Monday, August 31, 2009

What Do Consumers Pay For Long-Term Care Insurance

The Partnership program provides enormous benefit for consumers. It also provides significant benefit to insurance professionals.

One of the most important benefits is the gathering of relevant information. The following is preliminary information gathered from the Partnership States. While the numbers may change, it sheds an important light on the subject of what people pay for long-term care insurance protection. It clearly shows that the majority of consumers are spending far less for long-term care insurance protection than what's reported in the consumer media.

The following data is based on over 70,000 individuals (under age 61) purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009.

Premium Amount Percentage
Less than $500 18.1%
$500 - $999 33.2%
$1,000 - $1,499 11.1%
$1,500 - $1,999 10.2%
$2,000 - $2,499 7.6%
$2,500 - $2,999 6.0%
$3,000 - $3,499 4.7%
$3,500 - $3,999 3.3%
$4,000 and Over 5.3%

Why are these numbers so important?

Because, here is the number a highly respected organization reports to the media: "The average individual buyer in the first three months of 2009 is paying $2,129 during the first year of coverage." (June 8, 2009)

If consumers perceive $2,129 is the cost (that's $4,258 for a couple) they are going to believe that long-term care insurance is EXPENSIVE. And, they are not going to buy.

BUT 72.6% PAID LESS THAN $2,000. And more than half paid LESS THAN $1,000.

It is very hard to overcome perceptions. Let's hope facts will help. Certainly the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and our members are doing all they can to properly educate consumers and other professionals.

Jesse Slome
Executive Director
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Low-Cost Long-Term Care Insurance Sold

More than half of Americans purchasing long-term care insurance paid less than $20 a week according to a new report by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

According to an analysis of over 100,000 policies sold during the first half of 2009, the majority of individuals age 61 and younger paid under $1,000 a year for protection (less than $20 a week). Just over half (51.3%) of long-term care insurance policies sold to individuals in Partnership states cost under $1,000 a year. Nearly one in five cost less than $500 a year.

"Most people mistakenly believe long-term care insurance is expensive," states Jesse Slome, executive director of the organization. "The cost depends on how much coverage you buy, your age and health when you apply." Less than 10 percent of purchasers spent more than $100 a month for new policies purchased.The majority of those purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies were between ages 46 and 60.

The Partnership is a program authorized by Congress that makes available long-term care insurance protection from leading insurers. Partnership-approved policies provide special features and asset spend-down protections. Some 30 states now have long-term care Partnership programs in place.

Nearly half (48.2%) of buyers purchasing Partnership long-term care insurance policies in the first half of 2009 were between the ages of 46 and 60. Some 31 percent were over age 60 and nearly 20 percent were age 45 or younger.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cut Risk Of Long-Term Care Need With Early MRI

A new study finds that MRI scans could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease in the early stages, which could lead to improved treatment. Every 72 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic report that the brains of people in the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease might become hyperactive to compensate for disease-related deterioration. The scientists tested mentally healthy adults, two-thirds of whom were at risk for Alzheimer's because of family history or genetic markers.

MRI scans monitored the participants' brains as they were asked to recognize famous celebrities and unfamiliar people. The brain activity of at-risk people was then compared with that of those not at risk for Alzheimer's.

The researchers reported an increased level of activation of certain parts of the brain in at-risk individuals. They note this may reflect a compensatory brain response by these participants to the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease. An estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's which is one of the most costly causes of long-term care by older individuals.

Researchers noted that functional MRI scans might eventually be used to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years. They added that by delaying the onset by 10 years, Alzheimer's disease will virtually be eliminated because people will have passed away for some other reason. The findings are published in the current issue of Neurology.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance Women Planning Matters

video

Long term care insurance planning for women is vitally important. Women have the greatest need for long-term care. Women receive 65 percent of all benefit payments from individual long-term care insurance. Women who are married can benefit from significant spousal discounts. Women living alone pay the exact same for long-term care insurance protection as men (even though they are far more likely to gain a benefit from their coverage).

Consumers seeking free information or no-obligation quotes for this protection should visit the Consumer Information Center of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

This consumer education video has been produced by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional trade organization.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Long Term Care Insurance News You Never Hear

Increasingly, we get calls from reporters who are doing more in-depth stories about long term care planning and the role of long-term care insurance.

First, it is a great feeling to help them get the portray a correct story since their words, whether written or oral can influence so many prospects and potential buyers. Friday, a national editor who I have worked with before called the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance's offices. At this point, I won't reveal the story being working on but in the ensuing research I did - two pieces of information emerged. They are examples of when long-term care insurers go beyond what is required. You may not be familiar with them.

The first involves Genworth's new policy being offered to AARP members. The policy offers a 60-day return policy. In simple terms, the consumer can return the policy within 60 days for a refund of monies paid. As most insurance agents know, the standard "free look" required by law is 30 days. Now, it bears stating that the State of Washington just passed a law mandating the 60-day provision. Who knows whether other states will follow.

And, in speaking with a long-time Genworth producer, it was noted that in an effort to provide outstanding customer service the company has not held rigid to the 30-day cut off. But clearly there was someone who thought this was a customer-friendly provision ... and agreed to make it available.

The second story involves John Hancock. In recognition of the weak economy, the company allows (or allowed, I am not sure if the practice continues) policyholders who lose their jobs and fail to pay premiums for a certain period of time, to reinstate their policies without the typically-required health underwriting. What a recognition of going the extra mile to help the people who showed the good faith and sense to buy your product.

Having worked with the media for most of my life, every reporter will tell you it is not their job to "shill" for a company. So don't ever expect to read about these items in the news.

But, in the current environment we are in -- and with the news media focusing so much attention on negatives surrounding the insurance industry, it's good to know there are insurers doing well because they do good. That's a message the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is proud to help convey.

If readers have others to share, feel free to send them to me. I'll gladly pass them along. Mail to: jslome @ aaltci.org

Monday, August 10, 2009

How To Reduce Long Term Care Insurance Premiums

How much you'll pay for long-term care insurance is based on three factors. Your age when you apply, how much protection you want and your health when you apply. Where you live today and where you plan to retire also play a part.


But here is information that's most important for Los Angeles, CA residents. Your long-term care insurance can be far more reasonable than you think.

Let me share a few ways people I advise significantly reduce the cost of long-term care insurance. Before I share, I thought the following statistic from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (http://www.aaltci.org) that was especially interesting. In 2008, individuals between the ages of 55 and 59 paid as little as $844-a-year for LTC insurance protection. The maximum paid by someone in this age range was $6,939.

So, how can one reduce the cost? Start by considering a policy that might protect a specific amount of your savings and assets. The coverage you buy today can increase in value over time. So, a policy that provides $115,000 of protection today can grow to $305,000 in 20 years. If you are married, some long-term care insurance policies allow one spouse to access the other spouse's benefit pool. That's an option well worth looking into.


Consider adding a deductible to your long-term care insurance policy. Most people have a deductible on their car insurance and their homeowner's policy. When it comes to long-term care insurance, adding a deductible will significantly reduce the cost and the majority of people select a 90-to-100 day period. You'll save as much as 20 percent yearly.

Finally, know that costs vary significantly from one long-term care insurance company to another. Members of the industry's long-term care insurance association and they share enormous information. Once a year AALTCI undertakes a Price Index Study and the costs for almost identical coverage can vary by as much as 100 percent depending on your age and marital status.

If you’d like to learn more on long term care insurance please take a moment to call the Association at 818-597-3227 or E-mail us at mailto:info@aaltci.org. We will get you in touch with an area professional who can provide free information without any obligation. Thanks for reading our blog today we really appreciate it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nursing Home Studies Reveal Benefit of Long Term Care Insurance

While less than a third of benefits from U.S. long-term care insurance companies pays for nursing home care, most Americans still associate policies with a costly nursing home stay according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Two studies now look at the benefits of this increasingly popular protection.

A report published in the organization's annual Sourcebook revealed that nine percent of nursing home residents would have delayed going to a nursing home for necessary care in the absence of a nursing home policy. Some 13 percent reported they would have used a less costly provider in the absence of having long-term care insurance.

A new report issued this week has found that non-profit nursing homes provide better care than for-profit facilities. According to Canadian researchers, a review of 82 studies conducted starting in 1965 reported that 40 studies found that non-profit nursing homes provided significantly better quality care, while three studies concluded that for-profit homes delivered better care. The remaining studies had mixed results. Most of the studies were conducted in Canada and the United States.

Non-profit homes did better in four important quality measures: more or higher quality staffing; lower rates of pressure ulcers; less use of physical restraints; and fewer deficiencies cited by regulatory agencies. Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that if all nursing homes were non-profit, nursing home residents in the United States would receive 500,000 more hours of nursing care per day, while those in Canada would receive 42,000 more hours of nursing care per day.

The findings of the second study which were published online in the British Medical Journal suggest a trend toward higher quality care in non-profit nursing homes than in for-profit homes, said the researchers.

Last year American long-term care insurance companies paid some $8.5 billion in benefits to some 180,000 individuals. Some of the largest claims, typically for care in skilled nursing home facilities, exceed $1 million according to the industry organization. Long-term care insurance provides individuals with the ability to choose where care is provided, notes one industry expert. Choice and control are great benefits.

Posted On E-Max health by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Long-Term Care Insurance Association Commends U.S. Congressman

Los Angeles, CA - August 6, 2009 - The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance commended U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander (R - LA) today for his leadership and efforts to encourage Americans to take personal responsibility for long-term care planning.

"The Congressman's comments recommending tax deductions for individuals purchasing long-term care insurance creates an enormous incentive for people to consider this protection," states Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the national professional organization. "When more Americans plan, the nation avoids an unsustainable liability that will fall on all taxpayers."

According to Association data, some 8.25 million individuals currently own long-term care insurance. "The Congressman's proposal could rapidly double the number of people protected," Slome notes. Social Security and Medicare have promised $42.9 trillion more in benefits to senior and disabled workers than the programs will be able to pay, according to a new report by the Heritage Foundation.

"The Congressman understands that Americans must plan for their own future and that a tax incentive is a small price to incent action," Slome adds.“Increased life expectancy, coupled with the rapidly aging baby boomer generation forces more Americans to face the challenges of caring for either themselves or their loved ones," Congressman Alexander remarked. “To ease the burden and encourage taxpayers to take steps towards securing long-term care, I have introduced the Sunset of Life Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 1891). This legislation seeks to provide individuals a 50 percent non-refundable tax deduction on the cost of long-term care insurance costs."

“My intention is to minimize the need for individuals to rely on public resources in their later years by taking measures now to ensure a comfortable and complete long-term care coverage package," he added. "As Congress looks for ways to improve the affordability and availability of quality health care for all Americans, this is an option to lessen the costs of tomorrow by investing in insurance today.”

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is the national organization serving insurance and financial professionals who market LTC solutions. The organization was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Los Angeles.