Women's health care planning seen as pivotal

Nov 25, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers have an obligation to help female clients plan for health care needs and expenses, including evaluating the options for long-term-care insurance and Medicare, according to a panel of experts who participated in an InvestmentNews webcast last Tuesday.

“Failing to help clients plan for health care is reckless and irresponsible,” said Thomas West, an adviser with Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC. “There's a variety of different options, but it begins with having a conversation.”

Mr. West recommends asking all clients: “What's your plan, and how are you going to pay for it?”

RELYING ON KIN

Some clients tell him that they expect to rely on their children for care toward the end of their lives.

That response earns a raised eyebrow from Mr. West.

“If your plan is to move in with your kids, then you should probably tell your kids that's your plan,” he said. “It might require a financial solution that draws on the means of more than just one individual.”

Advisers should help clients determine whether they can afford LTC insurance, and get them to consider different options, such as LTC riders on universal-life products and annuity products, the panelists said.

Mr. West has never recommended that a client drop the coverage, he said, adding that the new policies typically aren't as good as the older ones.

If LTC insurance is appropriate, clients should be buying it as early as possible because it affects the costs that they will pay ultimately, said Ron Mastrogiovanni, chief executive of HealthView Services, which helps advisers and consumers estimate health care costs.

lskinner@investmentnews.com Twitter: @skinnerliz

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