Amy Grant, a pop singer famous for starting out in gospel, is promoting long-term care (LTC) planning through a campaign organized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., recently hired Grant to help it educate consumers about insurance.
The first major, high-profile effort in the campaign is a press release aimed at "boomers in the Sandwich Generation."
Many boomers are "simultaneously preparing kids to leave the nest, caring for elderly parents and planning for their own retirement," the NAIC says in the release, which was distributed through PRNewswire.
"Last year, my sisters and I cared for my mom while also juggling our roles as wives and mothers," Grant says in a statement in the release. "Fortunately we all had the support of our husbands and kids. Our family was blessed not to have the financial concerns that often accompany this situation, but I know everyone isn't as lucky. Caring for my mom as she passed away really changed the way I began to think about my own future and that of my children. I think it's important for others to prepare for the inevitable twists and turns heading our way on life's journey. The NAIC is a great resource to get the facts and plan ahead so you can focus on what matters when life's challenges come your way."
In one section of the release, the NAIC says some consumers may want to buy LTCI coverage to protect themselves against a chronic, disabling health condition.
About 70% of "people 65 or older will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, and it can be expensive," the NAIC says.
The NAIC notes that care in a nursing home can cost around $80,000 or more annually, and that many consumers incorrectly believe that regular health insurance or Medicare will pay for LTC services.
"On average, Medicare only covers about 2%, while private health insurance covers about 1% of nursing home costs," the NAIC says.
The NAIC says consumers may be eligible for Medicaid LTC benefits.
"Your age, health status, retirement goals, income and financial assets all are key considerations in determining whether the purchase of private long-term care insurance is a smart choice," the NAIC says. "Since premiums and health issues increase with age, advisors recommend purchasing a policy before you turn 60. However, since 79 is the average age people enter a nursing home, make sure you can afford the premiums for an extended period of time. Research the company and agent selling the policy, as both must be licensed in your state. Also find out if your state participates in the Long-Term Care Partnership Program, which allows private long term care insurance coverage while maintaining Medicaid eligibility. Check with your state insurance department for details on what is available where you live. Check out NAIC's free long-term care buyer's guide and online quiz for more help with this decision."