Consider choosing a Long Term Care Insurance Agent in the same way you choose any other professional: properly trained, experienced and someone who stays up to date on the latest strategies.
Long Term Care planning is a specialized field. There are different types of long term care policies, and premiums are driven by many different factors.
By utilizing the following tips, you will be better able to choose an Agent that will assist you in making the best choice for you and your family.
- The California Partnership for Long Term Care describes a “good long term care agent” as an agent who is a genuine listener, an educator and a problem solver. Their primary focus is to identify your concerns and help establish your goals and needs.
- You will want an agent that is knowledgeable about Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medi-Cal. Understanding how Health Insurance and Medicare work will be important in your decision making because long term care policies pay for custodial care that is specifically excluded from a health care policy.
- Confirm that the agent has gone through the proper training to work with the California Partnership for Long Term Care. Even though you may not need or choose this type of policy, certification indicates a well informed serious agent.
- Ask the agent to provide a list of highly rated insurance companies they represent and have been appointed by. At a minimum you will want the A.M. Best rating for each company (A.M. Best is a U.S. based rating agency headquartered in New Jersey, which focuses on the insurance industry). It’s important to have a solid, established carrier since claims can be years away.
- It is helpful if the agent has an association with a large Long Term Care Brokerage as you may need some assistance in the future. It is important to have a strong advocate during the application or claims process.
- Determine that the agent is well versed in different types of planning strategies. This will include both the conventional type of policy and also the hybrid or linked policies that combine life insurance and long term care benefits.
- Ask if the agent will appeal your application in the event of a decline. Mistakes are made and sometimes a declined application can be reversed if an agent is willing to go the extra distance.
- Require a side by side comparison on a spreadsheet that will include different types of long term care planning strategies, corresponding benefits, premiums, as well as the pros and cons of each.
- Confirm the agent or the agent’s brokerage facilitates the claims process. Ask what can be expected if a claim is made because this is when you need support most!
- Arm yourself with as much information as possible prior to your meeting. An expert always enjoys working with a savvy well informed client!