Who are the best long term care providers and reverse mortgage companies?

3 answers | Last updated: Dec 06, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Who are the best long term care providers and reverse mortgage companies?


Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

The best long term care insurance company for you is the one whose policy meets your needs. There are many highly rated carriers that offer long term care insurance, e.g. Genworth, John Hancock, Met Life, to name a few. While the financial strength of the company is important, the features and services offered are equally important.

The best way to learn about long term care is to find an independent agent who specializes in long term care insurance. He or she should represent several companies. Your agent should conduct a needs analysis to better understand your specific situation. After that, recommendations can be made and options presented for difference premium levels. Most reverse mortgages are FHA-insured HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) loans. The government regulates the interest rates and fees that can be charged. So you will find little variation between lenders' products.

As reverse mortgages gain popularity, more banks are participating. The financial stability of the lender is important if they are going to be servicing your loan. (Sometimes the loan is serviced by a company other than the bank who provided your loan.) You should feel comfortable with the broker who is representing the lender. Independent brokers can represent more than one lender, so they can help select the program that works best for you. There are also reverse mortgage "Advisors" who represent you, the borrower and can recommend the appropriate broker. In addition to government insured programs, many banks have proprietary products. Because these aren't insured, there is more variation between lenders. Again, an independent broker can help you navigate the maze of products and lenders.

Community Answers

Dwight gordon answered...

I would caution against an independent "Advisor" whose role is to represent a client and recommend a Broker or Lender.

The reason is simple, and was referred to in Barbara's answer. Because Reverse Mortgages are HUD/FHA products, they are highly regulated and their is little difference between the actual offerings of one company versus another.

This "extra Advisor" would have to be paid, and I don't think one would gain much benefit from the additional cost.

They KEY DIFFERENCE between providers is two-fold :

1) The company and type of company involved.

My recommendation would be to work with a smaller Bank that has their loans serviced by a larger entity. This gains you the advantage of generally the best service, which a smaller institution can provide while you are obtaining the loan, PLUS the security of a larger institution for the longer term.

Brokers can and do provide good service and are also subject to regulation. However a Banking entity has a lot more to lose if regulations are not followed, and is much more highly regulated in total than a Broker.

2) The person involved (employed by the company). Again, Banks have an advantage here, because their requirements for employees are more strict.

Key questions are how long your particular Advisor has been working with Reverse Mortgages, and what percentage of time and effort do they spend with this product.

A very good choice would be to work with a Company (or Division of a Company) and an Individual who specializes in Reverse Mortgages.

Sjolley2 answered...

The person selling a reverse mortgage is generally not the loan servicer. Investigate the history of the loan servicing company who will handle your reverse mortgage. Just a comment of regulations for reverse mortgages - HUD and FHA have no system or ability to regulate, audit or enforce the regulations they currently have. The do not address individual consumer issues. This leaves the borrower with no where to turn should something go wrong.

There is one reason to get a reverse mortgage: Use as a tool in your financial strategy, meets your financial goals, and provides financial security through retirement. A reverse mortgage is a complex financial instrument with lifelong consequences for seniors. You need financial and legal advice to understand those consequences and if they are acceptable to you because once you sign on the dotted line it is very difficult to recover from the financial damage. I welcome calls from consumers, consumer advocacy agencies, legal and financial professionals. Sandy Jolley, Reverse Mortgage Suitability and Abuse Expert.