Tag Archives: continuing care retirement community

Understanding long-term care insurance

By Brad Breeding

If you or a loved one own long-term care insurance (LTCI) it is important to understand how the policy works and what it covers so you will be better equipped to incorporate it into your overall retirement plan. Here is a description of the key components of LTCI:

Type(s) of Care Covered

If you own long-term care insurance (LTCI) or are thinking about purchasing coverage it is important to understand how the policy works and what it covers. Adult children should also be familiar with the details of their parents’ coverage because they will likely be involved with coordinating LTCI benefits when the time comes. By understanding the details of the policy you will be better equipped to get the most out of your coverage when it is needed.

What type of care is covered?

The earliest forms of LTCI (issued more than two decades ago) were considered “nursing home” policies, which covered skilled nursing services received in a nursing facility. Long-term care delivered at home or in an assisted living facility were not covered expenses.

Eventually policies began covering care in assisted living facilities and sometimes at-home care, but often at a discounted amount. For example, the policy might cover care in an assisted living facility at 50 percent of the benefit amount that would be paid for care received in a skilled nursing facility.

Most policies issued within the last five to 10 years are more comprehensive, providing the same amount of coverage regardless of where care is received. These policies may also cover expenses like adult day care and respite care.

LTCI Benefit Amount

The benefit amount is usually a daily or monthly amount, and the total lifetime benefit amount is expressed in years. For example, a policy might provide a daily benefit of $200 for three years. This amounts to a total lifetime benefit of $219,000 ($200 x 365 x 3). This does not mean that the policy must be used within three years, but rather that the policyholder has the equivalent of three years of coverage over their lifetime. However, a policy will not pay more than the stated benefit amount in any given day or month. Therefore, using the example above, the policy would not, for instance, pay out $300 for any one day of coverage.

Inflation Rider

Many policies include an “inflation rider” which increases the benefit amount annually to help ensure that the coverage amount reflects the increased cost of care over time. The formula used to determine the increase can vary from one policy to another. If your policy includes an inflation rider, you should know the current coverage amount, as opposed to the originally stated coverage amount. If this information is not clear, contact the insurance company and ask about the current benefit.

Coverage Elimination Period

Most LTCI policies have an elimination period. This is similar to a deductible, but is measured in days, not dollars. A policyholder chooses the elimination period (from zero to 180+ days) at the time of application. A longer elimination period lowers the premium, and vice versa. A policy’s elimination period can be based on days of care or calendar days. For example, a policy with a 90-day elimination period would specify if that means 90 calendar days (beginning with the first day of care), or 90 days of care. In some cases there could be a substantial difference in time between the two if there is a break in care within the 90-day period. Additionally, a policy could have different elimination periods for different care settings.

If you are thinking about buying coverage and want to keep your premiums lower, or if you want to lower premiums on your existing coverage, consider extending the elimination period. You may decide that you are willing, and able, to pay out of pocket for a certain amount of time but want to cap your exposure for all care beyond that.

Benefit Triggers

Before LTCI coverage will pay benefits, the policyholder must be unable to perform at least two of the six activities of daily living (ADLs): feeding, toileting, dressing, bathing, walking/transferring (i.e., moving from bed to wheelchair), and continence. Some policies may require that the policyholder be unable to perform three ADLs instead of two. Policies may also specify what is required before the policyholder is declared “unable” to perform a certain ADL. Additionally, some policies may include cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, as a benefit trigger. In some cases, a policy will not pay benefits unless a doctor certifies that the care is medically necessary.

Benefit Payment Methods

LTCI policies are generally categorized as either expense-incurred (reimbursement) or indemnity (set dollar amount). Under an expense-incurred policy, a policyholder only receives benefits when care is received. The policyholder, or a representative for the policyholder, must submit receipts for services. If it is an approved service, the insurance company will pay the insured or the care provider for the cost of services up to the daily (or monthly) benefit amount.

The less common indemnity plan pays the daily or monthly benefit amount stated in the policy, regardless of the actual cost of services. Once the claim is approved the benefit is paid directly to the policyholder, up to the stated benefit amount, and continues as long as eligible services are being received. The premium for an indemnity policy is typically higher than it would be for comparable coverage under an expense-incurred policy.

Hybrid Policies

An increasingly popular type of long-term care plan is actually a hybrid that combines life insurance (or a deferred annuity) and long-term care insurance. If you meet the benefit triggers, which are typically similar to those described above, then you can tap into the long-term care benefit. If, however, you never require long-term care insurance then your heirs will receive the death benefit. Additionally, if you cancel the policy anytime in between you will receive the cash surrender value at that time.

The appeal of a hybrid policy is that the policyholder (or the heirs) is assured to receive cash back whether he or she uses the long-term care insurance or not. The trade-offs are that a traditional policy will buy more coverage per dollar and a hybrid policy requires premiums to be paid in a lump sum — usually $50,000 or more, or at least within 10 years. When premiums are spread out over 10 years the amount per year will be higher than for a traditional plan since traditional plans spread payments over lifetime.

Those who own a cash value life insurance and are interested in getting long-term care insurance may be able change their existing policy into a hybrid plan without having to pay any additional premiums. This can be particularly beneficial for those who, due to health issues, may not be able to qualify for traditional long-term care insurance because hybrid plans sometimes have more flexible underwriting guidelines. This is particularly true of annuity-based hybrid plans.

For a more detailed explanation of LTCI, request a Long-Term Care Insurance Buyers Guide from your state’s insurance department. To understand how long-term insurance can be applied to living at our communities, contact a retirement counselor today:

The Culpeper: Rose Wallace, Director of Marketing, rwallace@theculpeper.org,540-825-2411.

The Chesapeake: Liz Gee, Director of Marketing, lgee@thechesapeake.org, 757-223-1600

Lakewood: Donna Buhrman, Director of Marketing, dbuhrman@lakewoodwestend.org, 804-740-2900

The Glebe: Helen Burnett, Director of Marketing, hburnett@theglebe.org, 540-591-2100 

Brad Breeding is co-founder and president of myLifeSite, a website designed to provide objective information about continuing care retirement communities. A certified financial planner, Brad’s extensive knowledge of the senior living industry, combined with his financial planning background, allows him to provide valuable insights about lifestyle, healthcare, and financial planning considerations for seniors. This article is legally licensed for use.  

 

LifeSpire welcomes new Chief Operating Officer

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to welcome Ray Fisher as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Fisher will be responsible for directing overall operations in LifeSpire’s four continuing care retirement communities through leadership, management, and vision. His expected start date is Nov. 27, 2017.

“We believe Ray will be a great addition to our team of managers and as an officer of the company,” said Scott Cave, a LifeSpire trustee who participated in the search and interview process. “We are pleased to welcome him.”

Fisher has more than 25 years’ experience at the executive level within the context of large for-profit firms and senior living organizations. He has been involved in senior living since 2001 during which time he has held positions as CFO, CEO, and advisor. He has been part of many senior living expansion projects, the most recent involving the creation of a nationally recognized short-term recovery and rehab center. As CEO, he led the turnaround of a mid-size CCRC and the successful creation and operation of a nationally recognized 48-bed rehab and wellness center.

“We are excited to welcome Ray to the LifeSpire team,” said Jonathan Cook, president and CEO. “We are building a great culture and a great team at LifeSpire, and one thing that excites us most about Ray is the depth of his background and experience.”

Fisher is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, and he earned an MS Finance degree from the University of Baltimore. He has instructed at VCU, UVA’s Darden School and the University of Baltimore. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Virginia Society of CPAs.

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Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Rucker elected to chair LifeSpire’s board of trustees

03/17/17

By Ann Lovell

Susan Rucker

Richmond, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to announce the election of Susan Rucker as chair of its board of trustees. Rucker, who was elected to a 3-year term,  assumed her duties January 1 and presided over the board’s first meeting of 2017 in early March at Lakewood, a LifeSpire community in Richmond’s west end.

Rucker is currently the chief financial officer at the Mason School of Business at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She is also president of Prospective Insights, a consulting service that helps businesses define and execute business strategy and leadership development.

“I have worked with Mrs. Rucker as a LifeSpire board member for the past two years. Her business and financial leadership have helped propel us to the strong financial position we have today, ” said Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire president and CEO. “I look forward to working with her in this expanded leadership role.”

Formerly a partner with KPMG, a global professional firm that provides audit, tax and advisory services, Rucker holds a bachelor’s in business administration from William & Mary. She and her husband, Michael, live in Midlothian, Virginia.

 

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

 

The Culpeper’s bridge club provides social connections, mental fitness for residents

05/23/16

Editor’s note: In celebration of Older Americans Month, LifeSpire of Virginia is featuring one or two residents a week from its four continuing care retirement communities who most embody the characteristics of a “trailblazer” in wellness, community and hospitality.

By Ann Lovell

CULPEPER, Virginia—Jean Isaacson, 72, was disappointed there wasn’t a bridge club at The Culpeper, the LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community where she’s lived since 2013. An accountant who had started her own business in 1980, Isaacson learned to play bridge as a teen and taught the game when she lived in Chicago from 1972-1975.

Then she met Lila Bunt, 89, another avid bridge player who has lived at The Culpeper since 2011.

“Lila and I were walking from ‘the big house’ (the building that houses the dining room and community center) to our cottages,” Isaacson recalls. “I told her how I wished we had a bridge club. ‘Let’s start one!’ Lila said. So we did.”

Bunt laughs. “Two heads plus a need equals a bridge club,” she says.

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Jean Isaacson (left) and Lila Bunt (right) discuss how bridge club began at The Culpeper, the LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community where they live.

The two women started the club with one table in 2013. Then, they asked Pat Ballard, The Culpeper’s Director of Resident Services, to add it to the The Culpeper’s activities’ calendar each month. Soon Bunt and Isaacson were offering weekly classes to those interested in learning the game. Eight players joined a cruise the group took in early 2015, and today the group has grown to 14.

“We need two more players to have four tables,” Isaacson says.

Isaacson and Bunt are two of LifeSpire’s featured trailblazers during Older Americans Month in May. The U.S. Administration for Community Living sets aside May each year to recognize the contributions of older Americans. The 2016 theme is “Blaze a Trail.” Ballard recommended the two women for their initiative in starting the bridge club.

“LifeSpire trailblazers model wellness, community, and hospitality,” agrees Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire President and CEO. “By starting the bridge club, Mrs. Isaacson and Mrs. Bunt showed the kind of community spirit we appreciate from all our residents.”

‘MENTAL GYMNASTICS’

Bridge evolved from the British card game whist and dates back to the 1700s. In 1925 railroad heir Harold Stirling Vanderbilt created the modern version of contract bridge, the version The Culpeper club plays. According to David Owen of The New Yorker, Vanderbilt “had been annoyed by what he felt were deficiencies in the previous version, auction bridge.” Contract bridge caught on quickly, especially as the Great Depression set in, and by the 1940s, 44 percent of American families played the game.

Today, an estimated 25 million Americans enjoy bridge, including such notables as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, who often play as a team. The majority of bridge players are over age 50, says Jon Saraceno in an article for AARP.

“Bridge’s intricacies make it particularly appealing for those who want to sharpen acuity with mental gymnastics,” Saraceno writes. “A study in 2000 at the University of California Berkeley, found strong evidence that an area in the brain used in playing bridge stimulates the immune system. Researchers suggest that is because players must use memory, visualization and sequencing.”

Additional research by Dr. Claudia Kawas of the University of California Irvine, seems to indicate bridge, with its added social element, may have a slight edge over other mental games in staving off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We think, for example, that it’s very important to use your brain, to keep challenging your mind, but all mental activities may not be equal,” Kawas says. “We’re seeing some evidence that a social component may be crucial.”

A REWARDING PURSUIT

Isaacson and Bunt carve out lots of time each week for bridge. The two women teach bridge on Wednesdays, developing lessons based on the book, “The Fun Way to Advanced Bridge” by Harry Lampert.

“Many of those who come last played in college,” Bunt says. “It’s a great way to welcome new residents to the community.”

The group plays together at The Culpeper on Fridays. Isaacson plays with a group at her home on Saturdays, and Bunt and her husband, John, play Tuesday evenings at the local country club with people from the greater Culpeper community.

When they aren’t playing bridge, the two women are also involved in other activities in their community. Bunt and her husband regularly work in the food pantry at their local church, St. Stephens Episcopal in downtown Culpeper. Isaacson reads to an older friend, plays rummy with older residents, and enjoys caring for her granddaughter one day a week.

Still, bridge has provided a strong bond between the two women and allowed them to forge friendships with other residents as well.

“It’s very rewarding,” Bunt says. “It keeps us busy and provides a lot of good laughs.”


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.