Want long term care coverage? Now is the time

Now that you’ve voted for who you want to represent you in Washington, and maybe the state house, it’s time to take care of the most important person in your life: You.

You may love your spouse, adore your kids and worship your parents and that’s as it should be.  But  you won’t be able to do them any good if you get seriously ill, have an accident or require long-term care next year. Crippling medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country, but federal workers and retirees and their survivors can avoid financial ruin if the worst happens — if they pay attention to the benefits open season that runs through Dec. 18.

Between now and then you can pick the best health plan for you and yours. You can also get long-term care insurance that will provide coverage, in a facility or at home, if you need it. It’s also the open season for the federal vision and dental programs. Nobody likes to think about long-term care coverage but most people should, like now. Why?

You can apply for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program any time during the year. But normally there is a 40-question application with health questions that you must answer, and you have to agree to access of copies of your medical records. New employees can use the short abbreviated application with seven questions within 60 days of being hired.

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If you are older and have medical issues that is huge. It means it will be much easier for more people to qualify for coverage. The Office of Personnel Management determines open seasons for FLTCIP and nothing has been planned at this time.

Each year the government spends big bucks getting out information to members of the federal-military community about health insurance and other benefits. Experts say that 40 percent of those covered could get the same or better insurance at a lower cost — if they shopped around, which, most don’t.

How about you? Are you in the same health plan you joined in 1989? If you are a working fed, probably. If you are retired, almost certainly. People hate to shop for health insurance just as they hate to even consider that they might someday need long term care for a long, long time.

The problem is that only between 5 and 6 percent of those eligible for the federal programs switch plans or check out the other coverage (long-term care, dental and vision) each year. Meaning that a lot of people are paying more than they should because their plans have changed, as in much higher rates over the years. And that many people who will need long term care insurance in the future have no coverage to pay those bills which, under the current FLTCIP, amount to $20 million per month!

Today’s episode of the Your Turn radio show deals with the other benefits available during this open season: Dental insurance, vision insurance and long term care insurance. Our guests are Joan Melanson and Paul Forte of Long Term Care Partners. You can listen live at 10 a.m. EDT on www.federalnewsnetwork.com or 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. area. Then, starting Nov. 14 we will have Walton Francis, who literally wrote the book on federal health plans, on the show every Wednesday during open season.

The show will also be archived on our home page so you can listen anytime. As always, if you have questions send them to me before showtime at: mcausey@federalnewsnetwork.com

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

In 2018 the countries with the 10 fastest internet speeds were, from fastest to slowest, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Romania, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hungary and Jersey. The U.S. came in 20th place with 25.86 megabits per second. By comparison, Singapore’s speed was 60.39 megabits per second.

Source: Business Insider Nordic