Monday, December 29, 2014
Single digit growth in long term care insurance sales along with heightened interest in asset-based products is forecast for 2015 according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
“We expect to see sales of traditional long term care insurance grow both in terms of policies and premium written,” predicts Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). ”The growth should be in the three to five percent range for policy sales and roughly eight to 10 percent for new premium overall for 2015.”
The forecast should be welcome news for many of the nation’s long term care insurers who have experienced double digit sales declines in 2014. “Sales would be larger if more insurance professionals re-entered the long term care insurance marketplace,” Slome admits. “I don’t see that happening over the short term in 2015 but it is good to see some major insurers are investing heavily in trying to rebuild distribution for the product.”
The Association forecast predicts continued growth of hybrid or asset-based long term care insurance products. “These products are much harder to track and report as more life insurance companies add a long term care benefits option to their life insurance contracts,” Slome notes. “If adding a benefit like LTC gains traction for life insurance sales, then considering the number of life insurance agents, we expect many more Americans will have some form of long term care protection in place at the end of 2015.”
Slome noted issues facing the traditional long term care insurance industry continue to pose a threat to future growth. “We are seeing more consumers frustrated with the claims payment process who are turning to the media as part of the resolution-seeking process,” Slome acknowledged. “Today, it only takes a few negative stories that go viral to impact any goodwill the industry has built-up. That continues to be a worrisome condition.”
Monday, December 22, 2014
According to reports and a recent lawsuit as many as one in five nursing home patients are given antipsychotic drugs that are not only unnecessary but can also be extremely harmful for older patients.
“Anyone who has visited a skilled nursing home facility quickly realizes what a difficult job those working there face,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). “That said, the reports are extremely concerning and a reason more consumers will want the means and option to be cared for in their own home.”
Reports have stipulated that patients in the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes are given antipsychotic drugs used as chemical restraints especially for those patients suffering from dementia. These drugs are intended for people with severe mental illness.
“According to a report aired today by NPR, some 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs,” Slome adds. “The report indicates they are administered to suppress the anxiety or aggression associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.”
“Consumers continue to associate long-term care insurance with nursing home care,” Slome advised a group of long term care insurance specialists this morning.
“The industry keeps strengthening that association with many reports citing costs. Instead, we should be focusing on the fact that long term care insurance pays for home care services which is what patients want and can provide a greater degree of control over situations like this.”
Slome urged the agents to focus on the fact that just over half of all new long term care insurance claims begin and end paying for home care services. “Until you break the cycle of connecting your product with something people don’t want and now have an even greater reason to view it negatively, you won’t see consumers view this protection positively,” Slome admonished.
Monday, December 8, 2014
As increasing numbers of Americans look to retire outside of the United States, understanding how a move can impact long term care insurance benefits becomes vital.
“Americans are choosing to retire all over the globe but that can affect the amount of benefits they can claim from their long term care insurance policy,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Slome notes an increase in the number of consumers calling with plans to retire in countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Canada.
“They have already purchased long-term care insurance protection or want to get coverage in place before they relocate,” says Slome. “We explain the policy small print can make a big difference come claim time.”
According to AALTCI examination of policies, many of the leading long term care insurers impose a limitation on benefits when care is needed outside of the United States or territories. “You can purchase and pay for a policy designed to pay four years of benefits but if the limit is just one year you’ll either have to move back to the U.S. for care or give up the balance available,” Slome notes.
The Association recently posted details of how eight leading insurers address international benefits for their long-term care insurance policies. “Only one company presently has no exclusions,” Slome notes. “The others have a variety of limits and rules that apply.”
Monday, December 1, 2014
A national news story distributed today features the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance director shares questions consumers should ask when starting their long term care planning.
“We handle hundreds of calls each month from consumers who don’t know where to begin the process of long term care planning,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “Often they’ve read highly misleading information on the Internet and they are more confused than educated.”
One of the nation’s leading long term care insurance experts noted that planning is as unique as the individual. “Each one of us is different, has a different approach to financial matters and a different family situation so an off-the-shelf approach to long term care planning is not a good idea,” Slome adds.
As a result of conversations with hundreds of consumers embarking on long term care insurance planning; Slome shared tips on questions to ask at the onset. “There are questions to ask yourself and questions to ask the insurance or financial professional you chose to work with,” Slome says.
A national news report containing Slome’s comments has started appearing in media across the country. “We do what we can to heighten understanding on this complex topic in an honest and straightforward way,” he notes. “Asking good questions is a most important component of getting the right plan for yourself or your family.”
To see some of the key media reporting the Association director’s comments, click these links: