The Wall Street Journal reported that Genworth Financial intends to begin charging women as much as 40% more than men for an otherwise equal Long Term Care Insurance policy. Rate changes will happen soon, but it might not be too late for women to get the in under the wire for today’s comparatively lower rates. Since Genworth is one of the major vendors of Long Term Care Insurance, the others are sure to follow.
Up to this point, men and woman have paid the same rates. Apparently, two out of every three benefit dollars from Long Term Care Insurance have been paid on claims for women.
It is been a year of much change in the Long Term Care Insurance industry. Several insurance companies have stopped selling this insurance because low interest rates and other economic uncertainties make it hard for the insurance companies to invest the premium proceeds profitably. Medical advances have lengthened life expectancies, as well as lengthening the time that claimants actually receive long term care.
It is not news to insurance companies that women have longer life expectancies than men. It is news that women live longer than men do once a claim has been filed for their care in nursing homes and personal care homes. It makes good cocktail party conversation to note that “women live longer than men in captivity,” but the reasons for that are not yet well known.
Another factor is that, at least for the generation of persons who are now making long term care claims, women have been the homemakers and caregivers more so than men. Therefore, when the husband needs care, the wife is more likely to keep him at home to care for him, which is less expensive than to go to a care facility where a claim will more likely be filed immediately. Conversely, the husband might be less skilled or otherwise inclined to keep his wife at home to be her primary caregiver, so her claim might begin at a personal care or nursing home sooner and last longer.
If you have questions about whether you need Long Term Care Insurance, Keystone Elder Law can help you explore your options in cooperation with Keystone Insurance Advisors, a sister company which has access to competitive rates from most of the major insurance companies. Not everyone needs Long Term Care Insurance, but most do; and not everyone can qualify for it, but most can.
The best answer to the question “what is the best age to buy Long Term Care Insurance” is “while you still can.” Statistically, in most cases, the best age is mid 50’s, and before age 70. For women, the answer now is “as soon as possible,” before other companies follow Genworth’s lead and raise their rates for women!