Recently, I spoke with John Bramham, a long-term care specialist, for the past 17 years, John has been educating clients about the importance of Long Term Care insurance, as he prepares for his Out Impact Professional Teleseminar later this month (July 29, 7p EST), I talked with John about what long-term care is, its importance to the LGBT community, and the need of all people – young and old – to take note of their future needs.
Out Impact (OI): What is Genworth Financial, and how are you and it involved in the LGBT community?
John Bramham (JB): Genworth Financial is the U.S.’s largest Long-Term Care Insurance provider and a Fortune 500 company. We’ve been providing this protection longer than anyone else, for 35 years.We have paid out over $6 BILLION in claims to our clients.
OI: How long have you been providing this protection personally?
JB: I have been educating clients about long-term care for 17 years..I n 1994 I sold my first policy to a gay couple.I realized that gay and lesbian couples are particularly concerned about protecting their assets and NOT being a burden to there partner.
OI: Oh, so you must be the expert, then. Tell us, what is long-term care protection?
JB: I prefer the term educator. Long Term Care insurance can help protect your assets, help maintain your financial freedom and give you the options necessary to receive quality long term care whether at home, in an assisted living facility or a nursing home.
OI: Okay, so how does the protection work?
JB: You qualify for for covered benefits when you need assistance with at least TWO of the SIX activities of daily living which are transferring being unable to get from point A to point B without assistance, bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and incontinence. Or you need substantial supervision because of a severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Dementia is becoming a major problem as Americans are living much longer due mostly to modern medicine. You do not die from the stroke or heart attack but you may be left needing considerable daily care.
OI: So why would one need this protection?
JB: The problem with long-term care is that this is the one cost that can financial ruin you, potentially spending every penny you’ve saved during your lifetime. Long-term care comes about today because we are all living so much longer. At the time of the Mayflower, the expected age was 45. In 1920 life expectancy was 72,now in 2010, many clients live into there mid 80′s and beyond. average length of care is 3.5 to 4 years but Dementia and Alzheimer’s can go on for many more years. The national average median cost for one year in a private nursing home room is $$74,208.00. BUT it gets worse because if you do not require care for 15, 20 or even 30 years the estimated cost in 20 years is $202,871.00 FOR ONE YEAR FOR ONE PERSON. So potentially for a couple it could cost over one million dollars.
OI: Really? So how does this need compare to the needs of home, car owners, or life insurance?
JB: It is as important as life or home insurance. When you buy a house or a car, you get insurance. The chance of your home burning down is 2%, a car crash, 15%. The likelihood of one person in a couple needing care is 90%. Also, if you crash your car or home you can replace it. If long-term care impacts you, you only have two choices – have protection or write a check every month, which is what people do. In North Carolina, where I work, that amount is $6,000 per month. If you are writing that same check in 2030, it will be $12,000 monthly. This is why so many people spend all of their money, end up on Medicaid, and end up with a lien on their home, which is sold when they pass on, all to pay for the care.
This is the biggest financial impact on your life. I meet with people every week and they tell me that their parents lost everything. “My mom needed care” or “my dad needed care” and they spent everything and ended up on Medicaid and the government sold their home. There are currently 77 million baby boomers and it’s only going to get worse.
OI: Wow. So, why do you make a special commitment to the LGBT community, and why is long-term care important to this group?
JB: The first people I wrote long-term care protection for were gay. With my dealings with gay people, they tend to be very good savers, and they also like to travel. Most importantly, they want to take care of each other over the lifetime. Genworth Financial understands this,under our policy the term “couples” not only applies to spouses but also to two people who meet our criteria for living together in a committed relationship and sharing basic living expenses. We offer a 40% DISCOUNT for married or partnered couples with a 10% discount for those in good health so you potentially can save 50% each for a couple. Rates are calculated at the age you apply,your health,the coverages you choose. You MUST also build in an inflation rider to the policy so the benefits chosen today keep pace with the rising costs.I ALWAYS recommend a 5% compound rider.
The effort to get involved with the LGBT community is being made by primarily by me. I live in Asheville, North Carolina and we have a pretty large gay community that is not being looked after in terms of long-term care. More importantly, I want to get the issues out there so that the community understands the impact long-term care can have on their lives and finances.
OI: How does protection differ from state to state?
JB: Well, every year Genworth Financial does an annual cost of care across the nation and we know exactly what is the cost of care across the nation and they are very different. It really depends on not where you live but where you plan to retire. In North Carolina, the current cost is $71,175 per year; in Connecticut, the cost is $137,000. So if you talk to people, you should know where you plan to be. Ten years ago, people used to say Florida, but that’s not true any more. Florida is a still very popular destination but the cost for care per year is about $82,000 there.
OI: How much does this protection cost in general?
JB: That depends on your age, health, how much a month you need for care and how long would you need care. When we meet with potential clients, we have to find out what the couple’s financial situation is and how much care they can afford to pay. If the cost of care is $6,000 per month, and most couples can afford to pay only $1,000 per month from their savings, they may get protection to cover the other $5000 per month or what is appropriate for that couple. Most of my clients pay annually as they save 8% (much more than an annual certificate of deposit) over the monthly premium.My main job is to educate clients and then help them DESIGN a plan that will meet their NEEDS and BUDGET. It is also important to remember that if you have a healthy couple or partners who purchase long-term care, they can save 50% and basically cover two people for the price of one.
OI: How does one get this protection?
JB: I offer free consultations and people can do it over the phone. If they are in North Carolina or South Carolina, I can meet with them in person and offer a free consult. We usually start on the phone to find out their situation and health.Or we can do it over the internet.Once the plan is decided upon an application which can be done on line,is completed. We will get your doctors records and primarily base an acceptance or decline on your history.In older clients a cognitive interview is conducted to ensure the clients do not already have Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
OI: What are some of the misconceptions that people have about long-term care and long-term care protection?
JB: One of the biggest misconceptions is that Medicare will take care of you. Medicare actually only pays for what is called skilled care. Skilled care is defined by three things – being in the hospital for at least 3 days, being under a doctor’s care, and improving or getting better. If your condition is worsening, you get no coverage. Also, it pays 100% of costs for only 20 days and then a portion of the next 80 days. After 100 days, it pays nothing. Long-term care is called custodial care, and Medicare and its supplements pay 0.
Medicaid is made for people with no assets or have spent nearly all their assets. People needing long-term care go bankrupt and then end up on Medicaid. With Medicaid, a person cannot have home or assistant living access– he or she can only be supported at a state nursing home. Overall, the biggest misconception is that the state will take care of you.
OI: What is the main message that you want to get across to all of Out Impact’s readers and followers?
JB: The main message is that we’re trying to prevent a disaster, not cause a disaster. If you have a couple, there is a 90% chance that one of you will need care. In 20 years, that cost will be about $600,000. How will you pay for it?
If you get long-term care protection whilst you are younger and healthier, it’s relatively cheap. There is much more interest today than there was 10 years ago; it is being recommended by financial planners now, they recognize that it is a need. But word still needs to get out there.
OI: I think so, too. What will people be able to get out of your July Teleseminar with us on July 29th at 7p and how can people contact you for more information?
JB: With the July Seminar, people can get a lot of their questions answered, and they will have an opportunity to ask questions as well. I don’t know what the audience will be, though, so it should be interesting. For any other questions I can be e-mailed at email@example.com. Or you can contact me at 864 770-5602 or 828 713-5803. Please always leave a message stating your name,phone number and best time to call back if I do not answer. Your call will be returned.
OI: I look forward to it. Thank you for chatting with us.
JB: Thank you for your interest and time.
OI: Readers can participate in John Bramham’s special teleseminar free as part of our Out Impact Professional Series on July 29th at 7p EST:
1) Phone Number to Dial:
(919) 4245871 (on Jul 29th)
2) Enter Conference ID:
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About Gregory Davis: Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Gregory Davis is a 2010 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia with a degree in psychology. Currently interning in New York City, Gregory will begin a joint studies program in law and social psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL in the fall of 2010. Gregory plans to use his J.D. and PhD to continue his studies focusing on identity development in LGBTQIQ people and how social and legal forces help (or hurt) that process, with particular emphasis on queer racial minorities. Gregory hopes to use his research to advocate for the queer community through social policy, law, and social commentary. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys creative writing, the cinema, and fitness.
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