Where is the Price / Health Sweet-Spot?
LOS ANGELES, CA – 28 July 2014 -Why would a 60-year old New York couple pay $3,250 yearly for long term care insurance when virtually identical coverage costs $1,800, some 57 percent less?
“More than ever, consumers face a real challenge when considering long term care insurance,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) a national trade group. “The internet makes it easy to compare prices for products and services including some types of insurance, but that’s not the case today for long term care insurance.”
According to a policy cost comparison just conducted by the Association, an unmarried Virginia male age 55 can pay $1,800 for benefits worth $400,000 when he reaches age 85. “A different insurer charges $2,440 or 30 percent more,” Slome notes. Each insurer establishes policy costs that can vary considerably according to Slome. Each has pricing sweet spots based on the applicant’s sex, age, marital or partnership status and pre-existing medical conditions.
“Prices can also vary by state and new policies are continually being introduced which makes keeping up challenging for insurance agents who don’t regularly focus on long-term care products.” Marital status matters too. Single women still enjoy some price advantages in California, Florida, New York or Hawaii while some insurers offer considerable savings to single men or married men whose spouse cannot qualify for coverage.
Health sweet spots also exist, Slome points out. “You can’t weigh too little or too much in order to purchase long-term care insurance,” the expert points out. One insurer will decline a 5-foot 7-inch woman who weighs over 243 pounds, while another sets their maximum weight limit at 274 pounds. “Smoke cigarettes and one insurer charges 45 percent more but another only adds a 15-percent premium to equivalent non-smoker rates,” he adds.
One third of individuals who apply for long term care insurance are declined by the insurance company, according to AALTCI. “People mistakenly think that insurers have to accept all applicants like health insurance but that’s not true,” Slome describes. “They’ll check your medical records and may even require a face-to-face assessment.”
How To Get The Best Long Term Care Insurance Costs And Benefits
Comparison shopping on your own is virtually impossible for consumers, experts advise. “Working with an experienced and knowledgeable professional is your best bet,” Slome agrees. He suggests three questions to ask. How long has the insurance agent been selling long term care insurance? “A minimum of three years is suggested, though five or more is going to be better,” Slome notes. How many policies have they sold? “A long term care insurance specialist will have helped at least 100 individuals get coverage, though many will have helped 500 plus,” he adds.
Most important, according to Slome, is determining if the financial advisor or insurance agent is appointed with multiple insurance companies. “Appointed is insurance industry jargon that means they can actually sell that company’s policy. At the end of the day, an agent is only going to recommend and tell you about policies they can actually sell,” he shares.
For no-cost advice or to compare long term care insurance costs and policies, connect with a designated specialist by calling the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance at (818) 597-3227 or visit the organization’s website.
To read the Association’s Guide To Reducing Long Term Care Insurance Costs visit www.aaltci.org/ideas.