Boomers Can’t Get Over The Hump on Long Term Care Insurance

Category: Health Issues

Nov. 14 — Although a good 40% of baby boomers have considered long term health care insurance, the decision to buy it is rarely made. In a new survey by NBER Retirement Research Center and reported on by the Financial Literacy Project, several academics found that as in so many other decisions involving delayed gratification, we baby boomers have not decided to pay today for this protection tomorrow.

Background in the report pointed out that 12% of men and 22% of women have at least a 3 year stay in a nursing home, at an expected cost in the vicinity of $75,000 per year.

The researchers found several main issues that help explain why only about 10-12% of the elderly have purchased long term care insurance:

– People who are motivated to leave money for their heirs are more likely to purchase

– Folks who think family members will take care of them are less likely to purchase

– Even though they understand they might cause a burden on their loved ones someday, most boomers do not find this a motivating reason to buy

– Some people do not purchase the insurance because they are afraid of rate hikes down the road or having claims denied

– Those who realize now they will have health problems in the future are the most likely to purchase this coverage

So far the mood among boomers is not encouraging for salespeople in this field. As we age and begin to experience more health problems, perhaps we will get more interested – although coverage does get more difficult with pre-existing conditions.

You can find the complete study here at this link. Here is a good reason to consider long term care, based on 2011 pricing trends for long term care, which rose between 4.4% and 5.6% in 2011 according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

Comments: Please tell us what you are thinking about when it comes to long term care insurance in the Comments section below. It has come to our attention that Internet Explorer is cutting off the comments below. Here are some reader suggestions on how to overcome this:

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Posted by John Brady on November 13th, 2011

62 Comments »

  1. Compare long term care insurance quotes in your area. Enter your zip code to find the best long term care insurance policy and information online

    by rusi fox — November 14, 2011

  2. This is not a straight forward problem. I tried to get long term insurance but I weighed to
    much and they would not even talk to me. I have lost some weight but I am still over
    weight. The problem is unless you are in good shape and health the insurance companies
    really do not want to talk to you. I can understand this but to say that only 10-12% are
    signing up for this insurance… it might be that more people are applying but are being
    denied coverage because of health issues.

    by maxit4fun — November 14, 2011

  3. We purchased long term care insurance 6 years ago when we were 53 years old 3 years after my husband sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident. The policy covers both of us and costs about $2000 per year. Now, at age 59, he has been diagnosed with Stage III Prostate Cancer and might not qualify for a long term policy…..but it’s okay. We know we are covered no matter what happens and our payments are made automatically along with our monthly utilities. I feel relieved knowing I won’t have to use our retirement or sell our home if my husband requires long term care.

    by Viv — November 14, 2011

  4. Just be aware that your cost will increase as the ins co has the right to make
    group rate hikes if approved by the state ins commissioner. These can be substantial over the life of the policy.

    by rob — November 14, 2011

  5. My long term care with John Hancock which I purchased at 56 this year has gone up 68%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by peg — November 14, 2011

  6. Our LTC policies were raised 18% (we’re in our late 60’s) due to “more claims than expected (by others, not us).” No real surprises here as our agent recently told his policies have doubled in annual price.

    While we’re both professionals, I honestly think the day will come when we tell our four grown sons that if they wish they can take over the payments as it will save them some of what their inheritance will be.

    by Semi-retired — November 15, 2011

  7. We purchased 10 year paid-up joint LTC policy. Paid about $2,700/year for 10 years. Now it is paid up. Bought policy @ age 54, now paid up. Picked high rated insurance company. In 10th year they bumped premium 25% but goofed and incremental premium was refunded. Make sure your purchase 5% inflation rider and start with high daily amount. We hope we never use it but if needed no financial worries remain. Paid-up policies probably harder to come by but still available. If you can find and afford it, purchase lump-sum policy single premium at age before 55 for “best buy.”

    by Richoho — November 15, 2011

  8. the Insurance companies have tens of thousands of actuarials.. They always win. maybe a few commoners win, too but it will be far too costly to get this insurance which requires A PHD to understand……

    The bigger question becomes with Medicaid being destroyed on a state by state basis long term care facilities are going the way of the doh doh bird, so wher do all of you with these expensive policies think you are going to go? And since there will be tens of millions of us, the facilities that are left will have their choice of who to accept.. They will be accepting cash up front customers and insurance policy owners will be secondary if that…. Good luck…. My insurance policy doesnt cost much at all… My parents worked in a comvalescent home and a good one at that..My father in law stayed in the best money can buy and I personally have seen in both situations what we dont want to beleive.. sheer brutality, inhumane conditions and a diregard for the laws of the state. My insurance policy if I get terminally ill or have dementia or Parkinsons, etc will be 3 bottles of pills in my nightstand.. I rather go out under my terms then be beaten or worse by an orderly from Guatemala or the inner city making minimum wage.. And dont for one minute think that a facility under the auspices of a church is better… They are far worse. I have taken that insurance money and paid for my sons college and graduate school and sent him out into the world with another 100k in his pocket so he has a fighting chance to make it….

    by Mike — November 16, 2011

  9. I couldn’t have said it any better than Mike (including the way we raised our sons), so I won’t … only to second EVERY word he said! The insurance racket is JUST THAT … ever drive up the interstate in Connecticut and view the nice palaces of the insurance firms? Nice cars in the parking lots too … all paid by your premiums … yes, one has better chance in Vegas than beating their actuarial army and corp of statisticians and probability experts … of course, they do have a great sales, marketing and PR/Lobbying force too. Oh, and there’s more … I’m sure we all also love the way they tell our doctor’s just how they can treat you and what drugs they can prescribe … I just love one of their terms “Alternative generics”. 😡

    by Mad Monk — November 16, 2011

  10. I looked into the coverage a few years ago when we had a rep come to talk to us at work. It’s not covered by our co. so of course it was extra. The MAIN reason people don’t buy it is because it’s EXPENSIVE (unless you are maybe 35 years old). With everything else in the world going up, most people just can’t afford the premium. Believe me, if I could have afforded it, I would have purchased it. I saw my Uncle in a nursing home for over a year (proceeds from the sale of his house paid for it) and my Mom has now been in a home for 2 1/2 years. She is on Title 19.

    by Chris — November 16, 2011

  11. one word – cost.

    by Carol — November 16, 2011

  12. There seems to be a lack of clarity as to what you really get with this kind of insurance. Remember health care will be for the wealthy in this country..

    by Mark — November 16, 2011

  13. I purchased LT insurance 10 years ago at 52. My spouse had passed away and I have no children. It seemed like the right thing to do, the premiums were reasonable and I have the inflation rider. Premiums have increased but not a lot. I can still afford it but had to drop health care insurance after years of double digit premium increases.

    There are pros and cons to LT insurance and I’ve been second guessing my decision. The time may come when the premiums will become unaffordable, and after losing so much during this recession I’ve come to distrust any company even remotely related to the financial sector. Who knows if it will seem like a good deal if the time comes when I can use it. As a country we do such a poor job of caring for our elderly, and I don’t see it improving in my lifetime whether insured or not.

    by Kathy — November 16, 2011

  14. My wife and I have been looking into it. At this point in our lives premiums would take half our disposable income including the inflation protection. What with inflation and premium increases (even capped at 5%) I can foresee a time when LTCI could work a real hardship on us. That taken with the very questionable quality of care we could procure and the fact the insurance industry never loses over the long term through ever higher premiums I’m having a hard time convincing myself the cost is worth the gamble. It may be telling that so far there have been no positive responses posted.

    by Gardner — November 16, 2011

  15. My husband and I purchased LT insurance when we were “younger” (60 & 50). Thankfully we did because he has Parkinson’s Disease and is now in assisted living at 5,000/month. Without this insurance, well, I hate to think about it…. So, you can tell I am in favor of this option if possible. And I can tell you the premiums might be high but the 5K a month isn’t a picnic either! Depends on the age and price, of course. Good luck to anyone who can’t get it. Not fun.

    by Adele Burke — November 16, 2011

  16. Kathy.
    You have long term car insurance but not health insurance.. You have me scratching my head… How ill you be able to use your long term insurance if by misfortune you have a disease that requires intervention.. A 250,000 hospital and doctor bill is real easy to have since if you dont have insurance you will be charged retail and you can easily lose all your assets… I was in the hospital for 3 days Having gone through a minor heart procedure.. Bill was 77,000. My son broke his finger, we took him to the emergency room.. That was the wrong thing to do.. Bill was 2900… Good luck in your choice.. I hope you dont have to use either.

    by Mike — November 16, 2011

  17. My neighbor had few assets and no LT insurance.. Children sold his house for a 200l profit, moved him into thier big house.. Employed a person to take care of him for free, room and board and a monthly stipend… If your kids love you thats what they would do instead leave you at the mercy of an institution who doesnt care at all about you, just your wallet… Name me one country in the world other than ours that has LT insurance…. None.. I wonder why…. We slave for the money and then we die. I will do it on my terms. Many of the large insurance companies especially in Hartford are all making a fortune off us idiots who are gullible enough to fork over all that hard earned money… If you havent already noticed our whole society has been trained through fear to fork over all their monies.. Fear of body odor, fear of a car crash, fear of dandruff, fear of dying, fear of poverty , fear of hunger, fear of fear… Wake up…Smile… The actuaries know that 90% of you wont need care and the average stay in a nursing home is less than 2 years. Personally, I am going to go out with a bang…. Prescriptions for Cialis and hookers… I rather have the hookers screw me than the insurance companies..:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    by Mike — November 16, 2011

  18. The romantic in me believes I will expire elegantly, with a Garbo-like sigh. The reality is that debilitating, messy, long term illness can happen. Maintaining long term care insurance is tough because of the ouch-ouch yearly fee and because most policies require you to be unable to dress, toilet, and feed yourself. When my husband became this dependent he recieved hospice care, and Medicare paid every dollar of it. Can we count on the hospice movement being around AND being funded by Medicare when our time comes? I can hope, but I’m also paying my LT premiums. My fear of being a burden to my kids trumps my reluctance to throw money at fat-cat insurance companies.

    by Janice — November 16, 2011

  19. All of these posts are informative and give me lots to consider. We haven’t had a rise in our LT Care premium….yet! I have two daughters that sing the song “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”. I never want to live with either one of them as I fear their tempers. Our home is paid for and I want to stay in the home as long as possible. Our policy has an inflation rider. It also pays for In Home Care.
    Having said all that…..if premiums go up while on a fixed income, if market crashes and destroys 401k, who knows how long I’ll have the policy? Who knows if the insurance company will hang in there?
    Also…..we plan to travel with whatever extra there may be. We have spent so much on our adult children over the years that we are no longer concerned about the sum of their inheritance any more. We just want to make our remaining years tolerable.

    by Viv — November 16, 2011

  20. How does the insurance company calculate inflation for your riders? If they use the gvt statistics over the last 3 years there has been no inflation when we all know its closer to 30%.. I would think about that ….. Now a monthly stay in our area at a convalescent facility is 12,000 a month… what will the stay be in 10 years and will your insurance cover it? Food for thought

    by Mike — November 16, 2011

  21. The problem is the uncertainty of it all. What will your premiums be 5 or 10 years from now? What will the LTC costs be? Will your insurance company still be in business? Will they exit the business and sell your policy to a weaker insurance company? Still, for people who can afford to buy, these policies maybe the better choice than not buying. If you are wealthy, just self fund by using a variable annuity with a LTC rider.

    by CJB — November 16, 2011

  22. My father in law has the top insurance, he used to be VP of a major insurance company. He had a stroke and went into a retirement home. Until his Alzheimers got so bad that he had to be put in the restricted ward it did not pay a dime of the $7,000 a month the place cost. After several years in Alzheimers care the insurance no longer pays the full bill. He had the maximum gold plated policy.

    by MylesJ — November 16, 2011

  23. Mike,
    In answer to your head scratching, I’ve been fortunate in having good health so far. My fingers are crossed that I can hang on at least until Medicare kicks in. I know I’m taking a chance but the insurance I had came with a high deductible, zillions of co-pays, and the monthly premiums were making my life miserable. The last increase was too much.

    I’ll be eligible for Medicare in a couple of years so, like I said, fingers crossed.

    by Kathy — November 16, 2011

  24. I have worked, saved, and invested for over 50 years. I will not spend my last days laying in a bed, pooping in my diaper. That is existing, not living. If at some point I need that kind of care and my 3 kids cannot provide it, I will then go home, lay down, and go out like Edward G Robinson did in that great movie, Soylent Green. I also have no intention of throwing away what I’ve accumulated to some facility. I have zero fear of death, while not in a big rush to get there. Many of my patients lived their entire lives worrying about and being afraid of the “end”. I tried to counsel them, but some things are so ingrained into folks, that nothing helps.

    by Joel — November 16, 2011

  25. My long term care when things start going downhill is similar to that of the early native Americans. Long nature walk into the Alaska wilderness on a cold day…for me, a bottle of 100 year old scotch and a family photo album will help pass the time….the cold and animals will take care of the rest. I’ll not spend my last days as a shut-in in an expensive medical prison. Seen too many friends die bedridden and at the mercy of others decisions. Too each his own ….

    by Dave hamilton — November 16, 2011

  26. Joel, we must have been formulating our posts at the same time. We are also seemingl made from the same cloth….or in my case, canvas….I agree with you completely…

    by Dave — November 16, 2011

  27. We are both newly retired at age 64 and physically active, i.e. swim &/or walk/hike daily, are not and never have been overweight, have never smoked, do not have diabetes. However, we both have health issues that LTC insurance companies say make us uninsurable. Even osteoarthritis is considered a limiting factor if you are seeing a dr./physical therapist regularly, let alone hypertension that is difficult to control and a genetic heart problem. Given that insurance companies’ primary concern is making money, I don’t know how more than a few people our age and older can even be eligible. Even if considered eligible, many will not be able to afford the high premiums. No wonder most of us are saying NO!

    by Diane — November 16, 2011

  28. My sister has a long term care policy and has had for over 10 years. Hancock was just recently approved in MN to raise the premium by 90%. There should be
    a law against this gouging type of rate hike. Who can afford that? Many people will drop coverage as they are unable to handle the premiums despite having maintained them for years in prepartion for their future.

    by Larry Molstad — November 16, 2011

  29. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read the comments of people (men) who believe they will have control over the character of their deaths. Do we imagine that those who languish helplessly in nursing homes planned a messy, smelly, ignominious death, or had they too pledged to end their last days swigging rum and swatting flies on a tropical beach?

    Why all this venom about LT insurance? Do we drive without insurance on the wreck that won’t happen? Leave our homes uninsured for the fire and theft that will never come about? Resistence to LT seems to reside in the fact that the insurance won’t pay the whole bill, but to my mind even a $200 per day hedge against a $350-$500 per day charge is better than having to pay the whole thing.

    Maybe my LT won’t be used, but in all the years I have left I’ll feel better knowing that IF I become one of those disabled old people none of us plan to become, I will have removed some of the burden from my kids.

    On the other hand, MylesJ’s post (above) is certainly a chilling cautionary tale.

    by Janice — November 16, 2011

  30. I remember my mother made me promise never to put her in a nursing home. She was fortunate that she could afford the 6 months of home health care needed between her cancer diagnosis and death. I won’t go to a nursing home, either. When life is that bad, I’ll find my own way to leave, on my own terms. I’d rather spend my hard earned money now (I plan to retire in the next couple of months) on travel and enjoying life. I’m not shortchanging my retirement by paying astronomical amounts for a pathetical existence in a nursing home.

    by Darcy — November 16, 2011

  31. I priced LTC and it is way too expensive. I simply don’t believe the doomsday predictions of cost in any reasonable care facility. In my family, we take care of our own. LTC insurers are simply trying to make a killing off of the very people they ought to be trying to help. And my wife and I are in very good health. We will retire to the farm and breathe fresh air.

    by Rich Lee — November 16, 2011

  32. How much money are you willing to spend for a 12% or 22% cance of going into a nursing home? Unless you are high risk, not worth the money. I did some research a few months back. I have seen percentages less than quoted. Only one study quoted

    by John — November 16, 2011

  33. I am truly surprised by some of the replies here because it’s painfully obvious there really is no clear understanding of these types of policies, among so many of those who have posted. It’s sad to see just how uninformed and uneducated people are about LTC (long term care) policies, and yet they are making life long decisions regarding this coverage, without so much as knowing how they truly work.

    I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years and have worked on the hospital ins side for over 11 years. My husband and I purchased a LTC policy 3 yrs ago thru my employer, when I was 46 and my husband was 50. We are both healthy (thank goodness) and the one and only reason we purchased the plan, is because we watched the long term policy my father bought for my mother in 1987 pay off for her in spades. Dad wasn’t eligible because of his triple bypass a few years before. Mom was diagnosed w/brain cancer in 2003, went into the nursing home in 2007 and she just passed away in Sept. I just did the numbers for this reply and in the 4.5 years she was in the nursing home, that policy paid in excess of $220,000 in benefits. As soon as the policy was “in use” in 2007 for 90 days, we never paid another premium. Once the policy is “in use” most of them are written as such that no more premiums are paid by the member, as long as the policy is paying benefits.

    It’s important to “think about” and/or buy LTC, BEFORE you’re either too old or too sick to qualify or price yourself out. The older you get the more expensive the premiums will be. If you are overweight, or have a history of an illness, (or a family history) it’s best to talk to the agent first. You have to be informed of the product, just like you would research a car or house before you buy it, the same with these and all policies.

    Because neither my husband or I have any children, I will maintain this policy at all costs for the both of us. I will pay for the coverage rather than “hedge a bet” that any type of Medicaid will still be available by the time I need this policy. God forbid if anything were to happen, but if it did and I (or my husband) needed LTC even temporarily right now at my age of 49 and he 53, we have the policy to cover any long term care issues that might arise.

    Lastly, that $220,000 the insurance company paid over these last 4.5 years, is $220,000 “more” my parents estate was able to keep, instead of giving it to the nursing home or the government in order for her to have qualified for Medicaid.

    by Alice — November 17, 2011

  34. MylesJ-

    I’m not trying to be a wise acre here, but your father may have had “top insurance” or the “maximum gold plated policy”, BUT unless Long Term Care was expressly included, there is no other “policy” that pays for long term care in a nursing facility. Most employers do not “provide” LTC as a benefit, even for the VP of a major insurance company. I have a very hard time believing that he had any type of long term benefit just by your description. If they truly didn’t pay a “dime of the $7,000/month cost”, that leads me to believe there never was any Long Term Care coverage for your dad. I purchased my LTC policy through my employer. They pay no part of the premiums. I am responsible for my premium and my husband’s.

    I just have to ask, as a “VP of a major insurance company”, didn’t your father know what coverages he had or didn’t have before his stroke? My father was a salesman for one of the oldest medical and life insurance companies in the country for over 38 years, and before he died in 2009 he made sure I knew exactly what he and my mother both had in the ways of coverage before he was too sick (or worse), to let me know.

    Again, it simply sounds like there are alot of people here responding who are taking what they “think” they know about insurance in general or what they’ve heard and are making long term and life changing decisions based on half truths and/or complete falsehoods.

    As Janice said, I too don’t know whether to laugh or cry about some of these comments. We all have homeowners, car insurance, etc, in the hopes that we never need it, but are thankful for writing that check every month when we do. My fear is, what is going to happen to all of those who fully “believe” that the government (in the form of Medicaid or Medicare) will take care of them. It’s so close to being all gone right now it’s scary. I don’t want to see what it’s like in another 10 or 20 years, when I may be in need of that long term care policy. There’s no guarantee that ANY insurance company will still be here when we need them, but that’s where educating oneself about these policies and the companies that sell them comes into play and is the most important thing anyone can do for themselves and their loved ones.

    by Alice — November 17, 2011

  35. Alice, you wrote most of what I was thinking — thanks. LTC isn’t a health insurance policy — it’s designed to protect your assets instead of having them used to keep you in a home or with in-home care. Most “fortunes” are wiped out by a few years of LTC. If you have no assets, LTC should not be considered. If you own your house, have retirement investments, want or need to leave money for your kids, or want to provide support for your spouse if you need LTC, then you should consider an LTC policy. We got a joint policy 9 years ago when we were both 54. The premium has never increased. Our “inflation” coverage is 5% annually and it HAS kept up with project assisted living costs. At 10 years, additional benefits kick in — no additional cost. The $25,000 cost up to that point has been well worth the security.

    Our family COULD and would cover our care, but we don’t want to either burden them or live with them. (Why would you want to burden your family with $75,000 or more annual care costs?)

    If you think you fit the criteria, do shop for an excellent policy. Some of the best known are NOT the best in coverage or price. Some are terrible as has been stated above. Do compare as many as you can — not just 2 or 3. Do limit yourself to long time, highly rated companies — not a new startup with no history and perhaps no future.

    Then make the decision for yourself.

    by Rich — November 17, 2011

  36. :???:Everything in life has a risk and is a gamble!! Choices have to be made…do I want to pay the premiums and maybe cannot do anything else in life…like travel…fix up my home..eat out…play golf..etc..and maybe never used the policy….or do I want to gamble and enjoy the remainder of my life a little more? I think if money is restricted…I would have to go for the fun and risk the other!

    by Sherry — November 17, 2011

  37. I had just finished reading the comments, when I found the following on MSN … http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/11/beached_whales_in_new_zealand_do_animals_commit_suicide_.html . Relates to some of the comments. We are just animals … do other species share this ability/desire to escape SOMETHING through conscious/consentual suicide? I have mixed feelings about suicide, but I have one of those “no-extreme-measures/do-not-resusitate” agreements and isn’t that a form of suicide (when one considers that those extreme measures are getting more agressive every day). I think MANY of us “boomers” (and beyond) are now at the point where the thoughts crop up (if not the active discussions with loved ones/friends). However, aren’t we the same ones that years ago said, “Who wants to live past 30!”? 😉 I also loved “Soilent Green” and one could be considered both altruistic (for benefit of those around one and society as whole) and selfish (avoid the pain and low quality of life) by deciding to terminate. I have taken this discussion away from the original topic; however, it seems a natural outgrowth of it. I do agree with those who want to enjoy life to the end … then accept that end (for an opposing arguement to this read Ray Kurzweil’s TRANSCEND http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-Nine-Steps-Living-Forever/dp/1605292079/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2/181-3704403-6856539)… I hope I can live up to that. Oh, yes, I do NOT have LTC insurance, am age 63, and do NOT intend to get it.

    by Mad Monk — November 17, 2011

  38. Wow – lots of emotions on this subject. I purchased a policy for myself about 15 years ago (was 50) through my employer. When I met my current husband and knew I was leaving that company soon, I purchased a policy for him – both were portable when i left. Both policies combined cost about $1300 a year – they are not meant to cover everything, but they do have inflation protection and the company has yet to ever raise the premium in 15 years! Both policies cover in home care which I have a feeling we’ll require more than nursing home care. Neither my husband nor I believe in heroic intervention and treatment and we have discussed that in the event of a catastrophic illness we’d rather let nature take it’s course. I am glad, however, that we have this protection in place to defray some of the costs that are inevitable.

    by Genie — November 17, 2011

  39. Woo… this is a hot one! 😈 The “I’m immortal” mentality of the person in their 20s morphs into “it’ll never happen to ME” mentality of the healthy senior. Now, I’m not sayin’ that anyone needs to BUY INSURANCE. As clearly noted by those above, you’d be betting that you stay healthy, and they’re betting that, too. So why aren’t THEY paying US to stay healthy? Because that isn’t business-as-usual, which is to take as much money as possible from us by promoting fear of the unknown.
    Yeah, things happen. But to make a choice because of being afraid is one of the biggest issues in this country, starting most noticeably with TSAs and 9/11 taking our rights by promotion of fear of the unknown.
    Should you have insurance? I say NO, unless the law is in place to have it (and those laws ought to be under scrutiny). Laws pus through by insurance company lobbies are not good for our individual freedoms, that’s for sure.
    At 63, single and with no kids, I am planning for my future by saving money, not giving it to some company to use for their own profit. Years ago, when I decided that rent was just paying someone else’s mortgage, I starting doing for myself instead of paying others for that.
    My mom and dad both lived (without dementia) into their 90s. I plan to do as well, and when the physical issues rear their heads, my intent is to have enough wealth to pay my own way. For Crissake, STOP with this paying others to take care of you!! DO IT YOURSELF.

    by Elin — November 17, 2011

  40. Elin-

    I did some additional numbers after reading your post and just had to share them. To some people myself included, taking out a LTC policy IS taking care of yourself, (and those we love) versus letting others (the govt or family who has no idea how or the finances) to do so. My husband nor I have any children, so the only family we could really “rely on” is an 18 yr old nephew who just started his freshman yr in engineering. So, not the best choice for certain.

    My father purchased mom’s policy in Jan 1987. The premiums did increase over the 20 years as mom aged, but the average over the 20 yrs was approx. $300/month. Once she started using the policy in Jan, 2007 and after using the home care rider for only 90 days, dad never paid another premium, nor did I have to after he passed in ’09. She moved into the nursing facility in April ’07 and until Sept. when she passed, her rate was approx. $135/day.

    Premiums
    Avg. $300/month, $3600/year x 20 yrs = $72,000.

    Benefits paid
    Avg. $135/day, $4050/month x 4.5 years (54 months) = $218,700.

    The peace of mind my father lived and died with knowing that his ill wife would be taken care of at no financial burden to himself, his wife of 59 years, his 2 dtrs or his 2 grandchildren = ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS, to all who loved them.

    I sincerely hope for your sake that you too can live into your 90’s like your parents without dementia or worse, but while you’re saving your money, it appears you’ll probably have to save up at least 3x’s as much in order to “take care of yourself” without a LTC policy. Please understand, I am not advocating that you buy insurance. Just consider it a little bit (or alot) of unsolicited advice. 🙂

    My mother never took anything stronger than a Premarin and suffered only from the normal allergies and colds anyone in hot and humid Texas suffers from, before being diagnosed with an egg sized malignant brain tumor in 2003 at the age of 74. Before that, she was very active with her church, worked in the yard, tended their gardens, fished in their pond, picked pecans in the fall,and traveled with my father. Early one morning she woke up having a seizure and the rest is a sad story of her illness. We grieved the loss of her good health and we hurt as she slipped away, but not one time did any of us worry about where the money would come from for her care and how long would it last? Would she outlive her funds? My father Bless his heart, was a genius in his decision to buy the LTC policy.

    And if my father could tell you if he’d do it again, I know he would in a heart beat. To him, $72,000 in LTC premiums (over 20 yrs), was a pittance for the 20 yrs of peaceful sleep and living my father enjoyed knowing he did the best he could for them if my mother became ill. It’s not for all, but for all of us, it was priceless.

    by Alice — November 17, 2011

  41. Thanks to everyone for their interesting and often helpful comments. This is definitely a hot button for our members! Seems like the ladies often have a more thoughtful perspective. The sad thing is that many of us will not have a choice about our final care – we may not be able to “release ourselves into the wild” – a sudden stroke, an accident, whatever – and suddenly our care is in the hands of family.

    We have a few complaints from people who say the comments are being cut off on the right side. We are investigating that, which seems to occur on some versions of IE. Meanwhile, if you have this trouble consider downloading Mozilla Firefox – it is free and a much better browser anyway. You can get it here http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

    by Admin — November 18, 2011

  42. The comments are cut off because the webpage is set up in columns with no option to scroll horizontally. If you copy-paste only the comments column into a Word document in landscape orientation, you can see everything. Only takes a few seconds. Would be nice if the webpage were reformatted though! 🙂

    by Diane — November 18, 2011

  43. From an Internet Explorer user who found a way to cope with right side of text being cut off. If you can find a drop down menu for “page”, giving you an array of settings/adjustments, go to “style”, which has two choices – “default”, or “no style”. Choosing the “no style” option should resolve the problem. Have enjoyed this great site for a long time and not left a comment until now.

    by NW&Rusting — November 19, 2011

  44. For those having the problem with the right side of the text being cut off, go to your top tool bar and click on “View”. Then click “Style” and then “No Style”. Thanks, NW&Rusting, for helping us out with your suggestion.

    by Lynn — November 20, 2011

  45. To slove the problem, go to “View” on your tool bar. The “View” portion of my last comment was the part of the print that was cut off on the right side. Once you have clicked “View”, click “Style”, and then click “No Style”. I hope those of you who have been frustrated with this problem will be able to read the most important parts of this comment….good luck!

    by Lynn — November 21, 2011

  46. Would love to hear from folks that have no children and have purchased LTCI.
    Also, for those who have purchased (kids or not) what amount did you chose and why. Im 57 and looking into it but cant decide. HELP

    by Steve — November 21, 2011

  47. 11/22/2011-Minnesota

    I have a Long term care policy with John Hancock purchased in 1999 which every year has cost $1590. In the last two years the premium has increased 68%! The premium is due Dec 6th. The premium has gone to $2547. so I want to decrease the elimination period from 20 days to 60 or 90 days and/or decrease the benefit period from “lifetime” to 4 or 5 years. I’ve asked for 4 separate quotes for these changes.

    Beginning Nov 3rd, 19 days now, I have called John Hancock to reduce my premium by decreasing my benefit period to 5 years or 4 years and to decrease my elimination period to 60 or 90 days. For 19 days now they have stonewalled my request to give me information on these changes and what the premium will be reduced to. They have my address, e-mail, and phone number.

    I have called 6 times without results…today by phone they claim only MY policy has this problem! That their computer shows “system error” when they try to get the information. My insurance agent who purchased this originally cannot get answers from John Hancock either.

    Also, Minnesota’s Insurance Commissioner has OKed all of these raises…but you can’t reach him to talk to him…you get a secretary who is not knowledgeable about what is happening. She wants you to talk to one of their actuaries rather than the person who OKed the huge increases: the Commissioner.

    by Peg — November 22, 2011

  48. The article is really informative and beneficial for the senior citizens who needs balanced retirement plans.By knowing certain information,they can make decision to have the best long-term care insurance plan for themselves. A long-term care insurance policy is the best way in which you have to pay in advance and that too in fewer amounts in order to combat future’s big financial problems.

    by Olivia Hall — December 1, 2011

  49. We bought LTC insurance in our mid to late 60s. If you can afford it it is worth having, but with some caveats. 1- The cost of the insurance will go up at some point and you will have to pay it or drop the policy so make sure you have a cash cushion for this. Buy only from the best companies [we bought Genworth]. You want to minimize the risk of your company not being in business after years of paying premiums. If married try to get a shared benefit policy where you can each have some benefit. IMPORTANT- Odds are you will not need or only need this policy for a short period of time. One way to reduce your cost is to take a longer elimination period [we took 1 year], it’s like havig a bigger deductible on your. car insurance. There are big cost savings when you do this. You cover the short term risk and don’t have to worry about the longer term costs which can bankrupt you. One last thing, buy it in your mid to late 50s as this is the “sweet ” spot for cost and you eliminate the risk of denial of coverage as you age and have increasing health problems.

    by Rob — December 2, 2011

  50. My husband and I bought LTC insurance at age 59 and 60. Since then I have had health problems that prevent me from being able to buy it now, at age 65. We have John Hancock and the premiums have not gone up. At the time we bought we also bought a rider to prevent premiums from increasing. NY Life has a good LTC policy, as well. Large companies with solid financials don’t go out of business which was one of our concerns.

    by Linda — December 3, 2011

  51. Linda…what state didn’t raise Hancock’s premiums?

    by peg — December 4, 2011

  52. We have AARP long-term insurance and it’s great. Genworth Financial is the company they use.

    by KimbeeJean — December 5, 2011

  53. I received a denial letter from John Hancock yesterday for LT Care insurance through my husband’s employment. The reason, my “frame” is to big.. In other words I’m overweight for my height. I’ve never been denied insurance until yesterday. What a shock. I do have other medical conditions, asthma, heart palpitations and GERD. Just watched my dad die without LTC insurance and have seen what happened to his finances and paid for house…wiped out after only 7 months in a care facility. Was trying to protect my husbands and my assets for the future. Husband has LT Care but I did not take out when he did. Now I wish I would have. Now what? Not sure if losing weight will make me insurable as I have the other health care issues.

    by Sandraj. — December 13, 2011

  54. John Hancock finally got those 4 quotes to me….I have paid the bill. Hope the next years will calm these increases down….

    John Hancock….wish more who have their LT care with them would respond.

    by Peg — December 14, 2011

  55. Here is a pretty informative article in the Wall St. Journal about the costs of long term care – some things to definitely consider
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704653204576112591290364226.html

    by Admin — December 16, 2011

  56. […] we never expected the 2 articles about insurance to generate so much member input. But “Boomers Can’t Get Over the Hump Long Term Care Insurance” generated 55 comments, while “Your Early Retirement: How to Get Medical […]

    by » Top 10 Retirement Articles for 2011 Topretirements — December 28, 2011

  57. […] further reference: Boomers Can’t Get Over the Hump on Long Term Care Insurance Early Retirement: What to Do About Medical Insurance Posted by John Brady on December 30th, 2011 […]

    by » Going Naked Topretirements — December 30, 2011

  58. Here is a link to an interesting article we saw:
    http://www.smartmoney.com/retirement/planning/some-longtermcare-insurance-is-better-than-none-1323801701961/

    by Admin — January 5, 2012

  59. Some thoughts: My husband and I purchased LTC insurance when we were 58 and 59 yrs old. I have since developed health problems and would not be eligible for LTC if I tried to buy today at 65. We became acutely aware of the expenses and difficulties with caring for the elderly when both our mothers needed care. It is not always possible to care for the elderly at home. Sometimes it can be done by hiring help. Our polices cover both in-home and institutional care.We also purchased a rider to limit premium increases. In Maryland, the state required us to sign a form stating our income was a minimum of $100K per year. Just hoping it is there when we need it.

    by Linda — January 7, 2012

  60. Does AARP or any other retiree organization also offer LTC insurance to help standardize the policy offerings and the ultimate cost to the consumer?

    by Mike — January 8, 2012

  61. My husband bought LTC when we were in our early 60,s. Two years ago we found out the company we purchased it from is being liquidated and we have to go into the state insurance guaranty fund which pays considerably less than the policy we had with maay restrictions.

    by Ellye — January 8, 2012

  62. Mike, AARP has LTC insurance, which my husband and I have right now. After spending years researching LTC providers, we went with AARP’s. Check them out; you can find the info on their website. Hope that helps.

    by Kimbee Jean — January 9, 2012

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