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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

New strategies ease pain of paying for long-term care insurance

By Kimberly Lankford






Elizabeth McLeod, an investment adviser in Overland Park, Kan., primarily works with people who want help investing for retirement income. But before she draws up an investment plan, she asks her clients what they plan to do if they need long-term care. She tells them that they should factor about $230,000 into their financial plan for potential long-term-care costs -- the current average daily cost of care multiplied by the average claim of about three years.

Even when her clients can afford to pay that amount out of pocket, they usually don't want to.

"They find it hard to stomach the thought of spending that much of their retirement savings," she says. But McLeod's clients don't want to pay today's high premiums for a long-term-care policy, either. Low interest rates and higher-than-expected claims have led most long-term-care insurers to raise rates or leave the business over the past few years. So instead of buying a fully loaded policy that covers all of the potential expenses, her clients are figuring out how much they can comfortably pay out of their savings and buying long-term-care policies to fill in the gaps.

In fact, that's exactly what McLeod did. When she turned 53 this year, she and her husband, Roger Davis, 64, did an analysis of their own finances and bought long-term-care policies from Genworth. They chose to minimize the premiums, but their policy will still protect hundreds of thousands of dollars of their savings.

STRATEGIC CHOICES
Over the past few years, long-term-care policies have become more restrictive and premiums have spiked. Generous benefits -- such as lifetime payouts and 5 percent compound inflation protection -- are extraordinarily expensive or have disappeared from policy menus. But every year a new wave of baby-boomers watch their parents and aging relatives write checks for more than $7,000 each month for care -- blowing through their retirement savings.


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Financial advisers know that long-term-care costs can be one of the biggest threats to a retirement plan. If you don't deal with the long-term-care risk, "it can decimate the plan," says Keith Moeller, a CPA and wealth-management adviser with Northwestern Mutual in Minneapolis.

With the cost of long-term-care insurance soaring, however, many people are taking a new approach to covering the risk. McLeod and Davis each bought a policy that provides a daily benefit of $100, which increases by 3 percent per year compounded. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home in Kansas City is $157 per day, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, but the couple figure they can afford to pay the difference from savings.

They pay about $3,000 per year for the two policies combined, including a shared-benefits rider, which can provide total benefits of up to $300,000 (in today's dollars) if they need care for up to eight years between the two of them. If Davis needs care for, say, two years, then McLeod could still use six years of coverage.

Adding shared benefits tends to increase premiums by about 10 percent to 15 percent but can extend the benefit period for one spouse. Even though the average claim is about three years, people who need care for a longer period tend to need it for much longer -- sometimes a decade or more if they have Alzheimer's disease.

Some insurers offer policies with benefits that rise with the consumer price index, and such policies can cost a lot less than ones that offer 5 percent compound inflation protection. A 55-year-old who wants a three-year benefit period, a $150 daily benefit and a 90-day waiting period would pay $4,320 per year for a John Hancock policy with 5 percent compound inflation protection; for coverage that rises each year with changes in the CPI, the annual premium is $2,175.

Another key feature is the insurer's home-care requirements. It's better to buy a policy that doesn't require you to use only licensed caregivers from an agency, who tend to cost more than informal caregivers. McLeod and Davis's policies allow them to hire anyone other than a relative.

"If you're in a nursing home, it doesn't matter very much what company you use -- they send a check. But home care is where the rubber meets the road when I evaluate a policy," says Mike Ashley, of Senior Benefits Consultants, in Prairie Village, Kan.

Also, look at how the policy counts days of care toward the waiting period, which is often 60 or 90 days. Some policies start the clock as soon as your doctor certifies that you need help with two out of six activities of daily living (such as bathing and dressing) or have cognitive impairment. Others count only the days that you receive care. Note that if you use less than your maximum daily benefit, you can extend the benefit period.

Some insurers are a lot stricter than others about which medical conditions disqualify you for a policy. John Ryan, of Ryan Insurance Strategy Consultants, in Greenwood Village, Colo., recommends that agents review your medical history and then find companies likely to provide the best deal for someone with your health conditions. For his clients, Ryan tends to work with Genworth, United of Omaha and MassMutual. John Hancock, New York Life and Northwestern Mutual are also big players in the long-term-care insurance business.

Premiums vary wildly, so it's essential to comparison shop. Recently, a policy for a 55-year-old with a $150 daily benefit, three-year benefit period and 3 percent compound inflation protection had an average premium of $2,110, but there was a 50 percent difference between low and high premiums, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance 2012 Price Index. To find agents who can offer quotes from several companies, visit the association's Web site. .

MORE CHANGES ON THE WAY
Last summer, Genworth made some big changes to its policies: It discontinued preferred-rate discounts in most states, shrank the couples' discount from 40 percent to 20 percent, and discontinued lifetime benefits and limited-pay policies (such as policies that are paid up in 10 years).

The company plans to make more changes with a new policy in 2013 -- and because Genworth is the largest long-term-care insurer, many companies are expected to follow suit. The company will switch from unisex to gender-specific rates, which will cause rates to rise for women buying coverage on their own (Genworth expects rates to even out for couples). The company will also expand medical underwriting, so your health will play a bigger role in the premiums you pay.

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Kimberly Lankford is a Contributing Editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance.



All contents copyright 2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.

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