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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why Do We Need To Plan For Long Term Care?

Good news: Americans are now living longer.
Bad news: Harsh reality that even normally aging older Americans are likely to need expensive long-term care assistance. Only few can afford to have insurance or afford the cost of care needs.

This infographic shows why planning for long term care is very crucial.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Reblogged: Use the New LTCI Consumer Data in 3 Ways

Consumer researchers at the National Advisory Center for Long Term Care Information has just released new numbers regarding the American failure to consider that they or their love ones need long term care insurance.
But what can agents and brokers do with these numbers?

Here are three ideas that you could try discussing with the people who review your outreach efforts:
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Reblogged: Small Ways to Improve Your Life in the Next 100 Days

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make drastic changes in order to notice an improvement in the quality of your life. At the same time, you don’t need to wait a long time in order to see the measurable results that come from taking positive action. All you have to do is take small steps, and take them consistently, for a period of 100 days.
Below you’ll find 60 small ways to improve all areas of your life in the next 100 days.


1.  Create a “100 Days to Conquer Clutter Calendar” by penciling in one group of items you plan to declutter every day, for the next 100 days.  Here’s an example:
  • Day 1: Declutter Magazines
  • Day 2: Declutter DVD’s
  • Day 3: Declutter books
  • Day 4: Declutter kitchen appliances
2. Live by the mantra: a place for everything and everything in its place. For the next 100 days follow these four rules to keep your house in order:
  • If you take it out, put it back.
  • If you open it, close it.
  • If you throw it down, pick it up.
  • If you take it off, hang it up.
3. Walk around your home and identify 100 things you’ve been tolerating; fix one each day. Here are some examples:
  • A burnt light bulb that needs to be changed.
  • A button that’s missing on your favorite shirt.
  • The fact that every time you open your top kitchen cabinet all of the plastic food containers fall out.
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Reblogged: American Young Adults Preparing For Long Term Care

According to the survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual, compared to other age groups, American adults in their twenties and thirties are more likely to prepare for future long term care expenses.

On the other hand, those who are in the 45-54 age bracket are the least likely to plan for their future long term care needs.

Read the original article here:

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Reblogged: Americans Seeks LTC Insurance Through Their Employers

According to ACSIA Partners, a leader in long term care (LTC) planning, long term care insurance are now increasingly becoming available at the workplace, and Americans should take advantage of that fact.
Long term care protection was once a family matter, but things are now changing. People needs it just like health insurance.

Read the full story here:
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Reblogged: Technology and long term care unite!

The long term care (LTC) market is declaring a new state of (tech) independence! As the demand for continuing care services grows, technology adoption follows closely behind. But how are organizations interacting with technology? And what are they investing in now and in the near future? Our curiosity about this changing landscape got the better of us, so we conducted a survey earlier this year to find out. The results are quite telling! 

LTC organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of incorporating technology into their care structure to improve the staff and resident experience and to sustain competitive advantage. In fact, an overwhelming 99% of LTC organization respondents believe technology helps them enhance overall care.* 

Topping the list of upgrades are wireless and wired infrastructure and data security, as LTC organizations further coordinate with health systems and integrate care. As the needs of the aging population expand and the healthcare industry as a whole sees shifts in technology adoption, LTC is taking notice and growth is in the air. Read on for more about the latest LTC technology trends in 2014 and beyond. 

Continue reading at:

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Retirement Health Costs: Planning For The Wild Card

Be honest, now: When you do your retirement planning, do you factor in potential health care costs and long-term care costs? Odds are, you don’t, figuring there’s no way to know what they might be — not to mention the subject is depressing and the numbers could be scary.

But ignoring what Ken Dychtwald, CEO of the aging consultancy Age Wave, calls “the retirement wild card” could be the biggest retirement planning mistake you’ll ever make. And you actually can plan for health and long-term care costs; I’ll give you eight ways shortly.

Age Wave and Merrill Lynch today released a fascinating, if disconcerting report  (Health and Retirement: Planning for the Great Unknown) based on a comprehensive survey of 3,303 adults. They call health care expenses “the missing link in retirement planning.”

The Survey Says…

Five of the survey’s striking findings:

Health care expenses are the top financial concern for retirement among Americans age 50+, regardless of their wealth level
Only 15% of pre-retirees have tried estimating how much money they might need for health care and long-term care in retirement
Just 7% of those 55 to 64 feel very knowledgeable about Medicare options; a mere 19% of Medicare recipients do
71% of couples age 50+ haven’t discussed how much they need to save to pay for health care during retirement
Health problems were the No. 1 reason people retired earlier than expected
Nationwide Insurance has also polled boomers about retirement health care costs. “The one word that comes up is ‘terrified,’” says Kevin McGarry, director of the Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute.

The danger of not penciling out health- and long-term care costs, and taking steps to pay for them, isn’t just that you might lack the money. “You could be putting a burden on your family,” says David Tyrie, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “That weighs very heavily on the boomer generation.”

The 4 Boomer HealthStyles

The Merrill Lynch/Age Wave study says boomers fall into one of four “HealthStyles”: Challenged and Concerned (32% and mostly women), who often have chronic conditions; Healthy and Proactive (29% and mostly women); Course-Correcting and Motivated (29% and mostly women), who have had a serious illness or diagnosis and Lucky but Lax (10% and mostly men), who are relatively healthy.

“Those who have invested in their own health do better, those who’ve had discussions with their spouses are less worried and those who’ve put financial actions into place feel more secure,” says Dychtwald.

8 Ways to Prepare for Retirement Health Costs

OK, now that you have a rough idea of the costs you incur and know which camp you fall into, how should you prepare if retirement is nearing?

1. Stay healthy or get healthy. 
You may not be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s says Tyrie, but you can take care of your health, which will keep your costs down.

2. Estimate your potential out-of-pocket health- and long-term care costs. Only 12% of people 50 to 69 have researched the cost of assisted living or skilled nursing, according to a new survey commissioned by the RiverWoods Continuing Care Retirement Community.

If you work for an employer, ask HR whether if there are retiree health benefits and, if so, what’s covered, how much the insurance costs and long the benefits would last.

To run your health care and long term care expense numbers, I’d recommend seeking help from a financial adviser, a Medicare specialist or doing some internet research.

For Medicare, try the easy Medicare QuickCheck electronic tool on National Council on Aging’s site, My Medicare Matters. It spits out a report to help you make wise Medicare plan decisions and get personal assistance.

You can get a rough estimate of how much your health costs might be in the year you turn 65 at the free site of HealthView Services. You enter your age, sex and whether you have a chronic illness and voila! (I did this and HealthView says I should figure on $7,668 to $13,667). For $500, HealthView will give you a detailed personal estimate with projections for health care and long-term care costs.

Financial advisers are becoming more helpful on the health care cost estimate front, as they grow more holistic and less investment-centric. As I blogged on Next Avenue, Merrill Lynch hired a financial gerontologist who’s working with the firm’s advisers to aid clients. Financial planners at many firms are increasingly using software to let clients get an idea of what they might pay and then working with them to find the money. Advisers who work with Nationwide, for instance, can use the company’s Personal Health Care Assessment tool, which includes health and long-term care costs.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Which senior living setting is best for me?

Which senior living setting is best for me?
Most of us prefer to spend our senior years in a setting that we are already living in and very few are open to the idea of living somewhere else unexpectedly.
Some older adults try to promise to themselves that they will “never be put in a home,” which is a difficult decision to face especially if their levels of needs are dramatically increasing.
The process of evaluating a senior living setting can be difficult but necessary. It is also practical to consider an individual’s future needs and whether it can be continuously provided at home.
Here are steps in choosing a senior living setting:
1.       Check your local options.
Check available options in your community regarding senior living settings such as:
·         Assisted living facilities
·         Skilled nursing facilities
·         Continuing care centers
·         Others senior living facilities

2.       Identify your needs.
Individuals have different needs which can be determined by how they live. The living options of seniors will be dictated by their needs since living options are not “one size fits all.”

3.       Look into each type of available facilities.
After identifying your local options for senior living settings, you will need to research further about these facilities.
There are traits of facilities that are commonly preferred by those who would stay in such facilities:

·         Low level of restriction.
A facility’s level of restriction determines an individual’s level of independence. An individual’s own home has the lowest restriction while a skilled nursing home can be considered as having the highest level of restriction.

·         Balanced with restriction and accommodation.
An ideal living setting is one that can accommodate an individual’s current and future needs while allowing as much independence as possible.
Some facilities focus only on one aspect and may cause the resident to become unhappy with the setting.
Some settings may have good accommodation but high restrictions that may cause an individual to lose the sense of independence.
Other settings may have low restrictions but incapable of accommodating the needs of an individual.
Identifying your needs will determine the appropriate type of senior living setting that is best for you. Once you know your needs, you will have to confirm what type of facility is available in your area.
Be sure to check each facility on whether they can or cannot accommodate your needs. Following these steps will help rid the stigma that most seniors are meant to end up in a nursing home.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grateful of Life

I am grateful for my life.
The past is a blessing because it is my teacher.
The future is a blessing because it is my opportunity.

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Tips for Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

Nursing Home FBN
Health-care costs are impossible to accurately predict when it comes to creating a retirement savings plan, but there are steps boomers can take to help ease the impact of medical expenses.
Requiring long-term care for a disability, chronic illness or any other condition over an extended period of time can become extremely costly and devastate a nest egg without proper planning. Often, employer-based health plans do not pay for extended-care services and Medicare doesn’t cover long stints in nursing homes or at-home care. To help cover potential continuing care expenses, many experts advise boomers to purchase long-term care insurance.
Jennifer Tucker, vice president of Homewatch CareGivers, which offers home health care for people with chronic illnesses, disabilities and other medical conditions, provided the following basics for boomers considering long-term care coverage:
Boomer: What is long-term care insurance and who should consider purchasing this type of policy?
Tucker:  Long-term care insurance policies cover the costs of assistance, over a long period of time, with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and cooking. Most policies cover personal care in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in the home.
Anyone who is younger than 60 years old should consider buying long-term care insurance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor predict that by 2050, approximately 27 million people will be using paid long-term care services in any setting—double from 13 million in 2000. Additionally, more than 70% of people who are turning 65 years old this year can expect to use some form of long-term care in their lives; and, since most will not qualify for Medicaid, the security of purchasing these policies as early as possible is greatly beneficial to lower the overall financial burden.
Surprisingly, at Homewatch CareGivers, we have seen that only a small percentage of home care clients use long-term care insurance to pay for home care services. What we hear most often is that either people were unaware their spouse or parents ever had a policy or that they never bought one. Often, people who fall into the latter category were unaware a policy could cover the costs of in-home care and prolong the amount of time they or a loved one could stay in their home as they aged.
Boomer: How is the cost of long-term care insurance determined and how do you calculate how much coverage you should buy?
Tucker: Similar to other types of insurance, the cost of long-term care insurance is determined by the age of the person buying the policy, the amount of coverage the policy offers per day and the maximum number of days per year that the policy will cover. Basically, the rates are lower the younger you are when you purchase the insurance.
The average age at which people purchase long-term care insurance is 55 years old, with a typical enacting age of late 60s to early 80s. However, people can be diagnosed with chronic illnesses—such as multiple sclerosis, early onset Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease at any age. We do care for some clients who had to enact their long-term care policies in their 50s due to unexpected illnesses.
While it is recommended to consider factors like family medical history prior to purchasing a policy, the best approach to ensure you are adequately covered is to speak with your insurance agent or a long-term care insurance specialist. 
Boomer: What coverage should be included in a long-term care policy?
Tucker: There are several factors to consider when choosing which coverage you want in your policy. While an insurance broker can help sort out the particulars, the most important decision is about the kind of care you hope to receive.
The options for long-term care span various settings, including adult day care, nursing homes and group living facilities, as well as in the home. However, recent research has shown that more than 90% of older adults would rather live in their homes as they age than move to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
This is where home care can greatly impact a person’s life. Consider that the cost of “doing nothing” or having a family member provide care in the home poses a staggering average lifetime cost of $300,000 annually to that family member, according to a recent MetLife study. Home care services, which are covered by long term care insurance, average a cost of $45,000 per year. Also consider that 80% of claimants use home care as their first type of care, and only 25% of those ever progress to facility-based care.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sincere Form of Respect

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.
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Millennials: How they measure up when it comes to money and their financial future (infographic)

What are their greatest financial concerns?
What is their current financial position?
How are they planning for the future?
Who are they turning to for advice?

Find everything all that is mentioned on this infographic:

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Maurice and Helen Kaye celebrate 80 years of marriage

A couple who met as teenagers 10 years before the start of World War Two have celebrated 80 years of marriage.
Maurice and Helen Kaye, from Bournemouth, met in 1929 when they were 17 and 16 respectively.
They courted for four years because Mrs Kaye's mother wanted her older sister to be married first.
The couple, who are now 102 and 101, said the secret to a happy marriage was being tolerant of each other and being willing to "forgive and forget".
The pair, one of Britain's longest-married couples, plan to celebrate their oak wedding anniversary with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mrs Kaye was 16 and working in her mother's shop in Walworth, south London, when she met Mr Kaye, whose father wanted to sell goods to the store.
Mr Kaye ended up staying in the shop for three hours, prompting his future mother-in-law to ask "who's going to throw him out, you or me?".
But it was Mr Kaye's car which initially gained the interest of his wife-to-be.
She said: "He had a car and in those days not very many people had cars, which made him interesting."
The couple married in Borough Synagogue in south London four years after they began courting, waiting for Mrs Kaye's older sister, Paula, to wed first.

Start Quote

I didn't think it would last a week but it's amazing it's lasted 80 years.”
Maurice Kaye
After marrying, Mr Kaye went on to manage his father's factory and two shops in London before he joined the Army as a volunteer physical training instructor in 1939.
Mrs Kaye ran the business in her husband's absence, but in 1944 their factory, shops and home were destroyed in the conflict, prompting them to move to Bournemouth.
After the war, the couple had four children.
Asked about whether their long marriage was luck or fate, Mrs Kaye said: "You can never plan anything. How can you plan for 80 years? It is fate."
Mr Kaye said the secret to a happy marriage was always agreeing with his wife.
He said: "I didn't think it would last a week but it's amazing it's lasted 80 years."
Mrs Kaye said: "You mustn't be hard on each other. And if you have to give in a little bit, you give in a little bit."
The couple have two surviving children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
They still live independently in a flat and continue to play bridge regularly.
Their son, Larry, 66, said he thought the secret to their longevity was setting targets.
He added: "They wanted to see their grandchildren, then their great-grandchildren and now they want to see their great-grandchildren grow up."
Karam and Kartari Chand are believed to be the UK's longest married husband and wife. The couple from Bradford tied the knot in a Sikh ceremony in 1925.

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Remember That You Are real

Remember that you are real, wealth can be measured, not by what you have, but, by what you are. 
- Napoleon Hill

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The Potential to Turn a Life Around

Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do retirees need long-term care insurance?

Health care costs are a big concern for people going into retirement, but the costs of long-term care can still be a shock.
Here are a few facts:
• 70% of people over 65 will need some form of long-term care at some point.
• For married couples, the chance that one spouse will need long-term care rises to 91%, says Byron Udell, CEO and founder of
• People living alone are more likely to need some sort of home health care.
• Women outlive men, and thus, are more likely to live alone and need some sort of home health care.
So, while some financial planners previously were on the fence about long-term care insurance, they were still encouraging people to at least have a plan for long-term care.
"For Baby Boomers, long-term care insurance is a must," says Manhattan attorney Ann-Margaret Carrozza. "We can no longer rely upon Medicaid to cover custodial type care. We see over the course of the past few years that eligibility for Medicaid has gotten tougher. In 2006 the so-called look-back period was extended from three years to five years," she says. During that period, the government can check, or look back, to see if you have sheltered or given away assets — and if you have, it triggers a penalty period when you're ineligible for government aid.
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Pranksters Dressed A Dog Up As A Giant Spider To Scare People In Poland!

What do you think?

(Watch the full video below)

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The Greatest Test

Your greatest test is when you are able to bless someone else while you are going through your own storm.
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5 tips for long-term care insurance

Let’s start with some good news: Americans are living longer. But that comes with bad news: We’re getting sicker, too, so our increased longevity means more and more of us will require long-term care. In fact, research from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reveals that at least 70 percent of people 65 or older will need long-term care at some point in their lives. The duration and demands of the care required often exceed what family and friends can provide — or what many of us can afford with our own savings.
Dalih Suchet, a 15-year long-term care insurance specialist with Whitehall Benefits of Nashville, says:
“Those you love would likely drop everything to take care of you. But trying to have conversations and make decisions in the midst of crisis is difficult and can lead to poor decisions. Having a plan and talking it through with your loved ones in advance can help your family members ensure that your intentions are achieved. It can also ease the emotional, physical and financial toll of caregiving on your family members.”
That’s where long-term care insurance steps in. Health insurance doesn’t pay for extended, nonmedical care at home or in an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Neither does Medicare. And while Medicaid does offer help, most recipients must first exhaust most of their assets in order to qualify. These costs can be staggering. According to the insurer Genworth, the median rate for a private nursing home room in Tennessee is $198 a day or $72,088 a year. For an in-home health aide, it’s $18 an hour. In addition, do not forget the medical expenses not covered by health insurance.
1. Calculate how much coverage you’ll need. The average policy covers $149 of expenses daily. To determine how much coverage you’ll require, call an in-home aide service, nursing home or assisted-living facility that you might like to use one day and ask them their per-day cost. Factor inflation into your calculation because the cost of health care continues to climb. According to CPI, healthcare inflation is currently about 2.5 percent, but the long-term average is closer to 6 percent. Next, consider how long your coverage should last. Only about 20 percent of people stay in a nursing home more than five years, so that’s a good minimum time frame. If long-term care insurance is not in place, paying for care will quickly drain income and/or assets.
Know if your benefit payout is daily or monthly, Whitehall Benefits’ Suchet says.
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Long Term Care Facilities - Costs & Accomodations

Long Term Care Facilities - Costs & Accomodations

Physical and mental deterioration are only some of the inevitable effects of aging. There are even cases where in some senior citizens acquire or develop diseases that make them need 24-hour care services. No matter how much people want to stay at home and take care of their older loved ones, this cannot be done by many because of the demands of their current jobs.
This is where long term care facilities come in handy. They offer accommodations for senior citizens who need or want higher levels of personal care. These long term care facilities, also known as nursing homes are designed to take care of individuals who demand a different kind of personal care, other than the kind that can be given to them if they stay at home.

Accommodations in Nursing Homes

Long Term Care FacilitiesThe facilities of these nursing homes are not only designed to provide comfort. They are also designed to fit the medical needs of those who are going to stay. Preferred accommodation is the term for private or semi-private rooms. Just like private rooms in hospitals, these rooms have more facilities than the non-private rooms.
Standard or Basic accommodation on the other hand, is the counter part of the preferred accommodation. When it comes to recreational facilities, each nursing home has its own. In Ohio for example, all nursing homes have chapels, gardens and beauty salons.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sign of Strength

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. It's a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren't afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength.
- Brigitte Nicole

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RIP Joan Rivers

"Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny"

A very simple quote from a great lady. Rest in peace Joan Rivers (June 8, 1933 - September 4, 2014)!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Look into Long-Term Care - An Infographic

Here's an infographic created by Age in Place presenting the cost of long term care and realities of Medicare, Medicaid and private medical insurance. 

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long-Term Care Service Providers In The United States (INFOGRAPHIC)

Long-term care defines a broad range of services that meet the needs of older adults with various functional limitations. These services are provided by paid, regulated providers, and include assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, toileting), instrumental activities of daily living (medication management, housework), and health maintenance tasks.

Here is a report on various aspects of  long-term care service providers: their funding, their population profile, and the prevalence of morbidity in their facilities. 

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Rating The Best Long Term Care Insurance Companies

We are often asked what the best long term care insurance companies are. When choosing the long term care insurance companies we recommend we take several factors into consideration including:
  • Ratings
  • Underwriting
  • Claims performance
  • Years selling long term care insurance (LTCI)
Insurance companies are evaluated by several agencies, each with their own rating scale. A strong rating indicates financial strength, which in turn indicates an ability to pay claims.
The Comdex rating is interesting to consider as it is a composite of the four major services, which is then converted into a score that ranges from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest.

The insurance companies we recommend in alphabetical order.


  • A.M. Best: A
  • Standard and Poor’s: A-
  • Moody’s: A3
  • Fitch: A-
  • Comdex: 73

John Hancock Life Insurance Company.

  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA-
  • Moody’s: A1
  • Fitch: AA-
  • Comdex: 93

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co.

  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA-
  • Moody’s: A1
  • Fitch: A+
  • Comdex: 91

Massachusettes Mutual Life Ins.

  • A.M. Best: A++
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA+
  • Moody’s: Aa2
  • Fitch: AA+
  • Comdex: 98

MedAmerica Insurance Co.

  • A.M. Best: B++
  • Standard and Poor’s: A-
  • Moody’s: NR
  • Fitch: NR
  • Comdex: 46

Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co.

  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Standard and Poor’s: A+
  • Moody’s: A1
  • Fitch: NR
  • Comdex: 90

Northwestern Mutual Life Ins.

  • A.M. Best: A++
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA+
  • Moody’s: Aaa
  • Fitch: AAA
  • Comdex: 100

Transamerica Life Insurance Co.

  • A.M. Best: A+
  • Standard and Poor’s: AA-
  • Moody’s: NR
  • Fitch: AA-
  • Comdex: 95


To get free insurance quotes on different insurance companies, check out:
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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wedding photos revealed

Here comes the bride! 
The first photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's wedding have officially arrived.

People magazine has exclusive photos from the couple's nuptials, including a look at Jolie's unique and colorful twist on a wedding dress.
The actress' gown featured dozens of drawings from her children's artwork sewn into the dress and veil by Luigi Massi, the master tailor at Atelier Versace.

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Three little girls retake viral photo to celebrate remission from cancer

As three little girls gathered to get their picture taken on Saturday, the mood was quite a bit lighter than the last time the children were photographed together just a few short months ago.

Back then, Rheann Franklin, 6, Ainsley Peters, 4, and Rylie Hughey, 3, each battling cancer, came together for an emotional photo session in April with Oklahoma photographers Lora Scantling and Christy Goodger. The image taken that day, after the girls met for the first time in the studio, touched the hearts of people all over the world.

When the girls reunited on Saturday, it was to share in happy news: In July they confirmed they are each in remission. To celebrate, they got back together with Scantling and Goodger to put an even more positive spin on the beautiful scene that went viral earlier this year.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Man kills himself by decapitation in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx

A 51-year-old man managed to behead himself in a spectacularly gruesome suicide in the Bronx Monday morning. The victim, whose identity was not immediately released, tied a chain from his head to a pole, then hit the gas on his 2005 Honda CRV in Hunts Point, cops said.

He gunned it about 9:35 a.m., police said, and was decapitated, dying at the scene on Longfellow Ave. near Randall Ave.

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Be With Those Who Bring Out The Best In You...

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Long Term Care

In my last post, The Thing That's Missing, I used long term care risk as an example of retirement risks that aren't really addressed by retirement spending strategies, but need to be considered in a comprehensive retirement plan. Nonetheless, the possible need for long term care late in life is on the minds of most retirees.

Medicare doesn't cover long term care expenses. Medicaid will, but only after the patient's assets are depleted. Medicaid is a jointly-administered program by state governments and the Federal government, so the rules vary by state.

Depleted means that most savings has been spent and property has been sold. Some assets and income are excluded from Medicaid eligibility calculations. Surviving spouses are afforded some protections, including postponing the sale of the patient's home, so long as the patient or spouse still live in it. Again, these rules vary by state.

A retiree who relies on Medicaid to pay for long term care will have little left to bequeath to heirs. It is this risk of losing all one's wealth at the end of life, and a concern for the quality of long term care the patient will be able to afford, that drives retirees' fears. Retirees without heirs and a surviving spouse could presumably be less concerned. According to HHS, less than 15% of nursing home patients have a surviving spouse.

As I wrote in Long Term Care Insurance some time ago, the LTC insurance industry states some pretty scary facts in their advertising, like “nearly two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 will require long-term care” and “long-term care can cost over $75,000 a year.” Both statements are correct, if misleading.

According to a Genworth report, $75,000 a year is a good current estimate for North Carolina, but $125,000 a year would be closer for New York. Many patients, however, have stays shorter than one year.

I mentioned in that post that studies show about 43% of retirees are likely to have no long term care needs, at all. Another 19% will be in long term care for short periods and the cost, less than $10,000, will be manageable out of pocket. That's 62% of retirees who won't have a big LTC problem.

Another 8% will have costs between $10,000 and $25,000, possibly also a manageable amount.

About 30% of retirees, though, will have costs exceeding $25,000 and some will pay a lot more. Care for an injury like the one sustained by Christopher Reeve is estimated to cost $1M the first year and nearly $2M each subsequent year. Put this all together and LTC costs can range from zero to millions of dollars a year and can occur at any time (about a third of long-term care patients are under the age of 65).

Or never.

Risks like that are difficult to plan for.

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