Long-term care is expensive and only getting more so. That is why everyone needs to consider buying long-term care insurance,...Read more
Choosing the Right Long-Term Care Insurance
- January 14th, 2007
Benjamin Lipson, J.K. Lasser's Choosing the Right Long-Term Care Insurance: Difficult Decisions Made Easy. (John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 2002; 270 pages).
Price: $24.25 from Amazon.com -- click on book to order.
When considering buying a product as expensive and complicated as long-term care insurance, it's helpful to have a good guide. Consumer advocate and author Ben Lipson is such a guide.
After 50 years of involvement in the insurance industry, Lipson knows the industry inside out and has learned to be skeptical about its claims and some of its products. In his engagingly informal style, Lipson tells what he knows about long-term care insurancewhen such coverage is necessary and how to separate fact from fiction so you wind up with a good product that will buy you true protection and peace of mind.
It is not that Lipson is against long-term care insurance, but despite the doomsday scenarios of some less reputable sales agents, he estimates that 40 percent of us will end up not needing such coverage. For example, a study is often cited showing that those over age 65 have a nearly 50-50 chance of needing long-term care at some point. What isn't mentioned is that the vast majority of those people will be in a nursing home so briefly that they wouldn't even qualify for coverage under a long-term care policy.
Still, it is impossible to predict whether you or a loved one will be among that 40 percent. If you can afford the premiums, long-term care insurance can be a crucial component of long-term care planning. But evaluating a long-term care insurance policy, as Lipson makes clear, often requires X-ray vision.
That's why the bulk of this book is concerned with arming consumers with the kind of inside information many insurance companies would prefer buyers didn't have: how to talk to an agent, how to evaluate the stability of the 118 companies currently selling long-term care insurance, and what to look for in a policy. (Lipson notes, for example, that many long-term care policies now include provisions for paying unskilled family caregivers.) There are also excellent chapters on what to expect from the medical exam and how to possibly influence the outcome.
After reading Choosing the Right Long-Term Care Insurance, you should have an excellent understanding of your needs and options and be more than ready the next time the phone rings with a call from a long-term care insurance salesperson.
For more on long-term care insurance, click here.
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