to the small employer clients.  Through the PEO platform, small employers (down to just a few employees) can also access HR consulting and business consulting, providing non regulated services and in core areas of need for small business owners.

The insurance products offered through a PEO range from workers compensation to more complex commercial needs, health insurance, 401(k), and other core employee benefits.  These products, however, require additional licensing by the provider instances of companies selling health insurance to clients without the proper licensing have already been reported.  This has resulted in failure to meet compliance standards as part of their service offering.

However, there are PEO firms in the marketplace like BBSI, who partner with licensed local health insurance brokers as a way to leverage not only their relationships, but also their understanding of the local healthcare marketplace.  Thus they can provide a more tailored, compliant, and effective solution to better meet the specific needs of individual small businesses.

Here are 4 reasons I believe that some PEOs are not helpful for the survival of the health insurance industry.

  1. Larger employers are more similar to one another than small employers – when buying insurance on a group basis, one of the first items the insurance company will request is the SIC code or Standard Industrial Classification. This is requested because the insurance companies can predict with reasonable certainty how different industries will perform from a risk and experience standpoint.  That predictability is lost with the blended group, and thus businesses in certain industries with better claims experience are going to be financially supporting other industries with higher claims rates.
  2. Smaller employers need dedicated attention – looking at the federal health insurance exchange, there is a reason that experienced insurance agents are still needed to assist participants with enrolling in the plans.  A licensed agent who knows the local networks and trends in the marketplace, along with legal requirements, can properly match the types of plans available to the specific needs of the employer. In a competitive staffing marketplace, health insurance and employee benefits need to be tailored to the employer’s goal for offering the benefit.  The right benefits package can enhance the culture they want to nurture within their organization.
  3. Owners/Employers value local relationships – when is the last time the health representative from your PEO sent you a client referral, or found innovative ways to remind you that your business is a priority? Employers often depend on a local network to help build their business.  Once established, the business has the opportunity to invest in the relationships knowing there is a long-term value in the trust and knowledge built over time.  Health insurance brokers offer the same value to clients, providing an opportunity for business owners to build a long-term relationship with someone who keeps tabs on what is going on in their business. Better yet, the best insurance brokers look for ways to help grow their business on a local level, and offer a single point of contact if issues arise reducing the overall cost of business.
  4. The PEO model is a poor business match for long term success – business owners want to build a practice that is stable and predictable with little employee turnover thereby reducing costs over time. Many of the national payroll/PEO firms offering health insurance hire talent just out of college with little industry experience, and no track record of problem resolution – a key need for small employers who will encounter turbulence in their business. Further, the structure does not lend itself to long-term relationships  if the sales representative on whom the employer decided to make the initial purchase (of services) moves on to the next opportunity.

As a business owner, you want your business to be recognized as the gold standard.  If you don’t feel like you’re number one with your health insurance broker, or PEO, perhaps it is time to evaluate other options that can provide better, more tailored services to you and your employees.

David Hillelsohn is an insurance broker who prioritizes building long term relationships with clients that is built upon trust, knowledge, and compassion.  David is the president of DHill Financial, LLC which specializes in health insurance and life insurance and he can be reached at 703/435-6028 or david@dhillfinancial.com. Contact David with questions.

Why your top Sales Executives deserve a raise

DHill Financial, Sales Executive, Insurance, Key Man, Trust, Split DollarLike any business that continues to succeed and flourish, it starts with a great idea, but that great idea goes nowhere without the ability to sell the idea to others.

Businesses recognize the key role their top sales professionals play in the overall success of the company, and elite sales professionals are often among the highest compensated employees at a company.

But is that enough, and even more important, how can you protect those assets?

Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if changes are in order:

1. What is the Sales Executives worth to the company?

Taking the emotion out of the answer; if you were to transfer the risk of losing the sales professional to an insurance company, how much insurance would the company be willing to offer?

Do you know how much protection a company would be willing to provide in the event of a disability which took a sales executive out of production or an unexpected death?  Having properly assessed the economic value to the business will allow an organization to continue to succeed and flourish even during unpredictable events.

Key-Man protection can replace these economic losses to the business.  Insurance companies will typically offer up to 10 times salary for Key-Man protection. Take the sales professional who brings in $20 million of business to a company and is earning $300,000 a year; the employer may be limited to a key man policy that replaces $3 million (or 15%) of that revenue should something happen to the sales professional.

2. Does the Sales Executive feel valued and appreciated?

Many top sales professionals have lucrative sales incentive plans to help drive the type of sales behavior desired by upper management. Many of the same traits which make sales people successful in business also make them tougher to manage as employees; focus, drive, ego all play some role.

Employees like to feel valued, and especially those employees who use ego effectively to help reinforce the drive to succeed.  What message does it send to your top sales professional when you identify they are an important enough asset of the company to warrant additional attention… and protection?

Adding key man protection on the life of the Sales Executive in the event of a disability or a death sends a message that they are a key part of the success of the organization.  While firms work to avoid over-dependence, they also run the risk of not demonstrating how much the Sales Executive means to the company.

BEWARE, if you decide to buy Key Man on your top people, but not for your top people, that also sends a message.

3. Does the incentive package entice the Sales Executive to stay with the firm?

With fluctuating income, Sales Executives often find it hard to budget, plan, and execute sound financial plans. Employers can protect the value of their business, show the Sales Executive they are valued, and create an incentive plan to keep them happy through a split-dollar life insurance arrangement.

An employer can purchase a cash value life insurance policy for the sales executive where the employer retains some interest for Key Man purposes, helps the Sales Executive to defer some of their income, and provides them an incentive to stay with the firm.  Plans can be tailored around reaching Key Performance Indicators with a goal to have the Sales Executive reach a milestone to own the policy outright.

Contributions made by the employer to the plan on behalf of the Sales Executive are typically tax deductible making this an attractive tool to use as part of an overall compensation package.  This approach aligns the interest of the employer and the sales executive, creates an environment for long-term growth, and paves a strong path towards financial success.

 

David Hillelsohn, President DHill Financial, LLC an independent insurance professional.  David can be reached at 571.215.0361 with questions.  This is not meant to be tax advice, please consult a tax professional.

Health Care Cost Concerns for Employers

Health Care Cost concern employersIt is no surprise that employee healthcare ranked among the top concerns for employers in the 2017 state of small business report which was recently released.

Where employers can decide how much of a raise they give their employees every year, the spiraling cost to provide quality healthcare to employees continues to put financial pressure and employers who are also trying to increase profit grow revenue, and manage cash flows to run the day-to-day operations of the business.

Where you would think that growing revenue increase in profit would be the primary concern for employers of all sizes, this employer size breakdown suggest otherwise:

Employer Concerns by Size
5-10 Employees: Employee Healthcare ranked 5th, Increasing Profit was #1
11-50 Employees: Employee Healthcare ranked 3rd, Hiring New Employees was #1
51-100 Employees: Employee Healthcare ranked #1, Hiring New Employees was a close 2nd

This trend continued for employers over 100 lives, and suggests the close connection between hiring new employees and providing them quality healthcare.  The foundation of our healthcare system relies on employers to be the distribution model to support the system, and yet it continues to be a major concern for employers instead of – at times – hiring good people and or running a profitable business.

Areas of Concern for Employers
Employer Mandates: initially deferred, for larger employers there is a concern over the mandate to provide healthcare to a certain percentage of employees.  A recent survey from AON reports that 48% of employers list employer mandates as their primary concern after the recent election.

Employee Mandates: individuals have faced penalties if they go without healthcare there by driving up participation and overall employer healthcare costs.

Auto-Enrollment: The new ACA guidelines allow unprecedented access to healthcare without being able to collect and screen major medical impairments which can increase healthcare costs and overall lost productivity.

Reporting Requirements: New reporting and compliance regulations create exposure for employers over 50 lives and require increased oversight and labor/management to file needed forms to satisfy the reporting guidelines.

Technology can play a major role in reducing the burden placed on employers in a number of ways; from enrollment to education to reporting, employers should look for ways to streamline the process and reduce management expenses where possible.

Here are a few strategies for employers to consider as they look to control their overall health care spending:

Plan Design: many employers are taking a look again at the overall design of their health care package. Weighed against usage, we do see employers going to higher deductible options to address more of a catastrophic healthcare need.

Covered Participants: while many employers will pay all or a good majority of the healthcare cost for the employee, some employers are cutting back on spousal and dependent coverage. Additionally, some employers will be more stringent on a part-time definition for employees looking for healthcare.

Local Networks: there is a reason that HMO plans increase in popularity, it is due to the lower cost and more restrictive access to in plan providers. Many insurance companies have now developed provider networks for a local area that provide access to coverage at a lower cost than a plan that has a national network.

Health Savings Accounts: going to a higher deductible plan and including a health savings account to handle day-to-day expenses continues to be an attractive way to not only reduce healthcare costs but keep the employee more involved in their overall benefit utilization.

Health and Wellness: creating incentives for people to live a healthy lifestyle continues to be the best way to reduce overall health care costs. Coupled with wanting to create an environment where you have happy employees, this is likely the best approach for small to midsize employers who are looking to control healthcare costs.

While the concern around healthcare costs continues to be an issue for small employers, this is a concern that should not go unaddressed.  Take a look at the benefits package to ensure that the benefits are creating the culture you want as you bring on new employees.  A winning culture is essential to allow great employees to help your business succeed and reach those desired financial goals.

 

DHill Financial, LLC is an independent insurance agency focused exclusively in protection solutions for businesses and the people they support.  The core mission is to provide current and relevant insurance counseling in an environment which fosters comfort and confidence for all parties.  Licensed for life insurance and health solutions around the country, the agencies success is built on listening to the needs of our clients, and then reviewing the available options in the market with unbiased analysis.  It is our independent thinking and our unwavering commitment to only offer insurance solutions when appropriate that our client’s sense immediately.  Trust, Knowledge, Caring… Come feel the difference.  www.dhillfinancial.com

Life Insurance Considerations for Lenders

Trends in the Insurance Industry: Considerations for Lenders

Life Insurance Consideration for Commercial Lenders

For someone entrenched in the business valuation experience, there is nothing more satisfying then someone who spends time prioritizing what is needed to finance a successful project. Taking time to properly assess the value of a project not only reduces the cost to the borrower, but it can positively impact some of the ancillary expenses related to the project.

One of those ancillary expenses we often see associated with larger transactions is the purchase of life insurance which can be used to protect the interests of the lender and all parties connected to the borrower and other key members of the transaction.

Life insurance as a requirement of a loan agreement, however, can be an impediment to closing more business, and thus commercial lenders should keep these important tips in mind when broaching the subject of life insurance with existing and potential clients.

Life Insurance Tips for Commercial Lenders

Read the complete article in New England Banking here .

DHill Financial, LLC is an independent insurance agency focused exclusively in protection solutions for businesses and the people they support.  The core mission is to provide current and relevant insurance counseling in an environment which fosters comfort and confidence for all parties.  Licensed for life insurance and health solutions around the country, the agencies success is built on listening to the needs of our clients, and then reviewing the available options in the market with unbiased analysis.  It is our independent thinking and our unwavering commitment to only offer insurance solutions when appropriate that our client’s sense immediately.  Trust, Knowledge, Caring… Come feel the difference.  www.dhillfinancial.com

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Business Success Partners of the Northern Virginia Business Alliance

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Members of the BSP team are vetted members in their respective fields, and selected to add strategic value to client relationships.  Now, as a decision maker, you have access to integrated professionals in complementary fields to develop and then implement marketing plans, assist with technology integration, payroll and compliance support, legal and insurance services and more.

All, from industry experts whom you can trust.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Reveals New Findings

Knowledge is key when it comes to being in control of your health. In this new book written by Jacquie Hart, you can get the knowledge you need to prevent breast cancer. Whether you are a young adult, mid-life, post-menopausal, post breast cancer surgery, or have a recent diagnosis, you can use this information against breast cancer. Inside you will find another option in addition to the standard treatment protocol and you will see scitentifically that we all have the ability to prevent breast cancer!
Jacquie shakes the bbreast-cancer-revealed-by-jacquie-hartreast cancer world with her 18 chapter discovery and call to action. She not only reveals the primary cause of breast cancer,  she unearths tons of research in order to back up and explain the cause. In doing so, she assigns a name to this cause so that people can easily spread this ground-breaking information. You get to be first to find out what this cause is called and start a movement to save lives!
Jacquie then gives you the best tool yet to avoid breast cancer in a simple, easy to understand risk chart. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive, organized chart of known breast cancer risk percentages and how they are associated with its cause. You can locate the ones that have affected you and see how high your risks might be right now!
After finding out your risks, you will most likely want to avoid them. That’s great, because you will be introduced to the most comprehensive, science-based, doctor recommended approach to preventing these risks. Jacquie outlines a proven method, called the S.L.E.E.P. Method, with proactive steps that follow only one premise – to remove from your body the one thing that causes 75% or more of breast cancer.
Finally, we can have an easy to understand, reliable approach to prevent breast cancer occurrence or re-occurrence. If you want to take action, but don’t want to weed through technical jargon or unproven methods, this book is for you! The cause defined, a never-before-seen risk chart and a proven, easy-to-remember method for prevention.

Long Term Care Insurance Basics

Long Term Care insurance planningWhat is Long Term Care Insurance?  –  Long Term Care insurance is offered by a handful of insurance companies to address the cost of providing custodial care services in the home or in some form of care facility.  Custodial care addresses a disruption in one’s ability to perform daily activities like bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, etc.  without the assistance from another person.  Long Term Care also includes supervision due to a cognitive impairment.  The most common type of cognitive impairment is Senile Dementia, where an individual needs someone to stay with them to make sure they are safe and secure.

Where health insurance and Medicare cover skilled care which treats conditions to help us get better; long term care insurance provides the coverage in the event conditions are not improving and there is a still a need for assistance.  The need for care may result from an accident or injury, but could also be needed due to a medical emergency, an extended illness, or due to general aging.

Most long term care insurance plans are issued to individuals versus group health plans.  While individuals could be disabled and need care at any age, it is more common that individuals turn to the policy for benefits during retirement.  LTC policies will typically cover services anywhere in the United States, and some provide benefits outside the country as well.  Originally, Long Term Care Insurance Plans covered only services provided in nursing homes.  Variations in the plans over the past decade have included covered care services in assisted living facilities and services provided in one’s home as well.

Different from Long Term Disability protection which replaces income if you are disabled and unable to work, Long Term Care insurance covers the additional cost associated with needing care.  While the cost of care varies across the country, in more metropolitan areas the cost for a one month stay in a nursing home can easily be over $8,000 per month.  Home care is often a more affordable option for individuals who only require a mild to moderate level of assistance.

With the cost of care so high, long term care insurance can play a vital role in preserving assets and the financial health and physical health of spouses and other family members.  Plans pay a selected amount towards the cost of care up to a specific policy limit elected by the individual.  Plans can also include annual increases to benefits to address inflation, however this does add to the cost of the coverage.

Want to learn about the types of plans available to pay for services, the major players in the marketplace, and the key questions to ask when determining if you need it?  Tune in to next month’s article for details.

David Hillelsohn, founder of DHill Financial, has been a Long Term Care Insurance specialist for 26 years.  David can be reached at (703) 435-6028 or david @dhillfinancial.com with questions about this content.

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