Life insurance can be the foundation of your financial security and can provide comfort and stability for your family. The purpose of life insurance is to help provide your loved ones with financial protection after you die, in exchange for the premiums you pay to your insurer during your lifetime. Some life insurance policies can provide you with financial protection for the short term, while others accumulate cash value, offering a living benefit that can be used for supplemental retirement income, funding for a child's education, or cash for emergencies 1.
Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time at a generally lower cost than permanent insurance. Many term life insurance products allow you to convert to a permanent policy, such as whole life insurance. The cost of insuring oneself increases over time, so it's important to understand your short- and long-term needs for financial security when you select a policy.
Permanent life insurance provides you with financial protection for your entire life, as long as the policy remains in force. Because of the flexibility permanent life insurance offers, there are several types of policies you can purchase.
1 Distributions under the policy (including cash dividends and partial/full surrenders) are not subject to taxation up to the amount paid into the policy (the cost basis). If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract, policy loans and/or distributions are taxable to the extent of gain and are subject to a 10% tax penalty. Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy's cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.
For most of us, it is unpleasant to envision a time when performing routine tasks may become difficult as the result of injury, illness or aging. If the time comes when you need substantial assistance performing daily tasks, it is unlikely you will want cost to be the primary decision-making factor for your long term care. Long term care (LTC) services can be expensive and costs generally continue to rise. Planning early can help ensure that you have more control in receiving the type of care you want — in the setting you choose, should the need arise.
Long term care includes a variety of services and supports to help meet personal care needs over an extended period of time. The services include help performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as: bathing, continence, using the toilet, transferring to/from a bed or chair, dressing and eating. Long term care services are generally not covered under personal health insurance or Medicare because they are not intended to cure, improve or treat a specific medical condition. Medicaid may help individuals with income and assets below state requirements.1
Whether long term care services occur in a nursing home, assisted living facility or your own home, the costs can be a huge expense. The average stay in a nursing home is 835 days (2.3 years) and $183,700.2 The national median hourly rate for a home health aide is $20 and that can add up quickly.3
As you can see, there are many alternatives to consider when preparing for the possibility that you may need long term care. Generally, beginning early has advantages. First, at younger ages, you are more likely to be healthy and qualify for various types of insurance. Second, starting early means you may be able to meet your goal with lower installment savings amounts or annual premiums.
You don't have to prepare for long term care expenses alone. Our Financial Services Representatives can review a variety of solutions that may help you meet your goals.
1 For more information regarding benefits provided by Medicare or Medicaid (Medi-CAL in California) visit www.cms.hhs.gov. Medicaid guidelines vary by state. Contact your local Medicaid office for details.
2 National Nursing Home Survey 2014, National Center for Health Statistics.
3 Cost of Care Survey, Genworth, June 2015.
In some cases, family members and friends may be able to help with some of the care you need — preparing meals, providing transportation; helping with housework, bills or medication for example. Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also be stressful. It’s important to recognize when family caregivers need a break and/or can no longer provide the care you require.
When professional long term care is necessary, one option is paying with your own resources such as savings, investments, income (pension, Social Security, annuities) or even your home or home equity. Consider how long these sources might last and what other goals may be unfulfilled if these funds were used for care.
Another option is insurance designed for long term care expenses, or with the option to use the policy’s primary benefits for long term care if needed. For example, your existing life insurance or annuity may contain provisions to utilize benefits early in the event you need long term care. It is important to have an insurance professional review your existing policies and carefully explain the differences in the types of coverage available today.
Finally, you may be able to qualify for your state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid only pays after you meet eligibility requirements, including specific restrictions on income and assets.1
A sudden interruption of income — due to an extended period of sickness or injury — can have serious financial consequences for many of today's employees. If you are lucky, you may receive group long term disability benefits through your employer. However, you will need to make sure the benefits available though your group long term disability coverage are adequate for your needs. Group long term disability benefits are taxable if your employer pays the premiums, may be capped at a relatively low amount, and may not cover variable income such as bonuses or commissions. As such, these benefits may not be enough to maintain your lifestyle or pay all your bills if you become too sick or injured to work.
An individual disability income insurance policy can help supplement your group long term disability benefits and protect a larger portion of your income. This, in turn, provides a fundamental layer of security for your financial future. An individual disability income insurance policy you purchase on your own is fully portable, meaning you won't have to worry about losing coverage if you change jobs, and the benefits paid are tax free if you are the premium payor1. In addition, an individual disability income insurance policy is non-cancelable by the carrier (as long as the premiums are paid), and with a guaranteed renewable policy, your premiums will never change for the life of the policy.
1 The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. We are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Disability income insurance policies have exclusions and limitations.
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