Weekend Reading: Caught Between a Long-Term Care Policy and A Hard Place

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

Navigating your way through the long-term care marketplace can be confusing. How do you know if the policy you purchased years ago is still the best option for you?


A long-term care case study: This article highlights an instance many clients face. A soon-to-be retiree receives a letter stating her decades-ago long-term care policy has a premium set to skyrocket upon renewal. Not only that, but the agent she originally purchased the policy from is long gone, and the new agent wants to discuss new options. The author here (her advisor) suggests hearing the new agent out, but making her next move with careful consideration.

Weighing the wisest option: When it comes to the client’s debacle in this case study, it’s important to note the variables of her situation. At present, she is approaching age 70, financially secure, and can self-fund her care if necessary. Her policy has an annual premium of $6,000, but is set to skyrocket to $1,000 a month. Up to this point, she hasn’t needed to leverage care, so is it truly worth the price?

One option is to consider paying the new premium, and that means first running some numbers. It’s important to project potential value of the policy over the next few decades, compare return over cost and then identify at what point the policy would be beneficial (in this case, that would be if care is needed for three years).

The other options presented to the client include restructuring the policy with the current carrier (not being a sound carrier, this option quickly leaves the table) – Or, acquiring a new policy from a more stable carrier, in the form of a hybrid plan. In the end, between crunching numbers of the old policy versus a new policy and adding in tax implications, the advisor determines the wisest course of action is for the client to part ways with the carrier, as the price simply doesn’t make up for the potential outcome.

My thoughts: It would be easy to get frustrated and say, “To heck with it”, when faced with a decision such as this, but it’s crucial to consider all possible options and ensure you’re making an educated decision without regret.