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Carol Bradley Bursack, Published August 10 2008

ND kit offers useful info on long-term care insurance

Dear Readers: Some of you in North Dakota have received a brochure from the Department of Health and Human Services titled “Own Your Future: Planning for Long-Term Care.”

This is not a sales brochure, so you’d be doing yourself a favor if you looked it over. I encourage you to order the free kit that is offered. Don’t think you are old enough? You are. There’s information for boomers as well as seniors that can help you decide if you are a candidate for long-term care insurance and, if you are, there is advice on how to proceed.

The kit includes an interesting and useful CD, as it highlights real people and their situations. At first I thought the CD would be a rehash of the brochure, but it isn’t. It is worth a listen.

This is a project of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. I am a North Dakota resident of, um, a certain age, so I received the brochure at home. I decided to order the kit to see if it provided good information for a column, so I dropped the included post card in the mail and forgot about it. In a couple of weeks, I received a packet at home. Around the same time, I also got one at work, likely because of this column, so I’m doubly blessed.

The packet from North Dakota contains a very good insert with North Dakota-specific resources, including phone numbers. I checked the Web site so I could see what Minnesota offered, and Minnesota is not one of the states that is ready with their state-specific insert. Don’t let that stop you.

You can order your own kit (and get abundant information) from the main site at www.longterm

care.gov/campaign. The Web address www.aoa.gov/

ownyourfuture will also take you there. The phone number is (866) 752-6582. TTY users should call (800) 427-5605.

With the help of the kit, many people will find that long-term care insurance is not for them. However, there are many who will find they may benefit from LTC insurance long before they thought it would have been on their radar.

Many older people with health issues will find LTC insurance hard to get unless it is offered by an employer or group. But don’t rule yourself out without reading the brochure and listening to the CD. You may find a way to make your future more secure.

It’s worth your time to make a call or download your kit just to get the information for other resources you may need. There’s also a useful worksheet to help you make some choices.

The price is right. The procedure is easy. LTC insurance may be something you should look into, even if you are just 40. Or, maybe not. Is it a good move for your elder? That’s not too likely. However, if you get the free kit, you’ll at least feel more educated on the issues before you go searching for an insurance agent, if, indeed, that is what you should do.

Bursack is the author of a support book on family elder care. To submit questions to “Minding Our Elders” and view past columns, go to www.

inforum.com and click on columnists. Readers can reach Bursack at cbursack@forumcomm.com or write her at The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.