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Old 02-21-2013, 01:04 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
The problem is that your policy (and all the policies in CA) are very underpriced and over the long term there are two choices that the state and policyholders will face: allow an increase in rates, or risk the solvency of the insurer. In the face of CA's refusal to allow rate increases, I bet it is really tough to buy a new LTCI policy in CA.
You can still buy a policy in California, but the companies are raising their rates.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:39 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
This is exactly why I have passed on the product and will continue to do so most likely, unless some form of cost certainty *and* solvency can be ensured. Still, that isn't realistic especially since that would likely mean only the government could backstop it (and no, not advocating that or even that this turn into a debate on that).

The current system really feels like bait and switch. You can buy into a product and pay it for 10-15 years, and then they can really jack up the rates and you can either drop the coverage, flushing your premiums already paid down the rathole (since you buy younger to lock in the lower rates, not because you're likely to need it under 60) or sucking it it and paying much higher premiums.
+1

The saving grace for some is, as Ken with good reason likes to remind us, the mean stay length of roughly 3 years. A lot of damage but at that exposure risk, many can get through it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:26 AM   #63
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Is Long-Term Care Insurance Just a Ripoff? (CNA, GNW, MET, MFC, PRU)
The article essentially validates a lot of comments in this thread. It touched on CALPERS 85% increase in premium comes 2015 and Genworth leaving the field. And on reflecting on the trend of increasing premium and reduction of benefits facing existing policy holders and new buyers trying to decide whether they want to buy LTC policy , the article said this of the dilemma faced by existing policyholders

"For existing policyholders, the main problem is one of sunk costs. Insurance agents typically advise people to obtain long-term care insurance as early as possible to reduce costs, as premiums are much lower for younger policyholders who are less likely to need benefits in the immediate future. What that means, though, is that those who've held onto their policies a long time have already paid tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in policy premiums without having gotten a dime in benefits to show for it. Now, to avoid losing their coverage, these long-time policyholders have to find hundreds of dollars to cover extra premium payments each month. For many retirees living on a fixed income and already facing substantial price increases for other basic living expenses, that will prove an impossible task, and they will have to accept lower benefits or even give up their policies entirely -- thereby having essentially wasted all the money they've spent on premiums for years."
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:32 AM   #64
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I know we've discussed this a "few" times, but I submit the following statement from the article is flawed:

"Having underestimated the true costs of the health care that long-term care policies offer, insurance companies have struggled to price their policies correctly."

In fact, as far as I know, the "benefits" of each policy are stated to the penny. IOW, your benefit is stated in terms of dollars per day. Many (most?) policies have inflation riders as well - again, known to the penny in any given future year. Now, any insurance company worth it's "blimp" will have done research to determine how many of their customers (on a statistical basis) will end up using their benefits. So, the "costs" should be known!

The article goes on to say that insurance companies have not made enough money on the money they have essentially "borrowed" from still healthy policy holders. True enough. What the article fails to point out (and I have heard at least one insurance company admit) NOT ENOUGH FOLKS WHO BOUGHT EARLY LET THEIR POLICIES LAPSE WITHOUT EVER RECEIVING BENEFITS. That was the actuarial "mistake" the insurance companies made. They assumed folks would begin to lapse policies after year 1 to 20 (when they rarely need them). That has not happened enough to let the insurance companies make money. Unfortunately, the insurance "regulators" have allowed the companies to raise rates to cover for their flawed "predictions". (A cynical person might even think the companies knew this all along and counted on the regulators not to leave them twisting in the wind - fortunately, I'm not cynical. Just skeptical.) This has the two-fold effect of "bailing out" the insurance companies for their mistakes AND causing many folks to LAPSE their policies - just like the companies had wanted all along.

All around, it seems like a dirty deal. I'm in the "sweet spot" now that I've paid in for a long time AND I'm getting to an age when it gets more likely I'll need my policy. So far, they have not raised the rates high enough to "force" me to lapse the policy. Stay tuned.

Probably nothing will happen to help policy holders (if the banks can get away with it, why not the insurance companies, right?) Naturally, YMMV.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:34 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
I know we've discussed this a "few" times, but I submit the following statement from the article is flawed:

"Having underestimated the true costs of the health care that long-term care policies offer, insurance companies have struggled to price their policies correctly."

In fact, as far as I know, the "benefits" of each policy are stated to the penny. IOW, your benefit is stated in terms of dollars per day. Many (most?) policies have inflation riders as well - again, known to the penny in any given future year. Now, any insurance company worth it's "blimp" will have done research to determine how many of their customers (on a statistical basis) will end up using their benefits. So, the "costs" should be known!

The article goes on to say that insurance companies have not made enough money on the money they have essentially "borrowed" from still healthy policy holders. True enough. What the article fails to point out (and I have heard at least one insurance company admit) NOT ENOUGH FOLKS WHO BOUGHT EARLY LET THEIR POLICIES LAPSE WITHOUT EVER RECEIVING BENEFITS. That was the actuarial "mistake" the insurance companies made. They assumed folks would begin to lapse policies after year 1 to 20 (when they rarely need them). That has not happened enough to let the insurance companies make money. Unfortunately, the insurance "regulators" have allowed the companies to raise rates to cover for their flawed "predictions". (A cynical person might even think the companies knew this all along and counted on the regulators not to leave them twisting in the wind - fortunately, I'm not cynical. Just skeptical.) This has the two-fold effect of "bailing out" the insurance companies for their mistakes AND causing many folks to LAPSE their policies - just like the companies had wanted all along.

All around, it seems like a dirty deal. I'm in the "sweet spot" now that I've paid in for a long time AND I'm getting to an age when it gets more likely I'll need my policy. So far, they have not raised the rates high enough to "force" me to lapse the policy. Stay tuned.

Probably nothing will happen to help policy holders (if the banks can get away with it, why not the insurance companies, right?) Naturally, YMMV.
i read they expected a 5 percent default rate and only got a 1 percent default rate


my wife and i have had policies for 12 years and have not had an increase yet
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:54 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by bondi688 View Post
Is Long-Term Care Insurance Just a Ripoff? (CNA, GNW, MET, MFC, PRU)
The article essentially validates a lot of comments in this thread. It touched on CALPERS 85% increase in premium comes 2015 and Genworth leaving the field. And on reflecting on the trend of increasing premium and reduction of benefits facing existing policy holders and new buyers trying to decide whether they want to buy LTC policy , the article said this of the dilemma faced by existing policyholders

"For existing policyholders, the main problem is one of sunk costs. Insurance agents typically advise people to obtain long-term care insurance as early as possible to reduce costs, as premiums are much lower for younger policyholders who are less likely to need benefits in the immediate future. What that means, though, is that those who've held onto their policies a long time have already paid tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in policy premiums without having gotten a dime in benefits to show for it. Now, to avoid losing their coverage, these long-time policyholders have to find hundreds of dollars to cover extra premium payments each month. For many retirees living on a fixed income and already facing substantial price increases for other basic living expenses, that will prove an impossible task, and they will have to accept lower benefits or even give up their policies entirely -- thereby having essentially wasted all the money they've spent on premiums for years."
It's not a total waste. If I had had an illness or accident during this policy period that resulted in long term care then I would have coverage. But more importantly, this is the way insurance is supposed to work. Insurance only works if most people who pay for it don't collect the benefits. Besides calculating who will drop out of the program before collecting anything they also have to calculate who will die before receiving the benefit payout equal to what they paid in. That's why they call it insurance.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #67
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Great timing - I was just reading this WSJ article on this topic a few hours ago :

The Experts: Should People Buy Long-Term-Care Insurance? - WSJ.com

"Should people buy long-term-care insurance? The Wall Street Journal put this question to The Experts, an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders who engage in in-depth online discussions of topics from the print Report. This question relates to a recent article featuring a debate over long-term care."


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Old 03-24-2013, 10:19 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
I know we've discussed this a "few" times, but I submit the following statement from the article is flawed:

"Having underestimated the true costs of the health care that long-term care policies offer, insurance companies have struggled to price their policies correctly."

In fact, as far as I know, the "benefits" of each policy are stated to the penny. IOW, your benefit is stated in terms of dollars per day. Many (most?) policies have inflation riders as well - again, known to the penny in any given future year. Now, any insurance company worth it's "blimp" will have done research to determine how many of their customers (on a statistical basis) will end up using their benefits. So, the "costs" should be known!

The article goes on to say that insurance companies have not made enough money on the money they have essentially "borrowed" from still healthy policy holders. True enough. What the article fails to point out (and I have heard at least one insurance company admit) NOT ENOUGH FOLKS WHO BOUGHT EARLY LET THEIR POLICIES LAPSE WITHOUT EVER RECEIVING BENEFITS. That was the actuarial "mistake" the insurance companies made. They assumed folks would begin to lapse policies after year 1 to 20 (when they rarely need them). That has not happened enough to let the insurance companies make money. Unfortunately, the insurance "regulators" have allowed the companies to raise rates to cover for their flawed "predictions". (A cynical person might even think the companies knew this all along and counted on the regulators not to leave them twisting in the wind - fortunately, I'm not cynical. Just skeptical.) This has the two-fold effect of "bailing out" the insurance companies for their mistakes AND causing many folks to LAPSE their policies - just like the companies had wanted all along.

All around, it seems like a dirty deal. I'm in the "sweet spot" now that I've paid in for a long time AND I'm getting to an age when it gets more likely I'll need my policy. So far, they have not raised the rates high enough to "force" me to lapse the policy. Stay tuned.

Probably nothing will happen to help policy holders (if the banks can get away with it, why not the insurance companies, right?) Naturally, YMMV.
Did you read the fine print when you bought your policy? If you did, then you would have known that rates were not guaranteed until the end of time. If it was fully disclosed, you have nothing to squeal about.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
The article goes on to say that insurance companies have not made enough money on the money they have essentially "borrowed" from still healthy policy holders. True enough. What the article fails to point out (and I have heard at least one insurance company admit) NOT ENOUGH FOLKS WHO BOUGHT EARLY LET THEIR POLICIES LAPSE WITHOUT EVER RECEIVING BENEFITS. That was the actuarial "mistake" the insurance companies made. They assumed folks would begin to lapse policies after year 1 to 20 (when they rarely need them). That has not happened enough to let the insurance companies make money. Unfortunately, the insurance "regulators" have allowed the companies to raise rates to cover for their flawed "predictions". (A cynical person might even think the companies knew this all along and counted on the regulators not to leave them twisting in the wind - fortunately, I'm not cynical. Just skeptical.) This has the two-fold effect of "bailing out" the insurance companies for their mistakes AND causing many folks to LAPSE their policies - just like the companies had wanted all along.

All around, it seems like a dirty deal. I'm in the "sweet spot" now that I've paid in for a long time AND I'm getting to an age when it gets more likely I'll need my policy. So far, they have not raised the rates high enough to "force" me to lapse the policy. Stay tuned.
If auto insurers price up a new policy product for insurance for a new flying car, based on their guesses for what accident rates would be for this new flying car, and 10 years after they come out with the new policy they're loosing their asses because their claims history is much higher than they expected, and they have to jack up the rates to pay for the net cost, is that somehow 'unfair'?

Or when many people purchased whole life insurance policies in the 80s/90s, when the 'non-guaranteed current policy interest rate' was in the 6%-9% range, and rates dropped like a rock in the late 90s/2000s to the point of people having to double their annual premiums - and many having to let their policies lapse or cash out because they couldn't afford the higher rates - was that unfair?

The state insurance commissions exist to oversee the insurers, and verify that they're not simply gouging consumers with oligopolistic pricing practices - and they have been verifying that such pricing practices are based on reality, not an attempt to gouge the consumer. It is unfortunate that prices have had to be jacked up so high based on a variety of factors (one of which is a lower-than-forecasted policy lapse rate)....but the fairness of realistic pricing has to work both ways to be truly fair.
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Everything is a bit of a gamble in life...
Old 03-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #70
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Everything is a bit of a gamble in life...

I am very happy with my policy. Mine is with Genworth and I took a gamble. I bought a policy for my wife and me. I have a 10 pay so it will be paid off in 10 years so when I am retired I will not have to worry about paying it and I won't have to worry about price increases. Whenever, we buy any kind of insurance it's a gamble. We don't know if we will need it or not. However, if we do need it we want to it in force so that it guard us against whatever peril we thought might/could occur.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #71
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Off topic, since I just read your post
I am watching this film by Akira Kurosawa called Red Beard. It is Dostoyevskian, and reminds me of some of the free clinic work you talk about. You may relate quite a bit to the film.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:50 PM   #72
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Thank you. I will get this movie from Netflix.
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obgyn65
Off topic, since I just read your post
I am watching this film by Akira Kurosawa called Red Beard. It is Dostoyevskian, and reminds me of some of the free clinic work you talk about. You may relate quite a bit to the film.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #73
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Should Long-Term Care Be an Entitlement?

"Under current policies, Medicaid is the only mechanism available to handle the steep projected increase in care costs. It provides care mostly in nursing homes and other institutional settings, and only after patients have spent down much, if not all, of their wealth. Even as the provider of last resort, however, Medicaid is not equipped to fund what amounts to a blank check on future care costs."

A tough problem for which a workable solution is still elusive.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:30 PM   #74
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I also bought a ten pay plan from Allianz in about 2001. It is now paid up and assuming they remain solvent I should be covered. They did raise my premium once before it was paid up and have since stopped selling the product I purchased. I think the early plans far underestimated the expenses when they priced the product
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:56 PM   #75
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I just received a letter from CALPERS indicating that there will be 7 options offered:

1) continue current coverage - lifetime coverage with built in inflation protection -5% increase in premiums in 2013, 5% in 2014, 85% in 2015

2) Maintain Lifetime Coverage with inflation protection but reduce Daily Benefit amount to keep current premium - 5% increase in 2014 and 85% in 2015

3 and 4) Reduce Lifetime coverage to 6 or 3 year benefit period and keep inflation protection - avoid 2013 and 2014 increases but keep 2015 85% increase

5, 6 and 7) Reduce lifetime coverage to 10,6 or 3 year benefit period and drop inflation protection - reduce premium amount and avoid future 2013, 2014, and 2015 premium increases.

8) not mentioned but stop pouring money down this rat hole.

Obviously the way this thing is structured they are counting on lots of folks going the option 5,6,7, or 8 route.

There is supposed to be a subsequent letter with actual premium amounts tailored to each policy holder I assume.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by ejman View Post
I just received a letter from CALPERS indicating that there will be 7 options offered:

1) continue current coverage - lifetime coverage with built in inflation protection -5% increase in premiums in 2013, 5% in 2014, 85% in 2015

2) Maintain Lifetime Coverage with inflation protection but reduce Daily Benefit amount to keep current premium - 5% increase in 2014 and 85% in 2015

3 and 4) Reduce Lifetime coverage to 6 or 3 year benefit period and keep inflation protection - avoid 2013 and 2014 increases but keep 2015 85% increase

5, 6 and 7) Reduce lifetime coverage to 10,6 or 3 year benefit period and drop inflation protection - reduce premium amount and avoid future 2013, 2014, and 2015 premium increases.

8) not mentioned but stop pouring money down this rat hole.

Obviously the way this thing is structured they are counting on lots of folks going the option 5,6,7, or 8 route.

There is supposed to be a subsequent letter with actual premium amounts tailored to each policy holder I assume.

That's not the best set of choices. They must have really messed up their initial estimates.

When my LTC plan retooled, one of the choices (the one I chose) that dropped the inflation from 5% to 4% and keep the same premium and daily benefit. And people were crabby about our choices. Good thing they weren't given these ones.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:29 PM   #77
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One question on CALPERS - were the original rates so low that the increase is really 85% of nothing? Just wondering.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:38 PM   #78
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Did you read the fine print when you bought your policy? If you did, then you would have known that rates were not guaranteed until the end of time. If it was fully disclosed, you have nothing to squeal about.
I did indeed read the policy and discussed the policy with the agent. So, YES, I was aware that rates could go up. The agent asked the question (memory fades, so not a quote): 'Insurance companies live and die by the actuarial tables, so they know what they are doing.' IOW, the agent was assuring me that, while rates could "wander" a bit (even down as some life insurance rates have because folks are living longer) rates were unlikely to go "way" up. I would say doubling the rates in 10 years is "way" up.

"Lapse rates" was NOT discussed in the policy nor did the agent talk about it. IOW, the Ins. Co. did, indeed, cover themselves with their disclosure. But, using your term, I DO think I have a right to "squeel" when rates double in 10 years. Rates went from "affordable" to nearly "unaffordable".

Keep in mind that folks were encouraged to buy in early to keep their rates low. It's not like car insurance where yearly claims are more or less immediately reflected in the next year's rates. The rates on LTC didn't go up (for me and for most) for 10 years. Once we had made a big up-front investment, the rates doubled. You can suggest this was something "disclosed", but that doesn't make it less "squeal" worthy. While I agree that it is perfectly legal, it WAS disclosed and even the insurance regulators went along with it, I can bloody well squeal all I want. Just like most folks (maybe even you, brewer) squealed when the gummint bailed out the banks and others. Of course, YMMV.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:41 PM   #79
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One question on CALPERS - were the original rates so low that the increase is really 85% of nothing? Just wondering.
Policy covers nursing home to $162/day, Residential Care facility to $81/day. It has a 5%/year inflation protection, a 90 day deductible and lifetime coverage. Premiums are currently $1,908/year for the two of us (Ages 64 and 62). The proposed increase for 2013, 2014 and 2015 would bring the premium to $3892 by 2015, an increase of 104%.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:41 AM   #80
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Still a good Day

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Policy covers nursing home to $162/day, Residential Care facility to $81/day. It has a 5%/year inflation protection, a 90 day deductible and lifetime coverage. Premiums are currently $1,908/year for the two of us (Ages 64 and 62). The proposed increase for 2013, 2014 and 2015 would bring the premium to $3892 by 2015, an increase of 104%.
Even with the 85% increase, your rate is GREAT compared to today's prices. You have a lifetime coverage which is pretty much extinct now. Younger folks can't get 4 or 5 years for that price these days.
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