For the past few weeks, Chris Orestis has been jumping from station to station spreading the word of Life Insurance Settlement. His tour most recently brought him to the station, This Week in America.
Chris is nearing the end of radio tour, but he has something different for us today. Chris skype called This Week in America’s Ric Bratton for an interview The setting of the interview was different and so were the topics. Chris and Ric talked about how Life Care Funding can really help people and how the life insurance companies make profit from putting you onto medicaid. In Part 2, hear about how Life Care Funding helped a family struggling with the costs of care for a loved one– in their own words. The interviews are not too long and are filled with information that you need to know about your Life Insurance and paying for long term care.
The This Week in America interview is hosted on Youtube, check it out below!
Part 1: (17 min, 39 sec)
Part 2: (30 min, 54 sec)
Rick: Welcome back everybody, this week in America and the blue funk broadcasting radio network… with us on the program today. Website this week in America.Us. As mentioned on the program today Chris… he’s the CEO of life care funding which created the model for converting life insurance policies into protected long term care benefit funds. He’s a pioneer in the industry. Chris welcome to this week in America. Great to have you with us on the show today.
Chris: Thank you Rick it’s great to be on
Rick: Such and important topic and one we often don’t think about. Lets start off by talking about long term care. How many of us will eventually need some type of long term care?
Chris: You know studies show, and the sad thing is too few people have any awareness about what is in their future when it comes to long term care, senior care, whatever form it may be. But 75 to 80% of people over the age of 65 are going to need to pay for some form of long term care in their lifetime and potentially for multiple years.
Rick: You mentioned pay for. How expensive is this? I’ve seen numbers and they are staggering.
Chris: Oh yea, the typical American who even has saved enough money to potentially last them one year would drain all of their savings in that first year trying to cover the costs of senior care. If you’re looking at home care or an assisted living community or even a nursing home at a private pay level, you’re talking about some serious costs associated with paying for those services. Assisted living home care for the most part is a privately funded scenario. Medicare, Medicaid will pay for some things, primarily Medicaid will pay for a nursing home stay, usually that means that person will be going into a nursing home that’s chosen by the state and would end up sharing a room with somebody else. IT’s not the best scenario that people are looking for as opposed to something like home care or assisted living in a beautiful retirement assisted living community.
Rick: Our guest on the program is Chris… he is the CEO of life care funding. His website is lifecarefunding.com. We’re talking about long term care. Lets talk about, you’re the pioneer in long term care benefit plans. Lets talk about that exactly what that is. And I think many of us will be surprised that we could actually qualify for this.
Chris: Well that’s right Rick. What people don’t realize is if they own a life insurance policy, it’s an asset that they control and they have the legal right to convert it into a long term care benefit plan. A long term care benefit plan in essence is trading in the life insurance policy and taking that death benefit and converting it into a living benefit. For example, somebody with a 100,000 dollar life insurance policy that they’ve been carrying for 10 20 30 years, in the last years of their life as they’re looking for how to pay for long term care, might get to a point where they’re thinking it’s time to get rid of that life insurance policy. Either stop paying the premiums or maybe there’s some cash surrender value that they’re going to surrender the policy for. They don’t realize that instead of that they might be able to get anywhere between 20 and 60% of that death benefit in the form of a long term care benefit. It’s locked up in a protected account. It’s an FDIC protected account, that will then only be used to pay for their care keeping somebody private pay and giving them the option to choose the form of care that they want, for potentially years.
RIck: So what you’re saying is, is if I have a life insurance policy and things get difficult and I need to provide long term care for myself and I’m having a real struggle financially, it’s pretty easy to say I’ve gotta let the life insurance policy go. At that point … the life insurance company is off the hook and I’ve just given up my key to being able to afford long term care.
Chris: Rick that’s right. We talk to so many families who are facing that very scenario where they’ve been paying for a life insurance policy with premiums for years and years, they bought it when they were younger to protect their family in case something were to happen to them, but now that they’re older, their children have grown up and moved on, they still have that life insurance policy, the don’t realize that it’s actually a financial vehicle that can help them pay for care so they’re dumping those policies by the billions of dollars every year in this country. Seniors are just abandoning those policies. And when they do, that is a windfall for the life insurance company because they’ve collected premium payments for years, but if you let the policy go, that means they don’t ever have to pay you anything back in the form of a death benefit, you’ve walked away from the policy.
Rick: Rather than dump you’re talking about converting. What type of life insurance policy are we able to convert?
Chris: Any form of life insurance can be converted whether it’s a term life policy, a universal life, a whole life, even a group life policy somebody might have hung on to after they retire. Any form of life insurance will qualify to be converted into a long term care benefit. And once it’s converted, the person who is the beneficiary of that policy conversion can choose any form of care they want. Home care, assisted living, nursing care, memory care, whatever they want, they’re in control because they’re private pay using their funds as opposed to government funds such as medicare and medicaid which will tell you what you need to do as opposed to you choosing what you want to do.
Rick: Many of us would figure that term insurance the only thing that it’s good for is if I die. It’s not like the whole life where I from time to time would feel like that’s maybe more of an investment, although people say don’t consider it that, more of an investment. But you’re saying a term policy can be converted as well.
Chris: Absolutely term life policies in any form. We see term life policies all the time, families that have had them for years and they’re getting ready to get rid of them, instead within about a 45 day, 30 to 45 day period, they convert that policy into a long term care benefit that’s able to then immediately meet their needs. And to be clear, this conversion option really is for people with an immediate need for care. THis is not something that somebody would do because they’re thinking they might need care in 5 or 10 years. This is really for people who are receiving care now and are running out of money or people, but for the fact that they can’t afford it, would be getting the care today. The people we work with are looking to receive care almost immediately if not are already in the process of receiving care.
Rick: We’re talking with Chris… He is the CEO of life care funding.com. His website is lifecarefunding.com. It’s a great website, all sorts of information will answer the questions we will not be able to get to because of time today. You can go to the website, lifecare funding.com. Lets talk about the enrollment process. You said something interesting this is designed for people that are really in great need. If I’m in great need, I don’t want to wait 6 months to go through and application and enrollment process that type of thing. How difficult is it to enroll and what type of timeframe are we talking about?
Chris: It’s actually a very simple process to enroll. Usually as I said it takes 30 to 45 days. There are no costs to enroll, there’s no enrollment fees and also this is not a loan so you’re not going to be incurring fees and paying interest and having to pay anything back. This is simply taking an asset that you already own and converting it from a death benefit into a long term care benefit and then applying that towards your care. So over the course of that process, for most people who are trying to get into long term care within a month or so they’re able to secure the form of care that they’re looking for using this process by converting the policy.
Rick: How do we determine how much I can actually use for long term care and then the distribution, the monthly benefits.
Chris: You know the range that conversion values will come from using a policy conversion… this can be a low of 20% of the death benefit to a high of 60% or better. The range will vary based on the care needs, the type of policy, those kinds of factors are looked at as part of an actuarial process to determine what today’s conversion value of the policy is, and then the range of what people can spend on a monthly basis for care really is dependent on what they need. We have some families who only need to fund a portion of their care because they have some of the money in savings but just not all of it. Others are looking to fund 100% of their care out of the benefit. Over the course of that benefit period, there’s also a funeral expense portion that’s preserved for every family so if they outlive the benefit which by the way if they do they can then go on to Medicaid because this would not make them ineligible for future medicaid unlike say a policy loan where somebody who would do a policy loan and use the policy as collateral, that policy is going to count against them later for medicaid eligibility. In this scenario it’s not and there’s a funeral portion of benefit that will be there to help the family as well.
Rick: What if the enrollee dies before they go through the money that’s been converted?
Chris: Well Rick that’s a great question. If there is a balance in the account because somebody were to die, well say half way through their benefit period, half the money was still sitting in the account, that would immediately go to their family as a final expense benefit which we have seen happen from time to time. So instead of throwing away a life insurance policy a family would have had the benefit of the coverage actually being paid for and they’ve preserved a portion of the death benefit because whatever was leftover in the account went right to the family.
Rick: You’re listening to this week in America with us on the program today is Chris… he’s the CEO of life care funding. His website is lifecarefunding.com. Great information, there at our website thisweekinamerica.us and link on with Chris and get some of that information. Is this available in all states? Or are you fighting this battle in different states now.
Chris: This is available in every state. This is the legal right of every life insurance policy owner to be able to access this conversion option. But here’s the problem. Too few people know about it. Like I said if a person lets a policy go that’s a big windfall for the life insurance companies. So for them, there’s no motivation to go out and inform consumers that this is an option that they can use for their life insurance policies. So what we’ve done is we have gone out around the country and our mission has been to make sure people know about this and what started happening this year is states started to pick up and realize that they could help their citizens choose the form of care that they want pay for it using an asset they already own and delay having to go on to medicaid which saves the taxpayers of their states a lot of money. States have started introducing laws around the country mandating that the medicaid departments in their states have to inform people that this is an option that they can access. Texas just a month ago was the first state in the country to pass into law this mandate that the people of Texas need to be informed of this option. There’s about 10 other states including Florida, New York, California, New Jersey and some others that have also introduced this bill and to take this approach to help people pay for care and help keep them off of medicaid which just about all people don’t want to have to go on to if they can figure out to avoid it.
Rick: Just to clarify some people may think well I keep getting these insurance policy things for long term care and buying insurance. We’re not talking about long term care insurance here?
Chris: Absolutely this is completely different than long term care insurance. THis is taking an existing life insurance policy which literally tens and tens and tens of millions of Americans own and turning that into a long term care benefit. So the vast majority of people have never bought long term care insurance but a lot of people have bought life insurance and this is a way to take that life insurance and put it to use while you’re still alive.
Rick: You mentioned before and this is interesting, that some people will say, Ok I can borrow against my life insurance policy to pay for these expenses if i need to, and you’re saying no no no that’s not the way to go, you do not need to make this a loan.
Chris: Yea you can avoid having to do a loan, and you can avoid it becoming a future problem for you when it comes to medicaid eligibility if that becomes something that’s necessary over the course of the senior’s time in long term care which for many seniors that will become a reality at some point, they will have to look to medicaid to pick up for some period while they’re in long term care. If you do a policy loan, the problem with that is the policy becomes collateral against the loan. It stays an asset in your name, and when you go to apply for medicaid that asset is going to count against you as part of the asset tests that you need to pass to be able to get on to medicaid.
Rick: Among the testimonials, one that I don’t fully understand this, but you’re talking about it there, they used a policy to help with the medicaid spend down. So this is something that you can actually work with people so they’re not impacted, so when it comes time and they need medicaid, they will qualify for it.
Chris: That’s right, and that happens with families that we work with all the time. They’ll use this program for months if not years, but when their benefit comes to an end, they’re able to make a seamless transition over to medicaid because this is a medicaid compliant problem.
Rick: It’s interesting in looking at the testimonials as well and this has to be a great benefit when you’re doing this job and you’re seeing success stories for families literally their lives are changed. Family member … alzheimer patient in a facility, they’re paying for, they didn’t really care for the facility, because being able to convert they were able to move the gentleman closer to home, it worked out much better for everybody. When you hear stories like that and people are saying, thank you for turning me in to this, it has to be very gratifying.
Chris: It is, it is for me and for everybody in our company. We get thank you letters and calls from families all the time because they didn’t realize that they had something in their hand that was going to help their situation. And people across this country are struggling with how to pay for care, how to even understand the different forms of care. People just are not well informed about this, they’re not prepared financially for this, so when we are able to find a family that has a policy and often times are just about getting ready to abandon that policy, and they learn that it’s actually something that can be turned into a way to pay for care, take care of themselves or a loved one and turn their situation around. It really is very gratifying for us. We love to hear from families, we hear from them all the time. We post their stories on our website, in fact we’ve got more and more who are starting to submit stories to us, recorded, we are going to be putting those on our website so people can actually hear first hand from those families and how something like this made a difference in their lives. It really is at the end of the day, if you can help people, then you know you’re doing a good job in terms of what your company’s mission is out there in this country.
Rick: The website is very simple, lifecarefunding.com. Chris… has been our guest on the program. He’s the CEO of the company, the company’s been around since 2007, mentioned that Chris is a former life insurance lobbyist and senior health care advocate. Former life insurance lobbyist, they still invite you to industry functions? Or are you sort of like I wish that Chris would just go away?
Chris: I have to say that when it comes to the life insurance industry, I may not be their most popular person, but I’m not concerned about the insurance industry, what I am concerned about is seniors, and what we’re doing is fighting for senior rights and advocating for the best way to get seniors the care that they deserve. That’s who we’re concerned about and that’s who we focus on.
Rick: Just about 30 seconds left. So basically what you are saying is something that most of us, many of us have, and we may be thinking about giving up so that we can get long term care in terms of medicaid, actually that’s our key to paying for this. We have it right there and most of us don’t even know it.
Chris: Millions of seniors are holding the solution in their hands if they own a life insurance policy they just don’t know it and what we’re out there trying to tell everybody is, if you have a life insurance policy, don’t lapse it, don’t surrender it, look first into this option. Look first into turning it into a long term care benefit that can put you in control making decisions about the form of care you want, whether it’s in your home, an assisted living community, take control, maintain dignity in your life, you deserve, it’s your asset, it’s your right, don’t throw that policy away.
Rick: You can find out more information in the privacy of your own home, very quiet. You just go to lifecarefunding.com, get all of the information, of course when you need to you can talk to Chris or a representative there. It’s Life Care Funding, the website is lifecarefunding.com. Chris… has been our guest on the program, Chris we’ll check back from time to time and good luck, I know that you’ve been talking to a number of state legislatures and trying to get the word out across the country. Best of luck with that and we look forward to having you back on the program.
Chris: Rick, thank you I look forward to coming back.
Rick: Again the website, lifecarefunding.com, of course you can go to our website thisweekinamerica.us and link up and get all the information. You’re listening to This Week in America, and the blue funk broadcasting radio network.