Panelists participating today on a Lincoln Financial Group-sponsored webcast focusing on long-term care issues urged consumers to adopt a "retirement mindset" and be certain to understand the funding options available well before a need arises.
Lincoln Financial Distributors, the wholesale distribution subsidiary of Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC), sponsored the media webcast, "Understanding Long-Term Care Risks and the Funding Options Available," to discuss ideas consumers should consider to financially prepare themselves and loved ones should the need for long term care develop during retirement years.
Panelists on the webcast were Andrew Bucklee, head of Lincoln MoneyGuard® Solutions Distribution; Steve Moses, president of The Center for Long-Term Care Reform; Bill Moss, director of Home and Community Services for Washington State; and Suzanne Schmitt, senior consultant for Lincoln Insights.
"Long-term care comes in many different forms, including nursing homes, in-home care, and hospital care," said Bucklee. "If people don’t plan for this possibility before experiencing a major illness the financial consequences can be severe not just for the individual, but for an entire family."
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70 percent of people over 65 will need long-term care services at some point. And, said Moses, "There is a 20 percent chance people over age 65 will need long-term care for five years or more. You can’t buy fire insurance when your house is in flames. Likewise, you can’t buy long-term care insurance when you already have Alzheimer’s Disease." Savvy consumers need to look at long-term care through the windshield, not through the rear view mirror to understand the future risks and plan accordingly," he said.
"In brief, starting to plan financially for long-term care, is more about mindset than a specific age," Bucklee said. "But, once a person starts hitting retirement age the risk of long-term care becomes much more relevant. Unfortunately, at this point it often is too late."
Moss said, Washington State has seen steady caseload growth over the past decade and "we expect to see that caseload growth increase dramatically as the boomer population begins to reach a point where they will be in need of long-term care services."
In addition, "we are expecting significant growth in the 65 plus population over the next decade and what can only be categorized as alarming growth in the following decade. Over the next two decades our caseloads could more than double. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any revenue forecast that is predicting anywhere near that kind of growth. Consequently, Washington and other States will need to modify their programs in a way that maximizes the use of informal support from the communities, family and friends, and we will also be developing programs that assist individuals in taking charge of their future and responsibility for funding their long-term care needs."
"Lincoln is committed to helping financial planners, attorneys and other intermediaries become comfortable in bringing up the long-term care conversation with their clients," said Schmitt.
"Through extensive research conducted by Lincoln Financial Group, our findings have concluded that to many consumers buying a long-term care plan gave them a sense of helping to extend their ability to remain independent, she said. "Many felt having the conversation about long term care and putting a plan in place helped them to ensure greater control over when, where and how they wanted to receive care, should they need it.
Schmitt said. "Lincoln believes it is critical that everyone involved in long-term planning have a deeper understanding of what drives consumers to take that next step and also what gets in their way, so they can better help them decide on the best funding options to meet their specific needs."
"The good news is that when you do pay privately you command red carpet access to top quality care in your own home or the very best care facilities," said Moses. "That cannot be assured if you rely on Medicaid, which often pays nursing homes and other long-term care providers less than the cost of providing the care," he said.
"It is critical to ensure Americans are properly educated and that they understand the risks they face, the sense of urgency needed to properly prepare for possible long-term care issues in the future, and the funding options available for mitigating those risks," said Bucklee.
Bucklee said, "Once people are in the right frame of mind consumers should discuss long-term care issues with their loved ones and with their financial advisors."
A replay of the webcast will be available for 10 days after the event.
About The Center for Long-Term Care Reform
The Center for LTC Reform is a private institute dedicated to ensuring quality long-term care for all Americans by promoting public policy that targets scarce public resources to the neediest, while encouraging people who are young, healthy and affluent enough, to take responsibility for themselves. For more information, please visit http://www.centerltc.com
About The Aging and Disability Services Administration
Within the State of Washington, the Aging and Disability Services Administration assists children and adults with developmental delays or disabilities, cognitive impairment, chronic illness and related functional disabilities to gain access to needed services and supports.
The supports and services we deliver are based on each individual’s unique strengths and needs, the individual’s choices, goals, and preferences of setting for the lifestyle they desire, to maintain involvement and importance within their community. We are among the nation’s leaders in rebalancing institutional and community-based long-term care services made possible by offering a robust array of service delivery options.
For more information, see our website at: http://www.adsa.dshs.wa.gov/
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. With headquarters in the Philadelphia region, the companies of Lincoln Financial Group had assets under management of $157 billion as of December 31, 2010. Through its affiliated companies, Lincoln Financial Group offers: annuities; life, group life and disability insurance; 401(k) and 403(b) plans; savings plans; and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services. For more information, including a copy of our most recent SEC reports containing our balance sheets, please visit www.LincolnFinancial.com.