The founder and head of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance is redoubling efforts to help consumers avoid some costly mistakes.
Among them: assuming their group coverage is a better deal than an individual plan (it often is not, especially for married couples), working with an agent who can only show one carrier (potentially ignoring companies that can offer better coverage for less money) and not taking advantage of their good health (carriers with stricter underwriting tend to have better value).
People on Medicare with supplementary insurance, known as Medigap, need to know that many in Congress are proposing that changes be made to their plans as part of a deficit reduction package.
The premise of the proposed changes is that those with Medigap coverage are more likely to use their Medicare benefits. Therefore, higher deductibles and co-pays will discourage unnecessary medical care.
This is an argument that is also sometimes made regarding standard health insurance. “If more people had high deductible health plans they would use less coverage”. This is true. However, it does absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem in Medicare, which is the high cost of health care. Putting seniors into situations where they will be less vigilant in pursuing care will only lead to more severe issues that cost more money. “A stitch in time saves nine.”
People have purchased Medigap coverage to be responsible – they wanted to have predictable health care costs at an age when incomes are largely fixed. In my opinion, that sort of prudence should be celebrated in America – not punished.
To learn more, go to www.protectmedigap.org
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with participants at the “Sandwiched” support group, facilitated by Amy Boulware. Mrs. Boulware is the Director of Social Services for the Chattanooga Jewish Community Federation of Greater Chattanooga.
“Sandwiched” refers to those who are simultaneously caring for their elderly parents while they are still contributing to or actively raising children. These special people have more on their plate than anyone should have to handle at one time and they are doing it with courage and grace.
I was pleased to share information about planning regarding their own future care. The participants were eager to ask questions and seemed excited at the possibility of their children being protected from the experience they were currently going through.
Thanks, Amy, for your great work in the community and I hope to be made available in the future!
As we were setting up our information booth for the opening ceremonies, I paused as a group of senior athletes gathered around, pushing the wheelchair of a fellow athlete proudly holding the olympic torch. It was a heartening reminder of the olympic spirit that can live in us all, young and old alike.
Gail and I were pleased to share information on long term care planning with these inspiring seniors. They showed appreciation for the possibility of pursuing their athletic potential with the confidence – knowing they will be able to maintain their lifestyle and independence, regardless of their future health.
Hats off to you!
-Jason L. Hillner, CLTC
Earlier this month, a group of long term care insurance specialists gathered in Chattanooga for a weekend of professional development. Jason Hillner, CLTC was pleased to be asked to share his knowledge of the CLASS (Community Living Assistance and Supportive Services) provision of the Health Care Bill of 2010.
CLASS will provide for a voluntary federal long term care insurance program. This will allow for coverage for people below the federal poverty level to get coverage for $5/month and for those with very significant health issues to be covered, as well. While the premium for non-indigent workers are expected to be higher than private LTC insurance, CLASS does provide an interesting opportunity for these special groups.
Yesterday I visited Southern Heritage, an assisted living community in East Ridge, Tennessee, tucked away on a quiet, residential cul-de-sac.
The director, Becky Sullivan, was gracious to take me on a tour of their common areas and well-appointed apartment homes. She also told me about her twelve years with Southern Heritage, virtually unheard of among local senior care directors. I was struck by the home-like atmosphere of the community, its small size and the sociableness of its residents. I also took note of its novel pricing schedule, providing a listing of services at a single, bundled flat rate.
For more information, contact Becky at (423) 490-0119.
Wishing all of our Jewish friends a sweet and happy new year. May 5770 bring peace and prosperity to your family. A Special “shout out” goes to my fellow choir members, Mizpah Academy students, and 5th grade students at the Chattanooga Jewish Congregational Religious school. Shana Tova!
– Jason L. Hillner, CLTC