Step 1: The Client Concerns and Preferences Discussion
Each person seeking information on long term care planning comes with their own questions and concerns. The goal is to meet their needs and respond to their concerns. In this part of the planning conversation spend time talking about the types of care that are available. Many of our prospects do not realize that most long term care is provided in the individual’s own home. Ask if they’ve had an experience with a loved one needing care. If they themselves were to need care, what would they want the experience to be like? Geographically where do they think they would likely be? Where would they prefer to receive care—at home or in a facility? How do they feel about having their family members involved? What are their thoughts and concerns about the impact of care giving on their loved ones?
Step 2: The Resource Inventory
Each prospect also has different resources available. Discuss the resources that they have available, how they are currently allocated or invested and what they would be willing and able to contribute towards their care without impacting the lifestyle of others who may be dependent upon those resources. Also discuss the availability of family or friends who may be involved in providing or helping to finance care. Discuss how available they believe those people may be in the future.
Step 3: The Funding Decision
If needed, how does your prospect plan to fund care? If needed, review what health insurance and Medicare will cover. If needed, discuss the criteria to qualify for Medicaid. Discuss the option of self-funding (including potential penalties and tax or estate planning issues that may arise) and review current local costs. This provides a lead in to the discussion of partially self-funding and partially insuring to shift a portion of the risk. You may also review options such as life insurance or annuity policies that can be used to pay for care.
Step 4: The Personal Planner
In this final step, work together with your client to develop a reasonable plan in the event that they were to need care. Take into account the expressed concerns, care preferences and the resources that they have available. Discuss the options available to protect their family and their finances if care is needed. If long term care insurance is indicated, determine which insurance company’s health requirements, care options, and costs best fit the prospect’s needs and desires.