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A. Long term care is a variety of services and supports to meet healthcare needs over an extended period of time.
Most long term care is custodial care, i.e. help in performing everyday activities of daily living (ADL's): bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, transferring, maintaining continence. The goal of long term care support services is to help you maximize your independence at a time when you are unable to be fully independent.
A. The costs vary by region in the country. Home care typically averages about $18.00/hour for a home health aide. An 8 hour visit per day will cost about $4500/month. Private nursing care averages about $7000/month. Costs are expected to approach $200,000/year by 2028 due to expected rising care demands of aging baby boomers.
A. You should consider long term care insurance if you have assets and income you want to protect; if you want to avoid burdening children or other family members with care giving issues in the future; if you want to receive high quality care with dignity in a setting of your choice; and if you don't want to rely upon or can't qualify for government Medicaid.
A. There are four core building blocks to a policy: The monthly benefit, the benefit period, the waiting period, and inflation protection.
A. Premiums are based upon age, health and marital status, as well as the benefits you select. Because there are numerous options with a long term care insurance policy that will determine the premium, it is difficult to generalize. The inflation option choice may be the most important driving factor in the premium. This is why it is important to work with an independent long term care insurance specialist like Jack Lenenberg with Balanced Insurance Group. You can see the premiums with every company in the country, and select the policy that is right for you.
A. Healthcare costs increase every year. For most policyholders who are healthy enough to qualify for a policy, the need for long term care services is likely 10, 20 or 30 years away. To properly protect assets and income it is important to grow your long term care insurance benefits to keep up with inflation.
A. For individuals under the age of 60, an automatic compound inflation factor of 5% is strongly recommended.
For individuals over the age of 65, either a 5% simple or a 5% compound could be considered. For 70 year old+ applicants, either 5% simple or a Guaranteed Purchase Option (GPO) is reasonable.
A. Great question. Most group long term care insurance policies have significant cutbacks in home care benefits. Typically, the home care benefit is only 50% or 60% of the nursing home benefit. Also, many group plans do not offer an automatic 5% inflation option with the plan. Group plans typically only offer a guaranteed purchase option to attempt to keep up with inflation. Guaranteed Purchase Options is a critical mistake in plan design for any individual under the age of 65. If automatic inflation is an option, we have found the group plans are terribly overpriced.

The bottom line is that a single individual in good health will almost always be able to receive 100% home care benefits with an individual policy for the same or less premium than what is offered in the group plan. For married couples, an individual policy is a much better value due to the marital discounts offered which can approach 40%. There is only one advantage to a group plan. If you are uninsurable due to adverse health history, then a group policy is a great deal if no underwriting is involved.

To find out if you are insurable, call us at 770-753-3939.
A. I think it is very important.  Keep in mind that you may have the policy for 15, 20, 30 years or more.  You want the company to outlive you, and pay your claim when you need them to.  I think it is very important to only work with very large companies with assets in the billions, and at least an 'A' rating by AM Best.  Better yet, A+ or A++, if possible.
Please contact us at 770-753-3939 for current financial ratings and quotes.
A. The best time to apply for long term care insurance is when you have decided you are concerned about long term care, and are healthy enough to be approved for the policy. Premiums are more affordable at younger ages, and it is more likely that you will be approved.
A. Very possibly. Every long term care insurance underwriter has different guidelines. You might have just applied to the wrong company. Or worked with the wrong agent. We will let you know immediately of your options.
A. The owner of Balanced Insurance Group, Jack Lenenberg, is recognized nationally as a leading producer of long-term care insurance. Jack Lenenberg has received the National Long Term Care Insurance Sales Achievement Award recognizing Jack as the #1 asset-based long term care insurance agent in the United States. When you are working with Jack Lenenberg for long term care insurance planning, you are working with an experienced and knowledgeable professional. Contact Jack Lenenberg today at 770-753-3939 for a quote.
Terry Savage: Make a gift of long term care
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Time Magazine: Thinking long term
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Investing vs. buying long term care insurance
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10 tips for talking to your aging parents
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2008 cost of long term care survey
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Kiplinger's: 6 steps to buying an LTC policy
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