87% of Older Americans Would Prefer to Receive Long-Term Care at Home

A recent Sun Life Financial survey found that a growing number of Americans aged 50 and older are concerned about future long term care, Sun Life Financial Inc. recently revealed. This prompted the corporation to introduce Sun Care Whole Life (WL), which it describes as a single premium whole life insurance policy with a linked benefit that owners can apply to long-term care costs, including for in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home facilities.

The policy, which is currently available in 39 states, may provide a long-term care benefit equivalent to as much as three to seven times the value of the policy owner’s single premium, depending on factors such as the riders selected, age, gender, and smoking status, says Sun Life Financial.

“According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 70% of people over 65 will eventually need long-term care, often for daily activities, such as eating, bathing, or getting dressed,” Janet Whitehouse, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sun Life’s Individual Life Insurance Division, said in a statement. “We want to help people prepare, so if they ever need long-term care—they have more freedom to pick the level of care that suits their needs, and the costs don’t have to erode their retirement savings or estate assets.”

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The policy will also provide an income tax-free death benefit for beneficiaries of policy holders who pass away without using their long-term care benefits. And, if the policy holder so chooses, Sun Care WL also offers an optional return-of-premium feature, for an additional fee, which would allow the insured to recoup the value of their original premium.

“Once the policy owner pays the single premium, the policy is guaranteed to provide a benefit, either to the individual or the beneficiaries,” said Bob Klein, Vice President of Strategic Planning for the Sun Life’s Individual Life Insurance Division. “This offers several possible advantages over traditional long-term care insurance, which only provides a benefit if the client makes a long-term care claim, requires ongoing premiums to fund the policy, and provides no death benefit if a policy owner never needs long-term care.”

Some of Sun Life Financial’s key findings in the survey include nearly 60% of those polled being worried about long-term care costs and whether or not they’ll be able to afford them;  an unclear idea of how much long-term care actually will cost; an 87% preference by older Americans of receiving long-term care at home as long as it doesn’t place too great a burden upon loved ones; and willingness to live a shorter life if it means receiving long-term care at home rather than an extended lifetime in a long-term care facility.

Overall, says Klein, it’s important to plan for, instead of panic about, long-term care.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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