By Richard Scott
News of a novel benefit program at one of the largest senior care providers in the nation should come across as a big event for those involved in providing care for seniors. The benefit program takes a life insurance policy and converts it into real cost payments for a number of senior living options.
The provider of the benefit program is Brookdale Senior Living, which developed the conversion policy with Lifecare Funding Group. The hope behind the so-called Long Term Care Benefit Plan, which is now available at Brookdale’s 550-plus communities, is that it provides an alternative method of paying for care needs at a time when the budgets of many families are stretched thin. The original benefit program debuted in the fall of last year.
“The current economic conditions have compounded the problems some families face when it comes to paying for the costs of senior living or long-term care,” said Ron Aylor, a senior vice president with Brookdale. “Most people do not realize that a life insurance policy is an asset that they are legally entitled to convert into another form of coverage.”
The Long Term Care Benefit is different from long-term care insurance. According to Life Care Funding Group, there are no wait periods with the new benefit program, nor are there costs to apply or premium payments. The policy owner can convert an “in-force” life insurance policy to enroll in the benefit plan.
The terms of the benefit stipulate that payments are made directly to the care provider or community, that the partial death benefit is preserved, and that the list of qualifying services includes skilled nursing, assisted living, home health and hospice.
“The Long Term Care Benefit Plan gives people a quick and simple option to convert a life insurance policy’s death benefit into a life care benefit and immediately apply it,” said Aylor.
Across 34 states, Brookdale operates independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, dementia care communities and continuing care retirement communities.