March Madness 2It’s that time of year; which teams will make it to the Big Dance? Being part of a huge basketball family,* I found myself comparing this annual sports competition madness to the field of Long-Term Care Planning.

If you’re not a basketball fan and familiar with March Madness, it’s an elimination tournament played each spring, competing for the National Championship. Over the years, it has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the US.

The public participates in betting pools, filling out a form called a “bracket” that lists the teams.  Watching my husband pore over his copy of this bracket all month as he tracks his projections for both the men’s and women’s teams has me contemplating a “bracket” of a different kind:  a “bracket” of the Long-Term Care Planning options consumers may choose from! I’m thinking it might be as impressive (and confusing) as the NCAA March Madness Bracket.  What do you think?

Here’s my “mental map” of an LTC Plan Bracket:

Choices of Options to Transfer the Risk are Unlimited

 Many of you have heard my soapbox slogan, “There is no right or wrong plan, it depends on the right one for you.”

  • Traditional (Stand Alone) Long Term Care Insurance (LTCi) Plans with ongoing payment or limited pay (including single pay) options.
  • Multi-life (Stand Alone) traditional LTCi that could include discounts, unisex rates and limited pay options.
  • Linked Benefit (also known as Hybrid or Asset Based) LTCi plans. These plans offer potential options such as but not limited to single pay, limited pay, using qualified money, indemnity, and second to die joint coverage.
  • Life with LTC Riders
  • Life with Chronic Illness Riders
  • Annuities with Living Benefit Riders

Why Would You Consider One Over the Other?

  • Depending on the desired benefit pool
  • If cost is an issue
  • If you are seeking “temporary” coverage until able to create your long-term Long-Term Care Plan.
  • If there are underwriting concerns
  • If you are concerned with future rate increases
  • If you prefer your premium payment end at some point rather than ongoing until claim
  • If you are concerned with the “Use it or Lose it” approach
  • If you like the option for premiums to be tax deductible for your business

I could go on and on with these considerations and options. The point I’d like to make here is the importance of knowing that you know the plan you recommend is the right one for your client’s situation. Working with a Long-Term Care Specialist that can assess your client’s situation and recommend the best strategy (or options) will not only give you peace of mind but will provide peace of mind for your clients as well.

  * When I say “a huge basketball family,” here’s what I mean: my husband has been coaching for 43 years and won his 750th career win and the Regional Championship this season. (He coaches high school (semi-retired) now but coached college for 27 years). My youngest daughter coaches at the college level too; her team won the Conference Championship tournament this year and advanced to the NCAA tournament. Four of my 6 grandchildren play basketball, from middle school down to the Parks & Rec teams. Bottom line: I’ve followed and supported six teams this season. Needless to say, there is confusing madness in our world before March!