Women's Retirement Radio

Corey Rieck - The Caregiver Series Part 4 - Episode 47

January 03, 2022 Russ Thornton Season 3 Episode 1
Women's Retirement Radio
Corey Rieck - The Caregiver Series Part 4 - Episode 47
Show Notes Transcript

A few weeks ago, one of my listeners suggested a series of conversations on what it means for a woman to become a caregiver.

So I'm happy to share the 4th installment in "The Caregiver Series" with Corey Rieck, owner of The Long Term Care Planning Group, an insurance firm focused solely on long term care insurance solutions.

In this conversation, we address the pros and cons of utilizing long term care insurance to address a caregiving situation.

For more on Corey and his work, please go back and listen to our conversation in episode 25.

Get in touch and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

And thank you for listening.

Visit my website to learn more.

Disclosures

Russ Thornton:
Hey everyone it's Russ, and welcome to another episode of Women's Retirement Radio. Today I'm excited to be joined by Corey Rieck. Hey Corey, how are you?

Corey Rieck:
I'm great Russ. How are you doing today?

Russ Thornton:
Doing good thanks. And so Corey's joining me today to talk about an important topic that is part of this ongoing series that I'm working on around caregiving. And as you can probably imagine when you're thrust into a caregiving role, whether that's for a spouse or an aging parent, you maybe don't have a lot of time to plan ahead. You're probably kind of more in reaction mode, but in the event that you do have the option to think and plan ahead, clearly the economics, the finances and how you finance pay for care can play an important component in how you make decisions and are able to care for your loved one, as well as care for yourself, because it can help take the burden off of you.

Russ Thornton:
And so Corey is kind of my go-to expert in all things long-term care insurance. And so that's why I wanted to have him on just to talk for a few minutes today about the role Long Term Care Insurance can play in a caregiving situation. So for those that aren't familiar, Corey joined me a few episodes back, episode 25, we spent an entire, probably 45 minutes, close to an hour actually talking about Corey, what he does, how he does it, but Corey, for those that haven't had the benefit of listening to that. Could you give us like quick 30 second intro to who you are and what it is you do?

Corey Rieck:
Sure Russ, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be on your show here. What I do is, our organization helps individuals, families, executives and their families own their future further by understanding and implementing long-term care. Since 2001, I focused solely on this as a result of multiple personal experiences and we use all the carriers, so we're not tied to anyone. And so what we do is we marry up the client to the carrier and the right instrument that fits them underwriting wise and also how they want to fund.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, thanks for that. A couple things you've mentioned that I want to highlight. A, you're a broker, so you're not an agent you're not tied to one specific carrier or one specific company, meaning for your clients, you can shop around and find the best coverage for a person's situation. And B, you mentioned that you've got some personal life experiences that really impacted your decision to go on long-term care. I know the story you've shared with us before has a lot of moving parts and details, but could you give our listeners just a quick kind of highlight about your personal family history?

Corey Rieck:
Yeah, sure. My mom and dad considered this in 1980. My dad was a very successful dentist in a small town, but they dismissed the idea and the next year my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So they found out that, Hey, if you're not healthy, you don't get it. And we're fond of saying in our company, money pays for it, but your health buys it. And that's one of the things that people may not necessarily understand. And so my dad retired in 1998, was my mom's primary caregiver. And it did change the dignity of their relationship, unfortunately, and then in November 2006 he calls me at the office and he says, "I have some news." I said, "What's that?" He said, "I have stage four esophageal cancer." And he died on Father's Day of 2007. I never dreamed my mom would outlive my dad, but she lived almost 10 more years to the day after he died.

Corey Rieck:
And our expenses for her were about 70,000 a year. So it's $700,000 that could have easily been addressed with the leverage that a Long Term Care Insurance policy provides. And I think my dad had, he written the check probably would've paid three or $4,000 for one or two years. And most of that $700,000 or all of it, would've been a carrier's responsibility as opposed to us. So I'm the executor, and we closed up the estate and that's $700,000. That didn't go to myself, my siblings or me. Me personally, it doesn't bother me because mom lived the way that she wanted to live. It was her money. But the fact remains, had they written a check for three or $4,000, that money, that $700,000, would've been someone else's responsibility, the carriers and probably not ours.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Thanks for sharing that, I think that really drives home the point that you bring some personal experience and history and motivation to helping people with this. And let me be clear, this is not a pitch for Long Term Care Insurance, but we do want to educate you about the fact that it can be a valuable tool in your planning for retirement in your later years. Something you mentioned, Corey, that I, again, I want to kind of underline is that I hear oftentimes from clients that one of their biggest priorities in life is they don't want to be a burden on their children. And I'm not saying that that was the case here, but clearly you and your siblings had to pick up this cost that could have otherwise been covered or at least shared by some planning around Long Term Care Insurance or things like that. So you might consider that this is not just insurance for you, but it's also potentially helps later generations, your children or maybe even your grandchildren, depending on your financial circumstances.

Corey Rieck:
Yeah. I like the fact that you brought up the education theme because this isn't for everybody, but I think it's really important and crucial for people to understand what it is and where it fits in. The timing may never be right for people but they certainly have to stand in and get their questions answered and figure out what it is. And maybe more importantly what it isn't.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. And speaking of that, let's be clear. So a lot of people mistakenly believe that once they get to age 65 and are Medicare eligible, that Medicare is going to pick up long-term care costs. It's my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, Corey, that Medicare can cover up to 60 days I think it is, maybe in the wake of a hospitalization or something like that. But beyond that, Medicare is not there for long-term care needs or coverage or expenses. So could you maybe talk a little bit about the role that Long Term Care Insurance can play as a compliment to Medicare or other health insurance?

Corey Rieck:
Yeah. One of the things that's really important is that people understand what Medicare and their private health insurance, what their role is versus long-term care. And Medicare care in private health insurance, they're going to help you and provide care when there's an expectation of improvement. And they're going to be delivered by somebody with a lot of training many times a medical doctor, a registered nurse, or a physical therapist. And there's expectation of improvement. Long term care is used when, hey, we're not getting better, we're just going to make the person comfortable. And so we like to give the analogy that they're like [inaudible 00:07:03]. Health insurance, Medicare, they're going to help you get better. They're delivered when there's an expectation of improvement, but those things stop when the client isn't improving. And then it's a little bit, it like a relay race.

Corey Rieck:
Then the Baton maybe is handed off to long-term care, and then maybe there's somebody to help out and make the client comfortable. But Medicare will pay for the first hundred days, but there's some very specific metrics that need to be made. Generally you have to be under a care that's so inherently complex that's to be delivered by a licensed medical professional. You have to have a 20 day hospital stay. You have to be getting better and that's not long-term care in my experience. And so many times that's missed. And so if those metrics are met, then Medicare generally will pay for the first 20 days. And then from days 21 to a hundred, there's a copay usually, but remember it's health insurance. And that's a far different issue than long-term care.

Russ Thornton:
Got it. Yeah. Thanks for that explanation. And since there's a variety of people that are listening or watching this of different ages and different circumstances in your experience, Corey, is there a good time in life or a good age at which people should really start to seriously consider long-term care or at least maybe explore it and see if it makes sense for them?

Corey Rieck:
Yeah. I think if somebody's had a prior experience for us, it's one of the most powerful predictors if anybody does anything about this. If they've gone through it, they already know all the stuff we've talked about probably or most of it. We start educating people right around the age of 40, but if somebody is... I've had people in their thirties and their twenties come to me and buy the insurance because they've been through it. So the one thing to keep in mind of course is that variable of health. And while we're not trying to sow fear, it's a variable that we have to be clear on because on the individual market, people are fully underwritten. They look at 10 year medical history, they look at 10 year surgical history and medications the client has taken, or is taking.

Corey Rieck:
And so if somebody is clean, they have a lot of options but if they're not, if their medical history is more involved, the options can perhaps be more limited. As long as somebody is healthy, we've helped 80-year-olds that have very, very clean my history. One of the things that comes up is the cost and the cost is a product of the person's age, there can be a two or 3% premium difference between each year and age it's a product of the underwriting class that they're in. And it's also a product of what kind of a plan they want. To draw the analogy of a vehicle, if I have a Chevy pickup that has 200,000 miles on it, that can get me to and from, but it's probably not as classy as driving a Mercedes S class or a Bentley.

Corey Rieck:
So there's a range in how the plans can be set up and the plans can be custom built to meet any expectations of budget or certain plan design. And really people want to know, "Well, what are my chances?" And so I look in my family and right now they're a hundred percent. But I would hesitate to give somebody a two to three year life expectancy that's often discussed about at the nursing home. The life expectancy in a nursing home is usually about two to three years but what people sometimes miss is that usually people are somewhere else first for a period of time, a period of years in their home. And in many cases making their caregivers as chronically ill as they are. So we try to get people to understand three things and this isn't for everybody, but agreement number one is really, "Hey, is it your expectation that you're going to live a long life?"

Corey Rieck:
And if you look at family longevity, if you look at how people are paying attention to their health and are they going to their doctor appointments, or are they taking their medications? Are they working out? Are they taking the stairs and not the elevator? Are they eating this and not that, and you have the watches and stuff to track activity and so on. In most people that answer is yes, but this is predicated on people being reasonable. And I think most reasonable people think that they are going to live a long life and here's the other thing we found out with medicine, the medicine has really gotten very good and it's always been very good, but 40 years ago in Waseca, Minnesota, in the old country, if you had a heart attack or a stroke, you died and that's not so anymore.

Corey Rieck:
And a big part of that is how we live in the information that's out there, but it's also the expertise in the medical profession. And so agreement number one is, "Hey, is it your expectation that you'll live a long life?" And if they agree on that, then the second agreement we try to get is, "Hey, is it reasonable to that if you live long enough that you'll need some help at some point." And so rather than debate or argue, we try to help people grasp that. Okay, the longevity thing, it's kind of a good news, bad news thing, and agreement number three is, "Okay, well, if there's a long-term care issue and its associated challenges present itself to you, do you realize this really isn't about you anymore because your life isn't going to change, someone else's does."

Corey Rieck:
And it's about the people emotionally and physically that have to pick up the pieces and have to drop what they're doing. And my brother and sister bore the brunt of that with my mom and dad. Many times with no notice, many without regard to what they wanted to do with their free time. They all work, they have kids. And so there's more variables there for them than I ever have because we don't have kids. And then finally there's a secondary set of issues beyond the emotional and physical and that is financial. Somebody has to pay for it. And so I think it's really about, we have to be good enough to create an error of consultative engagement where people can speak freely and get their questions answered.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. You covered a lot there. One thing I want to pull out though, is the idea of self-care for the caregiver. Clearly if it's your spouse or an aging parent, you want to give them the care and attention and make them as comfortable as possible. But you also want to make sure that you don't endanger your own health, mental wellbeing, financial status in an effort to take care of your loved one. So it's about striking a balance and trying to care for everyone involved, which is easier said than done.

Corey Rieck:
Yeah, you're a hundred percent right about that and that's sometimes, somebody that's been through it, we would, in our case, I live in Atlanta here, same city that you live in my parents lived in Southern Minnesota. My brother and sister lived in St. Paul 120 miles away roughly. And so if you're in the same city, delivering care can be challenging. But you throw in that curve ball of geography, Russ, it adds an additional level of complexity and of course in Minnesota, in the winter the roads can be impassable. That was a significant variable, I think for us and of course my mom with her circumstances really couldn't help my dad. Not because she didn't want to, but because physically she was unable and my dad was six foot three and 250 pounds.

Corey Rieck:
So, that's an additional layer of complexity. And I think the other thing here is that we all have busy, busy lives I think. I'm not going to say that my life is busier than the next person. I think that's presumptuous and probably rude, but we all have things we want to do. And one of the things that long-term care provides is a game plan. And somebody that does it every day can say, "Hey, Russ, here's the next thing that's going to happen with this client. Here's the way I'm going to get out ahead of it." They can anticipate things, they can deal with things and they have the expertise. Just kind of like what you do with your clients, with the market and investing. Russ you know all the questions you're going to get asked.

Corey Rieck:
So you can prepare and you're comfortable with, you can make everything conversational, but if you don't have the training, it adds an additional layer of complexity. And I found myself many times trying to help out. And I realized that I had three pots of coffee that day, but I hadn't eaten anything. And I think if my dad were here, he'd say, "Well it's not going to hurt you to miss a meal or two." But the point is, it's easy to get so engrossed in trying to figure out, What's the next thing and how can I be valuable and how can I help? And how can I make my loved one comfortable? And you kind of forget about yourself.

Corey Rieck:
Having a long-term care plan, first of all, it's taking a wholesale approach to this, as opposed to retail. My family took the retail approach and I told you the numbers on that. If you take a wholesale approach, you might buy a plan for several thousand dollars a year or whatever budget you set to that. And it can provide usually hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what you pay in care if you need it. So the leverage is not to be not to be dismissed.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Well listen, first of all Corey, thank you. Always enjoy talking to you and I'm really happy that you could join us for an installment of this series on care giving. I think that while we probably just scratched the surface on all the moving parts, I would encourage anyone that's listening to or watching this to go back and listen to episode 25, where Corey and I did a much deeper dive and covered a broader array of topics related to long-term care, caregiving, things of that nature. So, Corey, thank you. If people want to learn more about you or get in touch or start a dialogue around their situation and how you may be able to help, what's the best way for people to get in touch?

Corey Rieck:
Yeah, they could give me a call on my mobile at (678) 814-5088, or they can email me at [email protected] this is all one word, thelongtermcareplanninggroup.com either way, we're happy to help and answer any questions that folks may have.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. And that's Corey is C-O-R-E-Y for those that want to reach out and I'll be sure to include your number, your email and your website in the show notes for this episode. Before we wrap up, any closing thoughts, anything else you want to add before we wrap it up today Corey?

Corey Rieck:
I think you've done a great job of setting this up and I think people have questions. You need to find someone that's going to answer your questions and is going to help. And part of that is realizing what this is, but also realizing the timing, it may or may not be right, but you have to engage someone that is going to spend the time with you and answer your questions and tell you kind of how it all fits into your overall picture.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, couldn't agree more. Great place to wrap things up. Thanks for joining us today everyone. And look forward to catching you on the next episode of Women's Retirement Radio. Thanks.

Corey Rieck:
Thanks Russ, appreciate it.