Policy Proves Useful Early On: Long-Term Care Insurance

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After working as a Chief of Staff to a Senior Member of Congress, running a national trade association, and serving as a partner in a lobbying firm, Jim Afton retired from a long and prestigious career in government service. He thoroughly enjoyed his various appointments on Capitol Hill because he had the opportunity “to represent so many people, to really work in a people business.”

Marie, Jim’s wife of many years, was a housewife and stay at home mother to the couple’s four children. After retirement, Jim and Marie decided that it was time to start investigating long-term care insurance options: “After our children left home, and we began to get older, it was pretty obvious that something could happen and leave one or both of us incapacitated, so we began to review long-term care policies. We didn’t know much about long-term care insurance, which was a fairly new concept at that time, but we knew we wanted a substantial company that we could depend on.”

After evaluating several policies, the Afton’s, when Jim was 74 and Marie was 71, chose a GE Capital Assurance Policy, which they purchased through EndDependence, a company that offers independent, long-term care insurance policies, as well as other elder care financing solutions. Mr. Afton relates, “When I purchased the policy I was thinking of Alzheimer’s, a traumatic accident, or something life threatening happening to one or both us.”

However, less than three years later, when a chronic back condition left no option but surgery for Marie, Mr. Afton found himself looking to his long-term care insurance company for much needed assistance. He first called his long-term care insurance agent and explained his wife’s condition. An expert care coordinator came to visit the Afton’s the very next day and determined the type of care Marie would require during the month prior to surgery and throughout the four month recovery period. After receiving verification from Marie’s doctor, the insurance company arranged to have a caregiver assist the Afton’s: “The caregiver helps my wife out with the activities of daily living and cooks and cleans. She even helps my wife do therapeutic exercises. We couldn’t have done it without her,” affirms Jim.

Marie’s surgery is now complete and she is recovering in the comfort of their home with the continued assistance of her caregiver. Although the experience has been stressful for both Jim and Marie, Jim relates that the assistance they have received has been, “A very pleasant experience in an unpleasant situation.” Mr. Afton is delighted to share his satisfaction with his purchase: “We have been particularly pleased with how nice and easy the people with the insurance company are to work with. They have shown a genuine interest in our situation and a strong capability to manage it. We have been nothing but pleasantly surprised, and it was well worth the money!”

To individuals who are starting to plan for their retirements, Jim advises: “Everyone should consider purchasing insurance earlier. I would like to say that I’m a great planner, but we really lucked into doing the right thing. Obviously, the hope is when you purchase your policy that you will never need it, but the security that it affords, whether or not you use it, is really comforting.”

In addition to security, the real life options that long-term care insurance has provided have been incredibly comforting during Marie’s illness. It was important to the couple that Marie remain in their home both before and after surgery, and their insurance policy has made that possible. The Afton’s continue to live in the comfort of their own home, and Jim has the pleasure of watching Marie get stronger and healthier with each passing day.

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