Hillary Clinton has borrowed apage from life and health insurers' playbook this month andproposed offering a tax credit of up to $1,200 for middle-incomefamilies that are caring for parents or grandparents, or forrelatives with disabilities.

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Clinton unveiled the tax credit Sunday, according to pressreports.

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She says in a summary on her campaign website that the tax credit could pay 20 percent offamilies' caregiving costs, up to a maximum of $6,000 in costs.

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She has also proposed looking for a way to reduce theimpact of caregiving on the caregivers' Social Security benefits,and investing $10 million per year over 10 years in a new federalcaregiver respite program, to give caregivers temporary breaks fromcaregiving responsibilities.

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included avoluntary, government-run long-term care (LTC) benefits programthat was killed after Medicare actuaries ruled thatthe program might be unsustainable. Clinton has not proposed thereturn of the PPACA LTC benefits program or the creation of asimilar LTC benefits program.

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Clinton made her caregiver support announcement as the privatelong-term care insurance(LTCI) community was nearing the end of this month's Long-Term CareAwareness Month campaign.

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Low interest rates and problems with predicting claims have madeoffering the kinds of comprehensive LTCI products insurers used topromote challenging this year.

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Insurers, distributors and retail financial professionals haveresponded by focusing even more than in the past on the importanceof supporting providers of informal care, and less on specificfinancing vehicles.

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Northwestern Mutual, LifeSecure, Genworth and other companiesall made major efforts to highlight caregivers' needs.

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Many of the caregiver-related efforts could be used almost aseasily by agents selling Medicare plans, disability insurance, orany other life or health product as by LTC planners.

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Northwestern Mutual, for example, released a survey report inwhich analysts pointed out that caregivers get many emotionalrewards from providing care in addition to suffering emotionalcosts.

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Similarly, Genworth released a survey report, "Beyond Dollars,"that looked at how caregiving affects the caregiver and the carerecipient.

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Based on that survey, Genworth came up with four top lessonsfrom the survey participants' experiences:

  1. Plan better.

  2. Get help from others, to make taking breaks possible.

  3. Make sure that medical directives are in place, and thatpotential caregivers understand the medical directives.

  4. Think about LTC financial options ahead of time.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.