Health And Life Insurance Tips For The Sandwich Generation

In a pickle over how to support your adult children and care for your aging parents while also securing a stable retirement for yourself? You’re not alone.

This demographic of baby boomers is also called “the sandwich generation” and has its own particular dilemmas when it comes to financial planning for the future. Sandwich boomers may be simultaneously struggling with how to pay for college for their children while wondering how to help their parents fund nursing home care — and stressing out over an inadequate retirement plan for themselves.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC[1]) has joined the chorus of financial advisers warning boomers to start preparing for retirement, the sooner the better. A major component of that is making sound insurance decisions, says the NAIC. By doing so, the 76 million Americans considered boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, can decrease their future financial risk.

Taking care of you

“Securing affordable health insurance is one of the greatest obstacles to retiring before age 65, when you are eligible for full Medicare coverage, but there are several options to consider,” says Kevin McCarty, NAIC president and Florida insurance commissioner, who says that about 2.5 million boomers turned 65 last year.

The NAIC has these suggestions:

  • Converting a group plan. If you are still employed and have a group insurance plan through work, but expect to retire soon, find out if your company has a group plan for retirees or if you can convert your plan to an individual policy.
  • High-deductible plan. These types of plans require high out-of-pocket payments, a minimum of $1,200 for an individual or $2,400 for a family, so you should be in good health and be able to afford the expense if you opt for one. You’ll also pay for most appointments and prescriptions through a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account, but the plan will provide coverage for major medical care such as surgery or disease treatment.
  • Qualify for PCIP. Under the health reform law[2], health insurers starting in 2014 will not be allowed to deny coverage or charge you a higher premium because you have an illness or health condition. Meanwhile, you may qualify for Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP[3]) if you have a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for at least six months. These policies provide comprehensive coverage, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, prescription drugs, home health and hospice care. Also, you won’t pay higher premiums due to your health condition.
  • Consider long-term care insurance. Seventy percent of people age 65 or older will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, which can cost an average of $80,000 a year, according to the NAIC. You may want to buy long-term care insurance (LTCI) if you don’t have the financial resources to pay for care should you need nursing home services or later suffer from a chronic condition or disability. However, be aware that currently many insurers are limiting benefits provided under LTCI policies and other carriers are dropping out of the sector altogether.

The lowdown on long-term care insurance

Still, it may be wise to evaluate LTCI options because Medicare typically only covers about 2 percent of nursing home costs and private health insurance pays for only about 1 percent of nursing home costs. Depending on your income and assets, you may be eligible for your state’s Medicaid program, which will cover some long-term care expenses.

It’s also recommended that you buy an LTCI policy sooner than later, ideally before age 60, because premiums and health risks rise as you grow older. However, since 79 is the average age at which people enter a nursing home, according to the NAIC, make sure you can afford the premiums for an extended period of time. (See: “Tips for buying long-term care insurance amid rising rates.[4]”)

Before buying a long-term policy, the NAIC recommends you research the company and agent to make sure both are licensed in your state. Also, determine if your state participates in the Long-Term Care Partnership Program, which allows private long-term care insurance coverage while maintaining Medicaid eligibility.

Taking care of your parents

The NAIC says 71 percent of boomers have at least one living parent, and about 13 percent are raising a child while financially helping their parents. Nearly 10 million boomers over 50 are caring for a parent. There are ways to ease the financial burden, according to the association:

  • Help your parents enroll in Medicare prior to age 65. Assess coverage and obtain Medicare Supplemental Insurance if needed.
  • Evaluate your parents’ Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care by looking at their income. If they don’t qualify for Medicaid, consider a long-term care insurance policy or a life policy with a rider or accelerated benefits provision that could help cover nursing home care.
  • Assess your parents’ life insurance status. If they have life insurance, find out where the policy is kept and who is listed as beneficiary. If your parent doesn’t have a policy, a Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance policy may be an affordable option to cover funeral costs.

Taking care of your kids

Under health reform, children may stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. Additionally, if your child no longer depends on you financially, then it’s a good time to review your life insurance policy. You may be able to save money by reducing your life insurance coverage.

The original article can be found at Insurance.com: Health and life insurance tips for the sandwich generation[5]


  1. ^ NAIC (naic.org)
  2. ^ health reform law (www.insurance.com)
  3. ^ PCIP (www.insurance.com)
  4. ^ Tips for buying long-term care insurance amid rising rates. (www.insurance.com)
  5. ^ Health and life insurance tips for the sandwich generation (www.insurance.com)

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  1. Reply

    Health Tips…….? Well i’m looking to become more healthy with my life and my habits. I’m not trying to loose weight just be healthy. Any tips…..like water tips or ways to avoid the unhealthy foods? ….also any fun activities or workouts?…..once again i’ll remind you i’m not looking to loose weight just become healthy =]

      • HealthNut
      • August 12, 2012

      Eat healthy, no fast food or junk food, and remain active !
      A little exercise (30 mins) everyday is all you need.

  2. Reply

    Health Diet Tips To Keep Myself Skinny And Healthy? I am 115lbs and I am 13. I was wondering if anyone had any health tips to keep myself healthy.

    I was looking into this diet where I would start with eating protein and gradually work my way into eating my fruits and vegetables. Does anyone know what this diet is called?

    (Please, No comments with additude. Any other comments will be appreciated. Thanks so much!)
    Also, I don’t want to be on a diet plan (Such as Weight Watchers). Thanks!

      • HealthNut
      • August 12, 2012


  3. Reply

    Any Health Or Beauty Tips You Know About Weightloss, Looks, Health Etc? I want to try and be heathlier and feel better about myself because at the moment I have really low self esteem and I want to know any health tips you guys can give me.
    – How to lose weight safely
    – How to brush your hair or teeth properly
    – How to apply makeup
    – A good cleanser that won’t harm your skin.

    Basically just anything you know about being healthy or anything you can think of.

    Person with the most tips gets best answer!

      • HealthNut
      • August 12, 2012

      Hi Kara!

      I have dealt with this problem of weight lose (and low self esteem too!) for a couple of years now. But now I reached a point where I know if I will not do something for myself, no one will do it…So, here is a list of some questions/ideas that I think you will find useful and by answering to these question you will have some ideas on what to work on.

      1. Make the time to focus on health.

      2. Take a long hard look at what you are putting into your body.

      3. How much are you eating?

      4. Drink WATER!

      5. How much do you move each day?

      Hope you will be ok soon!



  4. Reply

    How Can I Get Healthy? -Health Tips? This year, I made it a point to become healthy. I have lost some weight and got rid of some acne.

    I really want to be healthy, and make sure that I look healthy.

    Can you give me some all over health tips?
    Im a teen girl by the way.

      • HealthNut
      • August 12, 2012


      The best advice I can give you is exercise daily and eat well. Eat at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Try to cut out as much sugar and snacks as you can manage. Drink plenty of water. Exercise for about 30 minutes a day, remember this does not have to be running a million miles and lifting 10 ton weights. Walking is an excellent form of exercise and is great because you can walk briskly around shops whilst looking at really cute outfits!

      I hope this helps!

  5. Reply

    Do These Health Tips Actually Work? 1 apple / day – no doctor
    1 lemon / day – no fat
    1 cup of milk / day – no bone problems
    3 ltrs water / day – no diseases…

    Also what are some losing weight health tips?

      • HealthNut
      • August 12, 2012

      No, these health ‘tips’ are actually myths. It’s all very healthy to do that, but no.

      To lose weight, all you can really do is exercise more and eat healthy and try to keep your calories at around 1600 a day. It’s good to drink homemade lemonade that tastes pretty sour and not sweetened very much- it’s good for your metabolism. Tea is good, fruits and vegetables are good. It’s a great time to get active because it’s summer and you’ll sweat more, which is awesome for your body to flush out toxins and such. I like making fruit smoothies and adding spinach or kale (you can’t taste it and it’s so good for your body- not to mention filling). When you snack during the day, only snack on ‘raw’ foods like fruits and vegetables, or maybe a few almonds.

      Good luck!

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