Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April is National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Since my daughter is a Speech Pathologist, I am acutely aware of this condition and its ramifications. The numbers are alarming! This condition occurred in 1/10,000 births but now occurs in 1/110 births! As I watch the care and dedication of these parents of autistic children I am struck by another alarming question--what will happen to their children when they die? Who will care for 30 and 40 year old autistic adults who cannot take care of themselves? As an insurance broker and advocate of utilizing life insurance to create an inheritance for your children, I can't imagine a group where this need is more prevalent. Large amounts of funds will be needed to provide ongoing food, shelter, and custodial care for the autistic adults. And since the numbers are so pervasive, this will be a public health issue that may place a crushing burden on our federal and state governments. So, although ultimately this care will fall on the shoulders of the government, my life experiences tell me that the quality of care will be better for those that have their own money. Since autistic people are able to live to normal life expectancy that may mean that funding will be needed to care for them for 30-40 years. Only the very wealthy will be able to leave their children enough money to satisfy this need. And how will the diminished quality of care in institutions affect their life expectancy? If extended family is willing and able to care for them this would place an incredible financial burden on those family members if there is not enough money left for their care. So how can a parent bequeath a million dollars to take care of their autistic child after their death if they're not a millionaire? Life insurance provides a unique solution to this problem. Because these are large policies, the premiums will be higher, depending on the age and health of the parents when the policy is issued. But I can't think of another way to be assured that your autistic child will receive the same level of care and love after your death than to invest in a large life insurance policy now. In the end, there are two kinds of pain--the pain of sacrifice or the pain of regret.