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by Phyllis Shelton

SHOULD YOU SELL LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE?

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Only if your lifestyle and the lifestyle of anyone you know is important to you.

Most articles about long-term care talk about how much money people lose when they have to pay for the care, so that gives you financial reasons to sell long-term care insurance. More recently, articles (including my own) are talking to you about the liability issue for yourself as a financial professional, so you have that reason to sell it - an extremely good reason, certainly. More and more agents are getting signed statements when a client declines to purchase a long-term care policy.  I recently spoke with an agent in Massachusetts who was smart enough to get a client with an estate of a little over a million to sign such a form when the client declined to purchase LTC insurance. He even tried to get the children to help with the sale, and they declined, saying they didn’t get involved in their parent’s business. After both spouses needed the care and spent half a million, the children decided to charge the agent with not implementing the appropriate financial protection, but with this form, they have no case!

This article, however, talks about the bigger price people pay as either a caregiver or a care recipient. This article is about . . . LIFESTYLE INSURANCE.

Every day, more people fall into the abyss of unplanned for long-term care and their lifestyle is never the same. They never get the promotion they were working for. They never get to build the business of their dreams.  They never get to travel. They never get to buy or build their dream house.  They sometimes don’t get to send their children to college. They lose precious relationships with siblings over who will provide the care. Because of every minute being eclipsed by long-term care, they never marry, or they never have children. If they marry, they sometimes get divorced. And finally, they get sick and need long-term care themselves.

All because they didn’t plan ahead for long-term care.

Few people realize that private health insurance doesn't cover longterm, chronic care for younger people and Medicare doesn't cover it for older people. Medicaid pays only if you spend most of your assets.  At an average of $50,000 - $100,000 per year (depending on where you live) for daily home health care or nursing home care, most families don't know where to turn for that kind of money, so they try to provide the care themselves as long as they possibly can . . . with disastrous results in their family life.

The American female today is projected to spend more years taking care of aging family members than her own children,* and by 2005, 37% of U.S. workers will be more concerned with caring for a parent than children.**

I am a famous person, but I can still go out in public. Usually. Unless I run into an insurance agent in an airport, because you will only know my name if you are part of the insurance industry. My name is solidly associated with long-term care insurance as I’ve trained more than 30,000 financial professionals how to sell it. I don’t really care about that.  I care that I’ve helped countless numbers of Americans preserve their lifestyle because of the long-term care insurance policy sold to them by the insurance professionals I’ve trained.

I guess you could say that I helped pioneer long-term care insurance in this country and only started training others to do it when I understood how many Americans need it and knew I could never get this huge job done by myself. I head the only company in America that updates this information thoroughly every single year. The update takes five months by the time we reprint materials and reshoot videos, etc. The rest of the year I travel almost every week speaking, training, encouraging financial professionals to tell their clients how to protect their family and preserve their lifestyle. I travel so much I reach for my seatbelt every time I sit down!

I write articles every month.  I read every study, every report, every scrap of information I can find on this subject.  I publish a policy comparison twice of year of almost 200 policies.  If you want to know about long-term care insurance, I’m the person to ask - not just because I know the insurance policies inside and out, but mainly because I know what this insurance can do to preserve the lifestyles of American families.

My mother died at age 54 after two years of cancer.  Could her death have any connection to ten years of caring for my grandfather, who was blind, diabetic and had to have a shot every day and a special diet? Could it have any connection to caring for him while she worked nights and weekends so my father could be with him while she was at work?

We’ll never know for sure, but I know that your family and the families that you serve can have help, and that help is long-term care insurance.  It’s not for everybody, but you owe it to your peace of mind of having done the best for yourself, your family and your clients by providing accurate, current information to help everyone you know make an informed decision about whether or not LTC insurance should be part of his or her life.

And speaking of your own family . . . you DO have long-term care insurance on yourself and your spouse, do you not?  If you are insurable and you just shook your head “no”, let me ask you how in the world can you ever expect to sell this stuff retail when you won’t buy it on your own self wholesale?

But that’s not the real reason you are going to have a policy on yourself and your spouse in the next 24 hours after reading this article . . . is it?  The real reason you are going to have a policy on yourself and your spouse in the next 24 hours after reading this article is because . . . YOU LOVE YOUR FAMILY. Long-term care insurance is the way we take care of our family in the 21st century, and that’s the main reason you do it.

What about your parents and in-laws? Do you have policies on them?  If you have insurable parents and/or in-laws, and you just answered “no”, stop a minute and think about changing your father-in-law’s diaper - not my idea of a good time!  I did a seminar in Ohio about three years ago and a 46-year-old agent came up to me when it was over and said, “Phyllis, you know what you said about changing your father-in-law’s diaper?” I nodded “yes”, and he continued with emphasis on every word, “That’s-how-I-start-my-day”, and you should have seen the look on his face.

It’s real, folks!  It can happen to any of us in the next 24 hours!  If there is anybody you even think you may have to be responsible for, run, don’t walk, to get long-term care insurance policies on these people, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO PAY THE PREMIUM. You get it wholesale, remember? And after all, what are you insuring?  That’s right - your lifestyle!

Hundreds of articles tell you how to help people get the life of their dreams. This one tells you how to help them keep it - and that’s to sell them a long-term care insurance policy as fast as they can buy it. Tomorrow may be too late.

Here’s to a healthy, happy lifestyle - and keeping it.

Sources:
* Dychtwald, Ken Phd, AgePower, Penguin Putnam, Inc. Publishers, 1999, p. 146
** Work-Family Roundtable - Juggling the Demands of Dependent Care, The Conference Board, Winter 1997, p.3

2000 Shelton Marketing Services, Inc.

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