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May 16, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 16, 2003
 

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PAGE 2S HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY IN YOUR HOME Experience in all areas Alzheimer's & Parkinson's companion/caregiver light housekeeping home cooked meals RELIABLE & AFFORDABLE 407-657-8275 Providing Quality Preventive, Esthetic and Restorative Management for the Oral Health of our Patient Family Dental Associates of Maitland, P.A. Bernard A. Kahn, D.D.S. GENERAL DENTISTRY 926 N. Maitland Avenue Maitland, FL 32751 (407] DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER By Chuck Kavitsky, President, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (ARA)--Long-term care is one of those things most people procrastinate about, but no one should. Only those who have had a need for long-term care, or know someone who has, truly un- derstand the risks they are taking by not being finan- cially prepared. A recent independent na- tional survey sponsored by AIlianz Life Insurance Com- pany of North America re- vealed that Middle Income Americans, the largest population segment, could be hardest hit if they don't plan for the financial im- pact of long-term care for themselves or family mem- bers. The survey, "Allianz Life Report on American Priori- ties: Long Term Care Snare," found that nearly three- fourths (71 percent) of re- spondents are very or some- what concerned about need- ing long-term care in the future. However, less than one-fourth of the respon- dents (21 percent) have pur- chased long-term care in- surance. This, despite the fact that 68 percent think long-term care insurance is very or somewhat important to the financial security of their family. It's clear that although "THE MAYFLOWER STAFF WAS THERE WHEN WE NEEDED THEM. WE'RE SO LUCKY WE MOVED HERE[" Ruth Ester Wittenstein wasn't sure she wanted to move to a retirement community but when her husband Joe was stricken with a heart attack, she was certainly glad she did. "The Mayflower staff acted quickly and knew exactly what to do. They took such good care of him. I'll be forever grateful!" Now that Joe is recovering, Mrs. Wittenstein says, "I don't want to think what could have happened if we had been living alone We've received so much love and support. Weren't we lucky that we moved here!" If you or someone you love are looking for reurement living that offers complete peace of mind, maybe it's time you looked at The Mayflower. Here, all you have to do is enjoy life. We take care of everything else. For more information, call our Marketing Department today: " (407) 672-1620 THE MAYFLOWER @ www.themayflower.com ":::~.~:'~:,~ 1620 Mayflower Court Winter Park, FL 32792 {407) 672-1620 people fear the possibility of needing this type of care and the costs associated with it, they are overwhelmed and would prefer to look the other way and ignore the fi- nancial strains they or their family could face if care is needed. Those relying on relatives for their care, must take into consideration the added emotional stress and disruption of employment and family life. When survey respondents were asked what they would do to prepare for the possi- bility that they (or their spouse) would need long- term care, common re- sponses included "nothing," "hope and pray," "wait for the government to do some- thing," "start saving money," and "research in- formation on long-term care needs." This signals a potentially ominous crisis, given that one out of five Americans over the age of 50 may need some level of care in the next 12 months, according to Americans for Long-Term Care Security (1) The type and length of care needed varies and care options carry different price tags, but, should nursing home care be required, the estimated annual cost of .nursing home care is $55,000, according to the AARP. (2) Put the two together, and it could spell serious hardships for many families. Middle Income at Risk Despite their failure to prepare for the possibility of needing long-term care, most survey respondents un- derstand that they cannot count on government assis- tance to pay for it. Sixty per- cent realize that Medicare is not likely to cover the total costs of their care, even if they can't afford to insure themselves. One-fourth be- lieves Medicare will pay if they can't. According to the National Academy of Elder Law At- torneys, more than half of the entire population will need long-term care at some point in their life, (for some only a short period of time). (3) Government programs provide financial assistance, primarily to people with few assets and income, for long- term care. This means the vast ma- jority of the population - the Middle Income - will be re- sponsible for paying for long-term care themselves. They are too well off to qualify for Medicaid assis- tance, yet paying for it out- of-pocket could mean a se- vere setback to their fami- lies. What options do middle income Americans have to cover the risks of living longer? They can rely on their family to care for them, they can risk deplet- ing their assets to pay for care, or they can protect themselves with long-term care insurance However, many believe traditional long-term care insurance is too complicated and/or ex- pensive Respondents gave the following reasons when asked why they didn't buy the coverage: Too expensive - 36 per- cent Don't know enough about it - 21 percent Didn't know why/re- fused to answer - 18 percent Don't need long term care insurance/waste of money - 13 percent Have enough in savings to cover the costs - 12 per- cent Clearly, middle income Americans have the most to lose. It won't take long for many people to see their re- tirement nest eggs melt away when they're paying $50,000 a year, out-of- pocket, for nursing home care, or more than $20,000 annually for Assisted Living Facility expenses. (4) People should ask themselves, would they rather pay several thousand dollars a month for long- term care services, or a frac- tion of that to protect their assets with long-term care insurance? Insurance lndustryMust Step Up To The Plate The survey also found that nearly 60 percent want a long-term care insurance policy with basic benefits (nursing home, in-home care and assisted living fa- cility) rather than one with optional benefits at an addi- tional cost. It's time for the insurance industry to answer con- sumer needs and demands. The industry needs to help people understand the eco- nomic realities of long-term care - what it really costs and what is at stake for their families. It's time to offer a simpler, less expensive so- lution to cover long-term care risks - solutions that Middle America can under- stand and afford. The issue is getting atten- tion at a national level, and Congress is considering pro- posals to allow tax deduc- tions and/or credits for long- term care expenses and in- surance premiums. More than 80 percent of survey respondents would support such tax incentives to buy long-term care coverage. Family Ties Approximately three- fourths (74 percent) of sur- vey respondents said they have had a family member who required someone to care for them. Respondents were split on the question of whether fam- ily members should provide long-term care, with ,1 ~.11 40 percent expectmg farnffl thr, members to care for theal,[ Pin, and nearly 60 percent ndl[ i- Po=P + =.'Y m+'"""+[ In families where a me~'! ~L" + - ,-t~] ber needed care, 60 percett I th were cared for by other fare I -''. respondents were mu | more likely to personallYi ~1 provide care for other ! m, el' "- u fly members. Women w the, also 13 percent more likelYl [i~/ than men to express con'l li[" tKe cern over needing long, term care. I In other demographiCS[ !ion differences, Americans ~'t '~. the 50-59 year-old categOrY. I ~ many of the younger resp . 2l dents may view the needl .lI savi, long-term care insurance | too far in the future, *el those who are older see Ita' i too late ! se l', For more inforrnatt ill aboutAllianz Life Insura~ ! ,~. Company, cal1800-950"73,1~ or visit www.allianzlife.c . [ Courtesy of ARA Cont # I EDITOR'S NOTE: I Sources:,! k { 1. Americans for I Term Care Security, We ! ' www.ltcweb.org .^ li in. 2. AARP, "Beyond ! Report to the NatiOn~ tl~' Trends in Health Securim [ May, 2002 "'l' I ~'t+,~ !i)l + Allianz Life ReP i American Priorities" The "Allianz Life on American PriOr Long Term Care vey was conducted 2002 by Volkart May ciates. The survey fielded among 800 cans ages 40 to piing error is +/-3.5 age points at the 95 confidence level. www.allianzlife.com/P~ Charles is president Insurance Co. of than 25years in executive sales positions with life insurance cluding MET Life, and Allianz Life.