Facts About Senior Insurance That You Need to Know

Senior Resources

Finding unbiased information about insurance is challenging. Below are links to reputable organizations and non-profits for seniors, benefits, and insurance. These resources can educate you and answer your questions with no strings attached.

nia.nih.gov

National Institute on Aging:

Federal research organization with lengthy resources on senior health. This organization conducts comprehensive studies on aging, Alzheimer's, care-giving, and more.

Medicare.gov

Medicare:

The federal government's official Medicare website is stocked full of helpful information. You can sign up for Medicare, learn the intricacies of all available plans and enrollment dates, and access other resources.

longtermcare.acl.gov

Long-term care:

The federal government's official long-term care resource. Learn where to get LTC, how Medicare and Medicaid interact with it, and how much it costs.

iii.org

Insurance Information Institute:

An industry organization aiming to 'improve public understanding of insurance.' If you have insurance questions, the III can help you find answers.

iii.org 

Healthcare:

This is the official healthcare marketplace for the federal government. You can read about healthcare, study plans, and purchase insurance through here.

benefitscheckup.org

Benefits checkup:

Complete a short questionnaire to find out which senior benefits and assistance programs you qualify for.

What is Medicare?

Medicare: Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed primarily for people age 65 and older. These plans cover about half the cost of most healthcare services. In 2015, there were over 55 million Medicare beneficiaries in America.

You can enroll in Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, as well as three months after. That's a seven-month window. Missing the open enrollment window can lead to financial penalties, so it's important to be aware.

There are four main types of Medicare – Part A, B, C, and D:

Part A and Part B, known as original Medicare, cover inpatient and outpatient services like hospital visits and doctor's appointments.

Part C combines both A and B into one plan. These are known as Medicare Advantage Plans and they include PPOs and HMOs.

Part D covers prescription drugs, which aren't covered by other parts.

If you're confused, you're not alone. To learn more on Medicare like open enrollment dates and plan specifics, you can visit Medicare.Gov.

What are Medicare Supplements or Medigap plans?

Even if you have Medicare, you may want extra coverage. There are private health plans designed specifically to work with Medicare. These are known as Medigap or Medicare Supplement plans.

Medigap: While Medicare provides good coverage for most health issues, it doesn't cover everything. There are coverage gaps. People with lengthy medical needs may need more coverage. That's what Medigap (also known as Medical Supplement plans) is for.

Medigap is a private insurance plan that helps pay for Medicare's deductibles and copayments. There are several different Medigap plans available, each with different costs and benefits. If you're concerned that Medicare doesn't provide enough coverage, you may want a Medigap plan. For more information on Medigap, read the Medicare.Gov guide to Medigap.

How does Long Term and Nursing Care insurance work?

The need for assisted living is an unfortunate reality for most senior citizens. With so much to consider when it comes to long term care, it's easy to forget that long term care is extremely expensive. On top of that, most healthcare plans explicitly do not cover it.

Will you need long term health care in the future? You can purchase an insurance plan specifically for long term care. There are a few important things to consider with these plans.

First, buying a long-term care insurance plan is cheaper when you're young. In fact, the younger you are, the cheaper it is. You may not need long-term care now, but virtually every senior will need some form of assisted care as they age.

Some people are lucky enough to have family and friends who will help as they age. But it's difficult to rely on others for all your care. Investing now in tomorrow's care is a smart choice. Plus, long-term care policy benefits usually aren't taxed as income.

Unfortunately, some assisted living facilities have had problems with elder abuse and substandard care. If you're considering a long-term care facility for yourself or a loved one, make sure that facility is well-reviewed and certified. Check with Ombudsman, a national senior advocacy group that focuses on abuse in long-term care and nursing facilities.

Most long-term care insurance DOES cover the following:

Home care services

Assisted living

Adult day care

Home alteration

Hospice care

Nursing homes

Alzheimer's care

Most long-term care insurance DOES NOT cover the following:

Preexisting conditions

Mental health

Nervous disorders

Care from family members

What type of life insurance should seniors buy?

There are three common types of life insurance:

Term: Provides life insurance for a specified term. For example, State Farm offers $100,000 coverage of term life insurance policies for 10, 20, and 30-year terms. Once that term passes, your policy is no longer in effect – unless you renew. Term life policies are usually the cheapest. Some companies limit year terms for seniors. They may sell a 10 year term policy, but not a 20 year term policy.

Whole/permanent: Covers you for the remainder of your life. Whole life insurance policies can also an investment attachment, meaning the policy payout can grow. These policies are more expensive and complex, but the premium remains the same and the benefits are guaranteed.

Guaranteed universal: Term life insurance offers coverage for a certain amount of years, while guaranteed universal life insurance offers coverage until a specific age. It's usually cheaper than whole life insurance because it doesn't accrue cash value. Also, the premiums don't change from year to year like term insurance.

Which one works best for seniors? We think its guaranteed universal insurance. Why? First, premiums don't change from year to year. Seniors are at risk of huge rate hikes when it comes to life insurance, and a guaranteed universal plan mitigates that. Second, the fact that guaranteed universal plans are considerably cheaper than whole life is attractive. Purchasing a life insurance policy becomes exponentially more expensive for older people, so saving money where possible is a big benefit. But everyone's needs are different. For instance, younger seniors may prefer term insurance because it can be cheaper in the short term. We recommend speaking with an agent who can answer your specific questions.

How much does life insurance cost? How do I choose the best plan?

It's hard to estimate the cost of a life insurance policy, because so many factors come into play. First, you need to choose a policy type. Do you want term, whole life, or guaranteed universal? As we discussed, each plan has different pros and cons, meaning their prices vary. Second, you need to choose a benefit amount. This is the sum that your loved ones receive in the event of your passing. Obviously, a higher payout will cost you more. You can purchase a death benefit as low as $25,000 or as high as a whopping $201 million. Again, this depends on your finances and personal needs. Finally, your personal information is a vital component. Your occupation, where you live, and your health are all deciding factors to determine the cost of life insurance. Women, on average, pay less than men for life insurance because they live longer.

We can help you navigate top life companies to help you find the best policy for your needs!