Revisit disability coverage as you get older

Consider the risks if you choose to drop a disability policy.

Q: I am a family physician in my late 50s with a disability policy I've had since I started practice. I'm thinking of dropping the policy and replacing it with a long-term care policy. Is this a good idea? What would happen if I am injured before I turn 65?

A: You probably won't want to drop your disability policy altogether, but now would be a good time to consider whether you need all the disability coverage that you have. Actuarial statistics show that as you get older, you are less likely to be in a situation that would require disability coverage, and even if you are, you may have acquired enough assets to replace your earned income until age 65, when most disability policies cease paying benefits.

The chances of your needing some type of long-term care services, however, are significant. A long-term care insurance policy transfers from you to the insurance company the risk of having to use your retirement savings for care, or worse, depending on children or family members. Policies generally cover home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, and nursing home and Alzheimer's disease care facilities.

The bottom line is that as you start looking toward retirement, you need to consider the best use of your insurance premium dollars. Understanding what benefits are available will help put you in a better position for retirement and meeting the ever-rising costs of healthcare.

Send your money management questions to medec@advanstar.comAnswer provided by Andrew Rhea, JD, an adviser with WealthPartners LLC in Ridgeland, Mississippi.