Monday, January 27, 2014

Sixteen States Still Offer Unisex Long Term Care Insurance Rates

California, New York and Florida are three of the nation’s larger states where men and women still can pay equal amounts for long term care insurance according to an analysis by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.

“Last Spring, the nation’s leading long term care insurance companies began charging women more for long term care insurance coverage,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).   According to AALTCI, women account for two-thirds of the claim benefits paid by insurers.  “The industry paid $6.6 billion in claim benefits in 2012 with two thirds going towards the care needs of women.”

Sex distinct pricing, whereby women pay more has been rolled out systematically on a state-by-state basis.  “According to our analysis there are still sixteen states and the District of Columbia where at least one major carrier offers unisex pricing for long term care insurance,” Slome notes.  “That still provides a window of opportunity especially for single women but that window is closing.

According to the Association analysis, leading insurers including Genworth Financial, John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha and Transamerica Long Term Care still offer unisex pricing in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.

“The difference in what you’ll pay can be significant making comparison shopping all that more important,” Slome advises.   “This is an instance where working with an independent long term care insurance specialist appointed with multiple companies can truly be to your advantage.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

Times Square Billboard Long Term Care Insurance Director

Times Square Billboard Features Long Term Care Insurance Association Director

To promote heightened awareness of the importance of long term care insurance a Times Square billboard was utilized by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.

“Consumer awareness and education is our number one priority and the world’s crossroads is the ideal place to start generating exposure,” declares Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.   The Association executive director’s image appeared on a Times Square billboard as part of a national public relations campaign launched last week.

The Association is releasing results of their 2014 Long Term Care Insurance Price Index.  “People need to understand that long term care insurance can be much more affordable than many perceive,” Slome notes.  “We undertake the annual study to show different typical scenarios that are very helpful in addressing misperceptions about the costs for this valuable protection.”

Slome’s image on the billboard appearing on Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street was part of the national campaign that included a national news story that was utilized by several hundred media.  “Positive news is a good thing and we are very proud of the work we undertake to educate consumers,” Slome adds.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Long Term Care Insurance Prices Drop For Men, Rise Slightly For Couples

A healthy 55-year-old man can expect to pay 15 percent less for long term care insurance coverage compared to last year.  A married couple, both age-60, faces a seven percent increase according to a just-published report.

“Costs have risen slightly for couples, increased more significantly for single women but have actually decreased for men reports Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) a national trade group.

According to the AALTCI 2014 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index, the average cost for a 55-year-old male purchasing $164,000 of long-term care insurance protection is $925 a year.  Equal coverage for a single woman costs $1,225.    Leading insurers began charging women higher premiums in 2013.  “Women account for two-thirds of the $6.6 billion in claims paid by insurers last year,” Slome acknowledged.

A 60-year old couple each purchasing $164,000 of current protection that will grow to $730,000 combined when both reach age 80, will pay an average of $3,840 yearly, a three percent increase over the prior year’s average.    “Adding an inflation growth option builds your benefits over time but it can double the base cost of coverage,” Slome adds.

“Insurers offer a variety of discounts and options that can enable an individual to reduce the cost of protection,” explains Tracy Russo, Partner at The National LTC Education Center.   “Today there are more choices available for consumers to protect against the very real risk of needing care.”  Russo notes that it’s best to plan in your mid-40s to mid-60s.

According to AALTCI, costs for policy coverage vary significantly from one insurer to the next.    “The typical difference is around 80 percent but in certain cases one insurer charged 109 percent more than another industry leader,” states Nicole Marchand, LTC Case Design Specialist at HTA Financial Services, a leading Long-Term Care Insurance Brokerage firm headquartered in West Chester, PA.  “We can no longer assume which carriers will offer the most favorable rates.  We research every carrier for each client to provide the best solution at a reasonable price.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Senators Hear Call For Long Term Care Insurance Mandate

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held hearings in an effort to explore viable ways to help families pay for long term care insurance protection.

According to the Senate report, some 12 million Americans currently require long-term-care services.  The U.S. Commission on Long-Term Care expects that number will nearly double by 2050.

“In our current system, most people receive care from family and friends,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, a national trade group.  “Many depend on costly in-home care, or end up in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, an expense many middle-class families can’t afford.”

Slome noted that the Senate panel was set to hear from a panel of experts, including three members of the commission.  “The commission issued their report with 28 recommendations,” Slome notes.  “But basically, they don’t really have a way to address the problem in a politically charged environment.”

According to reports, Anne Tumlinson, senior vice president at Avalere Health proposed to the Committee an individual mandate to buy long-term care insurance as a prerequisite for meaningful long term care financing reform.   Tumlinson said she reluctantly embraced this idea after long and careful study of the issue, and noted it would likely be “the least popular point” advanced at the hearing.

“We don’t see a mandate as having any possibility in this politically charged environment.  In the end it’s up to individuals and families to act,” Slome advises.  “People really have three options when a need for long term care arises.  Turn loved ones and family members into caregivers, turn to whatever government programs exist at the time or have the funds to pay, which can include some long term care insurance.”

According to the organization, some eight million Americans currently possess a form of private long term care insurance protection.  “Long term care insurance is not a universal product for everyone,” Slome adds.  “But for a distinct segment of the population who can health qualify and have retirement savings they want to protect, it’s a very viable option.”