FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOOMERS IN THE SANDWICH GENERATION FACE COMPLEX
Singer Amy Grant partners with the National Association of
Insurance Commissioners to encourage baby boomers to plan ahead
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2012) — Today's 75 million
baby boomers lead hectic lives. Many are part of what's called the
“sandwich” generation, simultaneously preparing kids to leave the nest,
caring for elderly parents and planning for their own retirement. These
roles can present complex insurance decisions for these consumers and their
As a wife, mother of four, and caregiver for elderly parents,
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Amy Grant knows first-hand why
understanding your options and planning ahead are key to successfully
navigating the unique challenges facing her generation. That's why she is
partnering with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
baby boomers to get smart about choices they encounter in this
complicated life stage.
“Last year, my sisters and I cared for my mom while also juggling our
roles as wives and mothers. Fortunately we all had the support of our
husbands and kids,” says Grant. “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
Many of the everyday financial choices boomers face come with complex
health and life insurance implications. The NAIC can help boomers decide
what coverage they need for their stage of life whether it is caring for an
ailing parent, thinking about health insurance for a college-age child or
planning for retirement.
Research suggests 50 percent of boomers are caring for youngsters at
home while providing primary financial support to one or more children over
18. Many of today's boomers find themselves simultaneously researching
college campuses for their children and nursing homes for their parents,
and trying to figure out how to cover both costs. There are a few insurance
options that may be helpful:
- Confirm your child
can remain covered by a current health insurance policy until age 26;
college-bound students may have additional individual health
coverage options through the school or a nearby insurer.
- If a child has
completed college or is no longer financially dependent, review your life insurance
policy to determine if you can decrease your life insurance coverage.
- As your child plans
to leave home, it is a great time to think about your needs. If you're
not sure you have the resources to cover your own care in the event of
a chronic health condition or disability, long-term
care insurance may be a way to reduce the potential financial
- Almost 70 percent
of people 65 or older will need long-term care services at some point
in their lives, and it can be expensive. Care in a nursing home can
cost around $80,000 or more annually, and, of those who enter a
nursing home, more than half will stay longer than a year. Many
incorrectly believe regular health insurance or Medicare will pay for
these services, but on average, Medicare only covers about 2 percent,
while private health insurance covers about 1 percent of nursing home
- Depending upon the
level of your income and assets, you may be eligible for your state's
Medicaid program, which will cover some long-term care expenses.
- 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. 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.
Caring for Aging Parents
Thanks to advances in healthcare, 71 percent of today's baby boomers
have at least one living parent. In addition, slightly more than one out of
every eight baby boomers are simultaneously raising a child and providing
some form of financial assistance to their parents, and nearly 10 million
boomers over 50 are caring for an aging parent. Being well-informed about
health and life insurance choices for your parents may help ease your
- Make sure your
parent enrolls in Medicare
before they turn 65, and review their total coverage to determine if
there are any gaps. Medicare
Supplement Insurance – also known as Medigap plans – are available
for additional coverage. There are 10 standardized plans ranging from
letters A to N; additional coverage and costs increase as you move up
the alphabet. NAIC has a free Medigap
plan guide to help you learn more.
- If your parent needs
nursing home care, determine if his/her monthly income meets your
state's eligibility level for Medicaid.
If your parent does not qualify for Medicaid, find out if he/she has a
insurance policy or a life policy with a rider or accelerated
benefits provision that might help cover nursing home care.
- Check to see if your
parent has a life insurance policy and familiarize yourself with the
provisions. If so, store it in a safe place. Know the location of the
policy, who is listed as beneficiary, how claims are triggered and
payout instructions. If your parent doesn't have a policy, a
Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance policy may be an inexpensive
option to cover end-of-life expenses.
Planning for Retirement
Approximately 2.5 million boomers turned 65 last year, making them
eligible for retirement, and more than 72 million pre-boomers are
approaching the same milestone. Securing affordable health insurance is one
of the greatest obstacles to retiring before age 65. There are many choices
- If you are covered
by an employer-sponsored group health insurance policy and planning to
retire soon, inquire whether your employer sponsors a retiree group
plan, or if you can convert the coverage to an individual policy.
Also, compare that coverage with available coverage through your
- If you are in good
health and can afford high out-of-pocket expenses (minimum of $1,200
for an individual or $2,400 for a family), you may consider a high-deductible
plan. This coverage requires you to pay out of pocket for basic
doctor's visits and prescriptions through a tax-advantaged Health
Savings Account, but still provides coverage for major medical care
such as surgery or disease treatment.
- If you have a
pre-existing condition, you may qualify for Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans
(PCIP) if you have been uninsured for at least six months. These
policies cover a range of benefits including primary and specialty
care, hospital care and prescription drugs. They also do not require a
higher premium because of your pre-existing condition and do not base
eligibility on income.
- Depending on your
age and future income, purchasing an annuity
may make sense as you plan for retirement, as annuities typically pay
an income that is guaranteed to last as long you live. Be sure to
consider the investment amount and risk tolerance before an annuity
purchase. Learn more from NAIC's free
guide on fixed deferred annuities.
- Annuities are not
generally recommended to reach short-term financial goals. Understand
the surrender period of the policy and the fees involved to determine
if it makes sense for your life stage.
- Find out if the
annuity allows you to tap into the principal before maturity and if
penalties apply for early access. Before you buy, consider all
purchase fees and tax implications, and make sure you understand the
policy's surrender period. The surrender is how long you must wait
before taking money out of an annuity without penalty.
you are planning for retirement, caring for elderly parents, preparing to
send a child to college or maybe all three, the NAIC is here to help you get
smart about insurance so you can confidently choose what suits your needs,”
said Kevin M. McCarty, NAIC President and Florida Insurance Commissioner.
Visit Insureuonline.org to
find out how to contact your state
insurance commissioner, an unbiased resource for insurance information
specific to where you live. For additional information and tips for
navigating the many insurance decisions facing boomers, visit boomers.InsureUOnline.org.
About the NAIC
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S.
standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed
by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of
Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance
regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and
coordinate their regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts
and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and
internationally. NAIC members, together with the central resources of the
NAIC, form the national system of state-based insurance regulation in the
U.S. For more information, visit www.naic.org.
About Amy Grant
Amy Grant's career spans over 30 years and stretches from her roots in
gospel into an iconic pop star, songwriter, television personality and
philanthropist. Grant has sold more than 30 million albums and won six
GRAMMY® Awards in multiple categories, beginning with the platinum selling
Age to Age in 1982. She also has six No.1 hits, including “Baby, Baby,” and
“Every Heartbeat,” and is one of only two Christian artists to be awarded a
star on the legendary Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Grant released her first
live recording in 25 years with “Time Again. . .Amy Grant Live” in
September 2006, and then announced her first ever label shift to EMI Music
Group where her entire music catalog was re-mastered and released via a
GREATEST HITS CD. In March 2010, Amy released “Somewhere Down The Road,” a
collection of songs about the journey of life and faith. The album debuted
at No. 2 on the iTunes Christian music chart and the first single “Better
Than A Hallelujah” was a Top 10 Christian radio hit and No. 1 on the iTunes
Christian singles chart. Grant is currently in the studio working on a new
record due in 2013. She is married to country star Vince Gill and mother to
their blended family of five kids. For more information, go to www.amygrant.com.