Last Call 4 E Z LTC

Monday - 6/20/2011, 4:00am EDT

Okay, you are in your 40s or 50s, a vegan and fit as a fiddle. You inherited great genes. People in your family don't even write wills until departing for the bungee center for their 99th birthday party. True, your wild Uncle Ned checked out at 86, but it was at the hands of his beautiful (a former Miss California,) but insanely jealous 32-year old lover. So your odds of a long and healthy life are excellent.

Still...

Exercise, diet and genes aside, there is a potential downside. You could have a stroke anytime. Or an accident that leaves you all but helpless. What then? Who dresses, feeds and helps you into the shower and out of bed? Who pays?

Long Term Care insurance will pay the bills for as long as necessary, if you have it. You can get it from any number of reputable insurance firms and, if you are relatively young and healthy you can get a very good (as in low) rate with an individual policy. That works for a lot of people.

Or you can get it at work, if you work for Uncle Sam. It's a group plan with group rates. And this week, until June 24th, you can get it easier than you will be able to get it next week. That's because the abbreviated underwriting open season ends Friday for the federal LTC plan. To qualify you need answer only 7 health-related questions. After the open season ends, applicants must answer about 40 health related questions.

The typical fed gets LTC at about age 51. Some much earlier. Obviously the younger you are the lower your premiums will be. Medicare and your federal (FEHBP) health plan won't pay for services that are covered by LTC policies.

My Mother, a retired fed, got her policy (from a firm outside the government program) in her mid-50s. She was in great health until a car accident which may have triggered dementia. For the last three years of her life she needed supervised help and care. Her LTC policy, along with her CSRS pension and some Social Security, meant that she could have the best care available. And there were minimum out-of-pocket costs to me and her grandchildren, who were a big help.

So consider LTC not only for yourself, but for the spouse, loved ones or children who will take care of you when/if you need it. On our last Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show we had a comprehensive discussion about LTC, including options and premiums. It's worth listening to and it might give you some ideas. For a summary, or to listen to the entire show at home or the office (if allowed) click here.

And remember the clock is ticking.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

"Despite the abundance of reports of cannibalism," reports lifeslittlemysteries.com, "the practice is not on the rise".