Chris visits the The News and Experts show on Money Monday to talk about state legislation, insurance companies, and how you can take advantage of your life insurance policies.
Chris was recently on The News and Experts radio show and had a fantastic interview. Chris went over several major issues in the life insurance industry, and explained how Life Care Funding is in the process of solving them. But Something we’re all unsure about is how the Life Insurance companies have been reacting to seniors looking to sell their policies rather than throwing them away.
“You know the life insurance industry has been silent on this issue because they realize it sounds very self serving to say, it’s better for seniors to dump these policies and go to medicaid because if they don’t, it’s going to hurt our profit margin.” Chris says. Chris also goes over the Texas bill which recently passed that makes it so that all seniors are aware of this option. Over seven states have passed or currently in the process of passing bills similar to the one in Texas. The Texas bill saves tax payers money by allowing seniors to pay for their care rather than getting on Medicaid. Check out the interview below!
The News and Experts Radio Show
Host: News and Experts, Money Monday
Alex: Your money, what to do with your money, how is your money going to be around for you later in your life, that’s what we’re specifically going to talk about right now with Chris… He is from LifeCareFunding.com. And he’s going to answer the question for us are you prepared for the looming silver tsunami of the healthcare crisis, Chris thank you so much for joining here on this Money Monday on news and experts.
Chris: Alex, thank you for having me on board
Alex: You know one of the things when it comes to especially when it comes to life insurance, I know for myself for the longest time I’ve thought, is life insurance almost like car insurance, meaning lets say I don’t die in a manor or you know am I going to be able to take advantage of it, you know or is it going to be something that’s paid out or is my family going to be able to take advantage of it only after I’ve died, what if I outlive my family and then all of a sudden there’s no one to take care of me, what happens? So please explain I think right now to Tampa Bay in the moment, how there’s a difference now in what people can do and how they can take advantage of their life insurance for their long term care.
Chris: You know Alex that’s right, one of the big issues that confronts seniors that have a life insurance policy, and maybe they bought that policy, 10, 20, even 30 years ago to take care of a young family in case something were to happen to them and they weren’t there any longer. Now all these years later, they’re sitting there in their senior years, they have this policy and so few understand that that policy is actually something that they can convert and turn it into a long term care benefit. If you own a life insurance policy, of any kind whether it’s term life, universal life, whole life, even a group life policy that you might have kept after retirement. It is your legal property. Life insurance policy is recognized as legal property, no different than a home or stocks or any other assets that somebody owns so a person who owns a policy can get use out of it while they’re still alive. They don’t just have to wait to either collect, to have their family collect the death benefit, or potentially even consider lapsing or surrendering the policy because they can’t afford to keep it enforced any longer.
Alex: We’re speaking here to Chris Orestis he’s a nationally known senior healthcare advocate and expert. The website is LifeCareFunding.com and again this is one of the reasons that I wanted to have this conversation on this money monday because, and maybe I’m ignorant, maybe I should have known this Chris, but I didn’t know that your life insurance policy is an actual tangible asset, like you said like your home like a car or something like that. Is that, do most people know this and this is something that slipped past me? Or is it something new, I mean where does this come from?
Chris: No Alex, you are not alone in not realizing that, most people have no idea that this is the case. And here’s the problem, life insurance companies have been making big profits for years from seniors who buy a policy pay their premiums for years and years and years, and then the last 2-3 years of their life when they start looking at long term care, consider dumping the policy. SO many seniors, and I’m talking millions every year in this country, dump out of life insurance policies, either they just stop paying the premiums or they might take a few dollars of cash surrender value that might be sitting in there and the reason is they can’t afford the premiums, or they realize that a life insurance policy, because it’s an asset will count against them for medicaid eligibility. Now the life insurance companies are not motivated in anyway to get the word out, to educate seniors, educate their family members that a life insurance policy is something that can actually be turned into a long term care benefit, so the people out there just don’t know. Life care funding, we founded the company back in 2007, with the mission to go out there and educate people. Get out there and we’ve been out there testifying at legislatures across the country, talking in the media, out there talking at the grassroots level with people at assisted living communities, nursing homes to let them know if you have a life insurance policy, don’t abandon it because it’s something that could potentially be used to help you pay for long term care which can be very expensive.
Alex: You know one of the things too, because I know this was just in the news in Texas not too long ago, where the state of Texas was trying to use this, this particular idea as a way of really dealing with what’s coming up, so how exactly, what exactly played out there Chris.
Chris: Well I’m glad you brought that up Alex is because our company was actually very involved in that. We contributed to the drafting of that legislation, we gave expert testimony we were down there in Austin testifying before the senate, the Texas Senate and what we were there to talk about was this dynamic that so many seniors don’t know that they can do this with a life insurance policy, so a lot of them dump a policy and go right on to medicaid, they become a ward of the state, the taxpayers are picking up the bill to pay for somebody’s long term care and they didn’t realize is that a life insurance policy that they had in their hand might have kept them private pay and allowed them to choose homecare, or one of those beautiful assisted living communities, the form of care they want. So what the Texas legislature did is said you know what? We need to pass a law to make sure that our medicaid department is telling everybody that’s looking at long term care that they have this legal right. That if they have a life insurance policy, they have the legal right to turn it into something to pay for long term care. Texas passed that law, and about 8 or 9 other states now have introduced the same law. We’re talking about Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, some major states in this country now that are all struggling with how to control the cost of medicaid in their states and how to help seniors pay for care, are realizing that there are billions and billions of dollars of life insurance policies out there that seniors are throwing away, just throwing them in the trash and they could be converted quickly and easily to help pay for long term care and keep people off of medicaid.
Alex: That is incredible stuff, it is news and experts on Money Monday, Alex and our host are here with Chris… he is from LifeCareFunding.com and we’re talking about being prepared for the looming silver tsunami of the healthcare crisis, so you know Chris I think the natural question for me to ask then is especially when you’re talking about you know the life insurance agencies having no real motivation, are you now public enemy number one with going through and helping to craft this legislation and letting people know about this? Because it seems, is this something they want known? Like, I gotta imagine you’re not exactly their biggest, you’re their biggest fan right now or vice versa, they’re the big fan of you?
Chris: You know the life insurance industry has been silent on this issue and I think a big reason why they’ve not been out publicly trying to at least in public, in the press, talking about wanting to stop this is because they realize it sounds very self serving to say, you know what it’s better for seniors to dump these policies and go right on to medicaid because if they’re not doing this it’s going to hurt our profit margin. So the insurance companies silently may not like what we’re doing, but publicly they’re not talking about it because they know this is in the best interest of the seniors and their family members, it’s in the best interest of the state taxpayers and the states who are trying to save money on all the taxpayers have to spend on medicaid, and quite frankly it’s also in the best interest of the healthcare system, because the more dollars that you can put into the healthcare system, the higher quality of care there is for everybody to go around. SO it’s a win win win, for the consumer for the provider of care and for the taxpayers of every state.
Alex: And ironically, too I would even think if you’re a life insurance salesman, it’s a win for you, because now there’s this like this additional added value even in a sense. Again, the profit margin might not be the same but you can again come across as the guy that’s very caring, saying I’m very interested in you!
Chris: Alex, don’t confuse the life insurance agents who are out there selling the product with the life insurance companies. The life insurance agents love this approach, they’re out there advising their clients, sometimes even in defiance of the insurance companies that they work for that this is a way to help seniors and families who are struggling with the cost of care, that are looking at a life a insurance policy, that they’re getting ready to get rid of because they don’t know that this is an alternative that this is an option to help them pay for care, the life insurance agents out there have been great. They’re talking about it and they’re helping families to access this kind of a solution.
Alex: Alright so Chris tell me what we need to do because especially here in the Tampa Bay area, obviously being on a … we might be right here in the wheelhouse of people that didn’t know about this but need to take advantage of it, so what’s step number one, what does a person need to do to take advantage of this.
Chris: You know the first thing people need to do is take a look at do they or a loved one have a life insurance policy. Because we talk to families all the time that say you know I think I remember that mom or dad had a life insurance policy and they go back they look and they dig up the fact that they do have one or unfortunately sometimes they recently let one go because they didn’t know they could do this. First thing to do is identify that you have a life insurance policy and then second make sure it’s enforced, make that premium payment, don’t dump out of it, don’t let it go, because it’s only going to, it’s not going to benefit you in anyway if you do that. Then we work with assisted living communities, home care companies, nursing homes all over the US, all throughout Florida, all throughout the Tampa Bay Area. And they will use this as a way to help families fund the care that families are trying to access. If you go to an assisted living community, a homecare company and tell them I have a life insurance policy, I want to do the life care funding program to pay for care, they’ll know right how to get to us we work with them all over the place and it’s a very quick process. It doesn’t cost a family anything, there’s no fees, there’s no charges, it’s a no obligation review to see if you qualify and if you do the process to convert that policy and turn it into a long term care benefit is very quick. And then the monthly payments begin immediately to any form of care that that person chooses that is best for them.
Alex: Wow, again, LifeCareFunding.com, is the website. Hey Chris, thank you so much for the time, again Chris… LifeCareFunding.com you’ve been doing this, again the company has been around since 2007, I know that you have a lot of time and background in the insurance industry and even too for long term care. SO thank you so much for the conversation here on Money Monday.
Chris: Thank you Alex, it’s great to be able to talk to you and get the word out to your listeners.