November is Long-term Care Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to talk to clients about the growing need for long-term care insurance. However, many agents are unaware of the requirements involved in selling this product. Before November rolls around, make sure you’re ready to sell long-term care insurance.
The Senior Population Is Growing
The U.S. population is graying. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were nearly 56 million people aged 65 or older in the U.S. in 2021. That’s 16.8% of the total population, or about one in six people. This number keeps growing. The U.S. Census Bureau says that approximately 10,000 people turn 65 every single day. There are 73 million Baby Boomers, and by 2030, all of them will be 65 or older.
The aging population has significant ramifications for society. According to research available from the National Library of Medicine, the increased need of age-related procedures and treatments is pushing up the cost of health care services in general and long-term care in particular.
Most Seniors Will Need Long-Term Care
According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), long-term care refers to a range of services and supports that people may require to meet their personal care needs. This can include things like help getting dressed, making meals, or traveling to appointments. Approximately 60% of people will need long-term care at some point in their lives.
Most People Don’t Know How They’ll Pay for Care
Long-term care is much more expensive than many people realize.
- Some people rely on unpaid caregivers, such as relatives who help them. However, even though these caregivers are unpaid, this type of care is not exactly free. Caregiving is time-consuming and exhausting, and caregivers may experience burnout. The Family Caregiver Alliance says that 70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties.
- Professional services can be costly. A home health aide costs an average of $20.50 per hour, according to the ACL, and an adult day health care center costs about $68 per day.
- Many seniors eventually have to move into an assisted living facility of nursing home. The ACL says a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility costs $3,628 per month on average, while a semiprivate from in a nursing home can cost $6,844 per month on average.
Unfortunately, many seniors are unprepared for these costs. This is partially due to a common misconception that Medicare will pay for long-term care. Medicare only pays for medically necessary care, and most long-term care is not medical in nature. Although Medicare will pay for limited skilled nursing care after a qualifying inpatient hospital stay, most long-term care needs are not covered.
Medicaid can pay for long-term care, but to qualify, individuals need to meet state limits for assets and income. Additionally, some states have filial laws that make adult children legal and financially responsibility for their parents’ care. In some cases, nursing homes even sue relatives to recoup unpaid costs. According to an NPR report, nursing homes have been known to go after family and even friends despite laws in place to protect these individuals from debt collection.
Long-Term Care Insurance Can Ease the Crisis
As the population ages, the U.S. may be heading toward a long-term care crisis. Seniors need strategies to pay for care, and long-term care insurance is an obvious option. Typically, when a policyholder requires assistance with two or more activities of daily living, long-term care insurance helps pay for adult day care, home health care, assisted living facility care, nursing home care or other appropriate forms of care.
Selling Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is ideal for clients who are in their 50s, 60s or 70s. Although younger individuals are less likely to need care, they can also qualify for more affordable rates that they can lock in.
Before you can sell long-term care insurance, you need to meet state requirements. In addition to regular producer licensing requirements, most states have training requirements specific to long-term care insurance. These requirements typically include the following:
- Initial training requirements that you must meet before you can sell, solicit or negotiate long-term care insurance.
- Refresher training requirements that you must complete periodically, for example, every two years.
The need for long-term care insurance will continue to grow as the population ages. You can help seniors obtain the protection they need for themselves and their families while carving out a nice insurance niche for yourself. To help you get ready to sell long-term care insurance, we’ve put together a guide to state requirements. Download it now.