Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leaders From 18 Long Term Care Partnership States To Attend LTC Agent Summit

Executives from 18 states offering long term care Partnership plaAdd Imagens will attend the National LTCi Producers Summit. The Summit takes place November 14-16, 2009 at the Westin Hotel in Kansas City and brings together hundreds of producers who market long-term care insurance products.

This year's Summit will combine two conferences - the producer sales and marketing conference organized by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and the conference for state officials organized by the Center For Healthcare Strategies (CHCS).

Over 18 states will be represented each sending three or four executives from the State Medicaid office, the Department of Insurance, the Agency on Aging and State Dept. of Commerce. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to attend special Partnership workshops in addition to the extensive Summit program.

States Sending Executives Include
New Jersey
South Dakota

Summit registration is $275 ($324 for non-Association members) through September 30th.

Registration includes sessions, meals and receptions. Hotel discounts are currently available.
Complete information and registration forms are available online at or by calling the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance at (818) 597-3227.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Study Reveals Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan Flaws

The proposed federal health plan being discussed by the U.S. Senate includes proposed long-term care protection. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) would provide coverage paid by individuals who would have the ability to opt out.The goal of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional organization, is to serve as an advocate for sound long-term care planning that ensures the future of all Americans -- those who can afford private long-term care insurance, and those who can not.

That said, the proposed CLASS Act (Senator Kennedy's new tax on Americans) is not the solution and a report released today by the American Academy of Actuaries reveals the plan's significant flaws. The plan's proponents believe a $65-per-month tax for individuals would be sufficient to provide a $50 average monthly benefit. The study reveals that the sound monthly premium level would be closer to $110 a month or over $1,300 a year per-individual.

The CLASS Act proposes a voluntary federal program that is sustainable and actuarially sound over a 75-year horizon. Based on the current assumptions, the independent actuaries project the new government fund established to pay long-term care claims will be insolvent by 2027. Sometime well before that date, taxpayers can expect the voluntary plan to become a new mandatory tax.

The report notes that part of the problem with the proposed plan is the increased likelihood of adverse selection. Simply stated, those individuals in poorer health will sign-up for the plan and those who are in better health will likely opt-out. Once claim payments begin after the five-year waiting period, one can expect an increasingly steady flow that will stretch the fund beyond what proponents expect.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the independent trade organization providing information on long-term care planning to consumers and providing marketing and sales support to information. The organization maintains the industry's most comprehensive website on long-term care planning which can be found at

If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the American Academy of Actuaries letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, please click here to send an E-mail to Jesse Slome, Executive Director.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Provider

When it comes to needing long-term care, the majority of Americans today receive care in their own home. "People mistakenly associate long-term care with nursing home care," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

"Today most long-term care takes place outside of a skilled care facility and the vast majority of long-term care insurance claims are not nursing home related."According to studies conducted by the industry trade group, some 42 percent of long-term care insurance benefits paid are for care at home (AALTCI's 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook). "Another 28 percent was for care in assisted living communities and only 30 percent was for care in skilled nursing facilities," Slome notes."

Home care services cover a wide range of needs, from memory care and companionship to meal preparation and medication reminders," says Jennifer Tucker, Vice President with Homewatch CareGivers, a national provider of homecare services. "They may also include help with the activities of daily living, including home care services like bathing, dressing, and grooming or care coordination services rendered by a registered nurse."

When selecting a home care agency, it is important to know what questions to ask. Here are five important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:

How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?

Is a written, customized care plan developed in consultation with the client and family members, and is the plan updated as changes occur?

How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?

Do they closely supervise the quality of care, including maintenance of a daily journal in the client’s home and non-scheduled supervisory visits?

Does the agency employ a nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?

"A great way to find quality home care providers is to speak to a knowledgeable long-term care insurance professional," states Jesse Slome. "If they've been in the business for a few years, they likely have clients who are receiving care."

For additional information on home care for long-term care needs or to find local long-term care insurance professionals, visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and request information from any of the organization's 3,500 members nationwide.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Colorado Governor Praised For New Long-Term Care Awareness Campaign

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance commended Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. who announced a new campaign encouraging Coloradans to start planning now for their future long-term care needs. The State of Colorado has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help Coloradans with the long-term care planning process through the Own Your Future campaign.

"We praise this visionary leader for promoting the importance of long-term care planning," stated Jesse Slome, the Association's Executive Director. "Over 100,000 Colorado residents already own long-term car insurance, " Slome notes, "and the new outreach effort will help educate many more people about this important issue." Nationwide, some 8.25 million Americans own long-term care insurance.

"Coloradans are living longer healthier lives due to advancements in science, medicine and health education," said Governor Bill Ritter. "There is nothing more important than taking care of your health, and as your Governor, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring strong, healthy futures for all Coloradans. Over the past two years, we've taken a number of steps to ensure health care is more affordable and accessible for all residents of our state and emphasizing the importance of long-term care planning is a critical part of that effort."

The Own Your Future campaign is led by The Colorado Partnership for Long-Term Care. The Partnership is a public/private arrangement between long-term care insurers, Colorado's Medicaid program, the Division of Insurance, the Department of Human Services and the citizens of Colorado. It enables Colorado residents who purchase Long-Term Care Partnership insurance to have more of their assets protected if they later need the state Medicaid program to help pay for their long-term care. Through the Partnership, Coloradans have greater control over how they finance their long-term care.

As part of the program Coloradans between the ages of ages 45 to 65 will receive a letter from Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. about the Own Your Future campaign. The letters will include information about how to order a free planning kit as a first step to managing future long-term care needs. The planning kits are a great tool to help Coloradans make smart, safe decisions about long-term care.

Coloradans seeking more information on long-term care insurance can visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index Announced

A 55-year-old individual considering long-term care insurance protection can expect to pay $723-per-year for a base level of protection if they are married or $1,060 if they are single according to the 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Across various age groups, costs for coverage increased about two percent from the prior year. The index published annually measures costs for top-selling long-term care insurance policies that offer consumers approximately $115,000 in current benefits, with protection increasing yearly as the individual ages.

"A solid base plan of protection will grow in value to over $305,000 of protection 20 years from now," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the national trade organization that conducted the research. The study compares costs for different levels of plans that provide long-term care benefits for 3-years or longer with a compound inflation option that increases the available insurance benefits by five percent compounded each year.

"For some age bands the cost of long-term care insurance actually declined," Slome notes. "What we did see is a far wider range of prices between insurers offering basically the same coverage." According to the Association study, costs can vary by as much as 100 percent. "This could reflect different benefits or simply the individual insurer's pricing assumptions," Slome explains. "Consumers should compare policies or work with a knowledgeable insurance professional who can analyze for them."

Lower Interest Rates Impact Costs For Insurance Policies

The cost for long-term care insurance is closely related to interest rates that have significantly declined in recent years. "Investment income comprises between 40 and 60 percent of the dollars used to pay eventual long-term care claims," Slome explains. "Premiums paid by policyholders make up the other portion and as interest rates have declined, insurers have found it necessary to raise premiums for protection." The industry paid out $5.8 billion in claims in 2008 to some 180,000 policyholders.

"The cost of long-term care insurance is directly related to how much protection you purchase, the age you first apply and your health at the time of application," explains Slome. "Over half of all individual applicants are between ages 55 and 64, and one third purchase a daily benefit of between $100 and $149." The daily benefit amount actually equals either a cash benefit or a pool of money that the policyholder can access. Most insurers offer significant discounts when both spouses apply for coverage.

The survey compared costs for individuals age 55 with those age 65. "A married individual purchasing $172,000 in current protection will pay about $20 a week ($1,084-per-year) by qualifying for available good health discounts," Slome explains. "By waiting until they are age 65, they'll likely pay $63-a-week because they will need to buy more coverage to keep pace with inflation and will likely no longer qualify for the good health savings."