Long-term care agents defend insurance

Dear Boomer Bucks,
As a certified specialist in long-term care insurance, I am compelled to take strong exception to your recent article "Is long-term care insurance necessary?"

For the sake of brevity, I will focus on only one statement, "Add to this the high probability that premiums will escalate over time, forcing some people to drop the coverage after years of paying into it, and long-term care insurance has all the allure of a soaked Serenity pad."

Without question, there have been instances in which some carriers, mostly new to issuing this insurance, have used poor underwriting and management techniques in setting rates that resulted in the circumstances you describe. This was especially true during the initial introduction and evolution of long-term care policies.

What you fail to mention or recognize is that there are a number of companies that have spectacular records of premium stability. For instance, Genworth Financial and John Hancock with 30 and 20 years respectively of underwriting and issuing long-term care insurance, have never, yes never, had a single premium increase to their existing policyholders. These two companies are the fcDarkBlue fBg providers of long-term care insurance with a combined market share of around 30 percent to 40 percent.

This and other recommendations and observations in your article do your readers a huge disservice. It will scare many, especially younger, candidates from obtaining this vital coverage and, by doing so, will set them up for devastating financial, emotional and physical consequences.

Don Burkhead, CLTC

Dear Don,
I honestly don't think younger folks are great candidates for this type of insurance. They should be focused on saving for their home, their retirement, their children's education and on meeting other short-term and long-term goals. Long-term care is something to think about beginning at age 50, in my opinion, unless an employer offers it. Nevertheless, your point that some insurance companies offer premium stability is well-taken. Thanks for sharing your views.

Dear Boomer Bucks,
Your article completely ignores the fact that long-term care insurance pays for home care and adult day care. Many policies today, including the Federal LTC Insurance Plan and the AARP LTCI Plan, pay for informal care, which means friends and family. Since less than 20 percent of care is in a facility (assisted living or nursing home), most people will certainly never be in a nursing home, but home care can cost as much or more, depending on how many hours a day you have. Even paying informal caregivers can cost more if you need upward of 16 hours a day, as many people do. The family simply can't do it all and relationships are ruined from the pressure of caregiving every day.


Phyllis Shelton, Pres.
LTC Consultants
Hendersonville, Tenn.

Dear Phyllis,
It's true that I didn't cover every single aspect about long-term care insurance in my column. You make some good points. Thanks for sharing them.

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