Category: Long Term Care Insurance

Genworth’s 9th Annual Cost of Care Survey Shows Long Term Care In-Home Services Costs Rise in Hawaii

With more options, Hawaii residents are urged to plan for long term care needs

According to Genworth’s (NYSE: GNW) 2012 Cost of Care Survey, the cost to receive care in the home through home health aide services in Hawaii has risen over the past five years.

“Overwhelmingly, Americans prefer to receive long term care in the home and the relatively muted rise in home care costs nationally over the past few years can be viewed as a positive for consumers in Hawaii,” said Steve Zabel, senior vice president of Long Term Care at Genworth. “Consumer demand for home care services has led to a proliferation of home care services providers and more choice for consumers. This competition has kept home care costs relatively stable, especially when compared to the cost of care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.”

Nationally, the median hourly cost for homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19, respectively. In Hawaii, by comparison, the median cost for homemaker services is $22 per hour and the median cost for home health aide services is $25 per hour. The median hourly cost for homemaker services in Hawaii has increased 2.4 percent annually over the past five years, while the hourly cost of home health aide services has increased 3.5 percent over the same period of time.

By comparison, the median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $39,600 nationally. The comparable cost in Hawaii is $45,000. The national yearly cost for assisted living has increased 5.7 percent a year over the past five years, while long term care costs in Hawaii have increased 13.4 percent a year during the same time period. Nationally, the median annual cost for a private nursing home room rose 4.3 percent annually over the past five years to $81,030, while costs in Hawaii increased 4.2 percent a year during the comparable time period to $125,925.

Then and Now: Increased Options Benefit Consumers

Consumers have more long term care options today than ever before as seen by the increasing number of home care agencies. According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, there were approximately 9,200 Medicare-certified home care agencies in the U.S. at the start of 2008. Today, there are slightly over 11,000, representing an increase of 20 percent. Conversely, during this same period of time, the number of Medicare-certified nursing homes has increased less than one half of 1.0 percent from just over 15,000 to 15,100. The number of nursing homes is increasing at a slower rate and no longer represents the only option.

While consumers’ options have increased dramatically, creating a tangible plan for long term care is a critical step many overlook. According to Genworth claims data, the youngest claimant ever was 27 years old. Although that is not the norm, it underscores the necessity for a care planning roadmap. Consumers can create a long term care plan and learn more about the cost of care in their local market and nationally by visiting www.Genworth.com/CostofCare. The site is rich with a range of educational and planning tools to help consumers compare costs across geographies, project future costs and share comparisons and calculations with family, friends or a financial professional.

“Understanding long term care costs in your local market and how these costs tend to change over time is vital to developing a plan to cover expected future costs,” Zabel said. “Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey is the most comprehensive of its kind and provides invaluable information on long term care costs that enable family members to conduct informed discussions with loved ones about future long term needs and preferences in order to be more informed consumers of long term care services.”

Now in its 9th year, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey provides Americans with both national and local long term care cost data, as well as information on cost inflation over time. The Wheeler Group LLC represents Genworth Financial in Hawaii. We also represent TransAmerica and Mutual of Omaha in the long term care arena here in Hawaii. Depending on your situation, we will provide you with the most cost-effective LTCi available because we will shop around for the best rates to save you money. For more information and to obtain a complimentary LTC analysis and quote, contact Garrett Wheeler @ (808)948-8483, or via email: gage@successhawaii.com

Economic Impact of Disability

The rate of disability among working women in the United States has grown almost twice as fast as the rate among working males during the past decade (over 60 percent and 32 percent, respectively), according to Social Security Administration data. Yet half of women (51 percent) are unprepared to cover their living expenses for three months or more should an accident or injury leave them unable to work, according to the 2008 Worker Disability Planning and Preparedness Study, conducted by the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA).

Two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck*. This makes the consequences of losing income serious for most workers and their families. The ability of women, in particular, to cope with the financial impact of disability may worsen as household credit card debt is at an all-time high—averaging close to $10,000—and personal savings rates are at an all-time low. To make matters worse, women tend to save less than men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“With disability on the rise for both men and women, it’s clear most Americans need to better prepare for an income-limiting disability. But this is especially appropriate for women who are experiencing even higher rates of disability while, in general, being less prepared than men,” says Barry Lundquist, president of the CDA, a nonprofit organization focused on helping the American workforce become aware of the growing incidence of disability.

Financial risks of disability can be severe and long lasting.
Disability is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures in America. During a disability, your ability to earn an income may stop, while increased medical bills and ongoing living expenses can quickly deplete savings and other resources, such as retirement and college savings.

“Workers, and in particular women, who haven’t discussed how they would financially manage their financial affairs if a disability arises should begin to realistically think through what would happen if they were unable to work and earn a living,” Lundquist explains. “Creating a disability financial plan should follow—one that helps estimate the impact that disability would have on personal expenses and where income would come from.”

Lundquist encourages all workers to understand their workplace sick pay and disability benefits. He explains that healthy lifestyle habits like seeing a doctor each year and quitting smoking can pay dividends, because leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce the likelihood of becoming disabled in the first place. “Disability planning and preparedness is critical, especially for working women,” he says.

For more information about the survey and for tools and tips on how to financially prepare for disability, visit the Council’s Web site www.disabilitycanhappen.org.

* Parade Magazine, 2008.

Listen Up Hawaii: Ignore LTC Planning at Your Peril

Check out this article that appeared in the NY Times:

Ignore Long-Term Care Planning at Your Peril

You may never need long term care, but if you do, you’ll know that you’re prepared for whatever life may bring.

Most of us realize the fact that it’s going to be more expensive for us to take care of ourselves down the road, and we need to budget accordingly. Prior to making any decisions, make sure you talk to your advisor or agent about how to handle any proposed increases or changes in policy structure.

Consider this: In a recent Financial Planning Association blog, Ira L. Barnett, LUTCVF, said, “There are two possible mistakes someone can make in deciding to obtain LTC insurance: 1. Buy the coverage and never have a claim (loss of premium paid, lost income potential, etc.). 2. Not buy the coverage and have a claim. Personally, mistake #1 is a lot more attractive!”

So when is the best time to buy long term care insurance?

Answer – Of course, most of us need to balance our investments and expenses carefully, and long term care insurance has to be factored in with many other responsibilities. But it is important to note that long term care insurance is generally less expensive for younger buyers than for older ones. In addition, it is smart to buy long term care insurance while you are relatively healthy. Unfortunately, once a person’s health declines, he or she may become ineligible for long term care insurance.

The simple answer is this: the right time to buy long term care insurance is when you can afford it, and before you need it. We can work with you to help create a policy that meets your needs and suits your budget. Call me for a FREE needs analysis and informational booklet, (808)216-4147.

The Things We Do for Love

We go to great lengths for our loved ones. We work hard to provide them with a life filled with happiness, comfort and opportunity. In fact, there’s almost nothing we wouldn’t do for our loved one. However, there’s an economic plague in this country of people being under- or un-insured. According to research by LIMRA International, a worldwide association of insurance and financial services companies, the majority of adult Americans do not own an individual life insurance (LI) policy.

Some advisors will sit down and talk your ear off about life insurance in terms of numbers and percentages. At that point, they’ll whip out fancy illustration charts to explain to you why it’s an important financial instrument to own. Numbers aside, I believe there is really only one simple reason to own life insurance and that’s, L-O-V-E. That’s right, it’s love. The bottom line: You buy life insurance to provide financial protection for those you love (and, as the case may be, the business you have worked hard to create). What can say “I love you” better than a promise to provide for the ones you love, while you’re here (living benefits of investment-grade LI), or even after you’re gone.

Maggie Leyes, with the nonprofit LIFE Foundation, asks the critical question: “How long would it be before life would become a financial struggle for your family if you weren’t in the picture anymore?” That’s where life insurance comes in—it helps you plan for the unexpected and ensure the financial well being of your family if you were to die. Ensuring that you have the proper amounts of life insurance in place is right thing to do, and it doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Start with this easy online Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, the perfect time to take stock of your life insurance needs. Don’t be another statistic of the un- or under-insured. Take the first step by checking out this video and/or the information about the different types of life insurance that are available to find out which may be right for you.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy a Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance Policy

Perhaps Dorothy, in “The Wizards of Oz”, said it best: There’s no place like home! That’s why many Hawaii residents who need LTC prefer to receive it in their own homes. The ability to live independently is critical to maintaining quality of life. Remember, long-term care is not just about nursing homes anymore. Ultimately, coverage gives you the freedom of choice.

Here are my top ten reasons to buy LTC insurance coverage:

1. You will have an experienced professional available to plan for your care at home, providing all types of services related to your particular illness, injury, or condition.

2. Your family can be part of the care plan, but will not have to be the planners.

3. You will have the money to pay for long term care (according to PBN, Hawaii ranked 7th most expensive in the nation for home care services, with a median annual rate of $51,480 in 2010) without having to deplete the family nest egg.

4. Your loved ones can carry on a more normal life rather than being subject to your everyday (“activities of daily living” like bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, etc.) needs.

5. Your family will be able to attend to your needs out of love rather than obligation.

6. Because you’ll have the funds, you will be able to choose your own facility or choose to stay at home longer rather than prematurely entering a nursing home.

7. You will be able to leave some of what you have to your family rather than using up a large portion of their assets to pay for needed care.

8. You will be able to stay with your children or other loved ones without depending on them for all your care.

9. You can feel good knowing that all of the money you worked so hard to attain won’t be used up in a few short years (PBN reported that Hawaii’s nursing home costs have a median annual rate of $114,975, compared to the national average of $75,190).

10. Finally, there will be less friction between family members; one member won’t be stuck with the responsibility of caregiving.

M. Garrett Wheeler is a long-term care specialist with Guardian in Honolulu, Hawaii. He’ll be glad to explore your options for coverage that suits you best, so that if you ever need it, you’ll have the freedom to choose the care setting that is most appropriate for your circumstances. He may be reached at gage@successhawaii.com or by phone at (808) 216-4147.

Before Retiring, Consider Ric Edelman’s Top 10 List

PBS_RYR_Ric_and_LynLast night on PBS Hawaii, I watched as Ric Edelman, a #1 New York Times best-selling author, shared key points on what we all need to know right now to, as he puts it, “RESCUE YOUR RETIREMENT”. Edelman points out that, “if you’re like millions of other Americans, you could be making costly mistakes with your investment and retirement accounts that interfere with your efforts to provide yourself and your family with financial security.” This television special, exclusive to PBS, highlighted some of the big mistakes investors make, and explores fascinating insight into the science of financial decision making.

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