Whether or not they prepared financially for it during their working years, the need for long-term care is a reality that most seniors must eventually face. Every situation is different, but most people as they age will either need long-term care themselves or find that their spouse needs it. Without proper planning, that can be a sobering truth indeed.
Long-Term Care Insurance Options for You
A 2017 study by Genworth Financial shows that long-term care, independent of medical bills, costs seniors anywhere from $18,000 a year (adult day care) to $97,000 a year (private room in a nursing home). And it’s a scenario the majority of seniors will face; about 70 percent of 65-year-olds will incur some type of long-term care costs in their lifetime, at an average cost of $138,000 per person.
For those who start thinking about long-term care resources in their ‘50s, purchasing a long-term care insurance policy could be a prudent option. But the premiums generally cost between $2,500 and $5,000 a year, and a senior will need to keep paying for the insurance after retirement. As with all insurance, it’s a gamble to theorize whether the expenditures in your younger years will be worthwhile, since no one knows how healthy their retirement years will be.
Other Options for Long-Term Care
Another option, and a relatively new product, is a life insurance policy with a long-term care rider. These policies are structured to allow for life insurance payouts when the policyholder is younger and has beneficiaries to protect, which will turn into long-term care coverage in that person’s later years. The rider accumulates the most value when entered into in a person’s ‘40s or ‘50s.
When a senior faces a dire need for long-term care, other options do exist to help fund that expense even if that individual didn’t plan for it in his earlier years. Some seniors liquidate assets like houses and cars, which they no longer need if they are moving into a care facility, to pay the bills. Others, if their assets have become depleted, can use Medicaid to help pay for continued care. But those who don’t wish to drain their resources or find themselves restricted to Medicaid-accepting facilities might find themselves in a bind with a pressing need for an alternative income source.
Life Settlements for Long Term Care Needs
Enter life settlements, in which seniors sell unwanted life insurance policies and receive a cash windfall that can be used for long-term care needs. Not every individual qualifies for a settlement, but declining health can often increase the odds that a settlement will be favorable. To learn whether you or your loved one could pursue a life settlement, try Magna’s simple life settlement calculator, or schedule a call with one of our specialists today.
New Bill HR 7203 Would Allow Life Settlements to Fund Long-Term Care
A new bill being weighed by the U.S. House of Representatives would make provision for the tax-free rollover of life settlement proceeds into tax-free accounts dedicated to long-term care. The bill, H.R. 7203, was sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchand (R-TX) and referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on November 30.
H.R. 7203, known as the Long-Term Care Account Act, would provide a significant benefit for seniors who are facing the daunting costs of long-term care. If those individuals have a life insurance policy that is no longer serving them, the bill would permit them to easily use the money from a life settlement to fund an assisted care facility, in-home care or other treatments deemed medically necessary.
The provisions of the Long-Term Care Account Act include
Tax-free transfer of funds
The tax-free transfer of funds from a life settlement into accounts used exclusively for long-term care expenses. That money can be used for long-term care insurance or any “qualified health expenses” that a medical practitioner would recommend to treat health impairments or maintain health for retirees.
– As long as the distributions from life settlements into the long-term care accounts are used for their stated purpose, they will be exempt from any tax. If funds are used for unauthorized purposes unrelated to long-term care, those expenditures will be subject to both income tax and a 20 percent excise tax.
– If the funds distributed to the accounts from life settlements are not spent on long-term care expenses, they can remain in the account untaxed until the death of the account holder and that person’s spouse.
H.R. 7203 is a win-win for seniors
The Long-Term Care Account Act is a win for seniors looking for new revenue sources, pairing the prime opportunity of a life settlement with the pronounced need of long-term care. Rising health care costs during retirement are one of the chief reasons people over 65 investigate life settlements, and the passage of this legislation would link the two in a way that will provide tangible benefits to Americans seeking to make the most of their retirement years.
Please don’t hesitate to urge your elected representatives to support this important bill. For more information about life settlements or the pending legislations, you can contact a Magna representative by scheduling a call today.
Skyrocketing Premiums Present Challenge For Universal Life Policy Holders
Older Americans today have many excellent reasons to pursue the sale of a life insurance policy in a life settlement, but one of the most prevalent reasons is the prohibitive cost of paying premiums. And for those maintaining a universal life policy, a recent Wall Street Journal article reports that some are paying double or even triple their original premiums because of an historic drop in interest rates.
According to the piece by Leslie Scism in the September 19, 2018 Wall Street Journal, many policyholders are finding that universal life hasn’t held up well over time, especially when a decade of low interest rates have depleted the tax-deferred savings account linked to the policies. The savings accounts are designed to offset the cost of renewing the insurance each year, but as interest rates have stayed down the accounts have been insufficient to stave off skyrocketing premiums.
The article cited one case study in which a 55-year-old had purchased a $1 million policy in 1988 with an annual premium of $12,000. By the time that individual turned 80 in 2013, the savings account was gone and the premium had jumped to $50,000 a year. In another case, an 85-year-old retired teacher was paying $30,000 a year for his three universal life policies—three times the premiums when the policies were issued.
One expert on the insurance industry, John Resnick, told the Wall Street Journal that many seniors “are sitting on a ticking time bomb, and they don’t even know it.” The article goes on to say, “Universal life is among the reasons Americans are approaching retirement in the worst shape in decades.”
Those who believe they are stuck paying exorbitant premiums while also trying to fund retirement costs like healthcare and housing must be educated about options like life settlements. Rather than surrender a policy, an individual faced with prohibitive premiums might be able to sell his policy for a much higher payout.
Seniors shouldn’t let prohibitively high premiums chain them to a policy that is doing them more harm than good. Depending on the health impairments of the insured and the cost structure of the original policy, a life settlement could yield a windfall considerably higher than the surrender value. When premiums become burdensome or the purpose for originally purchasing the life insurance policy no longer exists, a life settlement can turn a liability into an instant asset.
Providers like Magna stand ready to answer any questions seniors or their advocates may have about life settlements, and they can even access our simple life settlement calculator to determine their eligibility for a sale of their policy.
Designing Spaces on Lifetime Television featured Magna Life Settlements in November! During the episode, an older couple explored the process of a life settlement, the advantages of pursuing a sale of a life insurance policy and the various ways the cash from a settlement can meet the family’s needs during their retirement years. Clay Gibson, Magna’s senior vice president for origination, shared how families can benefit from life settlements.
The Joels, who were featured on the episode, are a retired couple looking to make their golden years golden. Mr. Joel started buying life insurance shortly after the couple got married, but the premiums became too expensive and he was considering either selling or surrendering the policy.
When their daughter Donna Eichner comes over to discuss the possibility, the Joels explain the possible benefits of selling a life insurance policy. Taking a life settlement would allow them to have additional funds for their retirement years. Mrs. Joel speculates on the ways they could use the extra money generated by a life settlement, including travel plans an donating to charity.
Clay Gibson explained, “Life insurance is actually property, and it’s property that can be sold. Half a million insureds are lapsing their policy every year, and that’s half a million insureds that could have come to Magna Life Settlements and received an offer above and beyond what the insurance carrier would have paid them for their policy.”
Mr. Joel enters his information into Magna’s life settlement calculator, and after viewing the results the Joels and their daughter conclude that a settlement is the wisest choice for their family. Their daughter, Donna, said, “I know myself and siblings are well taken care of, and now my parents can do what they want to do.” For the Joels, a life settlement will take an insurance policy that had become burdensome and convert it into a financial asset.
For families who, like the Joels, are seeking to make the most of their financial situation in their senior years, Magna life settlement specialists stand ready to offer information on the benefits of life settlements. Call today to consult with a Magna specialist, or visit the FAQ section of our website for more information on the particulars and process of settlements.
Top 3 Reasons Why Older Americans Are Selling Their Life Insurance for Cash
Americans have more choices than ever—about television shows, car services, or where to get their news, shop, and book travel. So it would follow that seniors seeking financial help during retirement should be informed about every viable option, including life settlements. This option, which can convert an unneeded life insurance policy into a windfall, is becoming better understood and more popular among the over-65 population. There are three primary reasons for this surge in life settlements:
Scarcity of retirement funding
Retirement funding is so vital that most young adults make decisions regarding their late-in-life income in their ‘20s or ‘30s, putting away money each month so that they can have stability during their golden years. Unfortunately, even those careful efforts often yield insufficient funds for the needs during retirement; one recent study showed that the number of Americans over 75 who filed for bankruptcy tripled from 1991 to 2016. More than 62 percent of the respondents in the study indicated that high medical costs were a key cause of the bankruptcy filing.
New tax laws
Several provisions in the March 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have made life settlements a more favorable option, including the doubling of the exemption for the estate tax (to $11.2 million per individual and $22.4 million per couple), the addition of a new tax credit for non-child dependents and the inclusion of premiums in the tax basis, which reduces tax rates on life settlements. The new tax code has allowed those who might not have previously qualified for a life settlement to reconsider their situation.
Better education about life settlements
According to research from the Insurance Studies Institute, more than 500,000 seniors lapse their life insurance policy annually, but ninety percent of seniors polled reported that they would have considered a life settlement if they had been made aware of the option. That statistic is likely to change, as life settlements gain a higher profile and financial advisors take seriously their fiduciary responsibility to make clients aware of the settlement opportunity.
Life settlements can convert an unprofitable life insurance policy into a valuable source of income for retirement, so seniors who might have had a change in circumstance in regard to their policy should investigate a life settlement. For a simple calculator that will allow you to assess your eligibility, visit Magna Life Settlements today.
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