Friday, March 26, 2010

Why do consumers perceive long-term care insurance is expensive?

Simple: The media has told them so. Reporters love numbers for their articles and industry-focused entities have gladly shared "average" premiums which have historically been in the $2,000 range. Compounding the matter, couples perceive a joint cost of $4,000 -- "expensive". Overcoming perceptions isn't easy. But an effective way to show that costs can indeed be affordable - is to show the actual range that consumers at very specific ages are paying for coverage. Thankfully, the New York State Partnership program does an ongoing study of what consumers pay. The 2009 numbers will be contained in the 2010 Sourcebook (2008 ranges are in the 2009 Sourcebook, page 44).

Here is 2009 data for key age ranges:
Ages 50 - 54 $ 694 - $9,650 (Mean: $2,236)
Ages 55 - 59 $ 794 - $8,824 (Mean: $2,373)
Ages 60 - 64 $1,011 - $8,187 (Mean: $2,935)

It is the tremendous range that creates an average (or mean) amount that is misleading. Again, these are real numbers of what real people paid for coverage in the State of New York in 2009.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Have Read About Rate Increases ...Should I Be Concerned?

It's hard to give a complex answer in just a few words, but let me try. The policies you are reading about in some news stories typically were issued 10 to 15 years ago when Long-Term Care insurance was still relatively new and conditions and policy pricing was very different. Just one example of what's charged. Interest rates paid on investments used to be 10% in 1985 and about 7% in 1995. Long-Term Care insurance is very interest rate sensitive. So, declining interest rates are great when you are looking to refinance your mortgage but lousy for an LTC insurer with older policies. But that was then; and this is now. Policies issued today in most states are governed by new regulations issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and adapted by most states. These regulations mandate that policies are priced fairly and accurately based on everything that;s been learned. So, while no one can guarantee the future ... not even me ... there are many more safeguards in place today to protect you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Am 57 and Married, How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

What you pay is determined by your age, your health, and how much protection you select when you apply. But, you want a bottom line. A Price Index is done every year and someone age 55 who qualifies for preferred health and spousal discounts may pay $709 per year if they are married for what I would call a base plan of protection today. That about $115,000 in current benefits. With inflation protection coverage, that will grow to over $305,000 in 20 years. That's taking advantage of spousal and preferred health discounts.