Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Long term care insurance: Forthcoming visit from the underwriter


Recently, a representative from AARP called me regarding a question I had asked about Long Term Care Insurance on their website. Or it may be in response to a mail-in form from October, which I wrote about in this blog in October, here.

The caller indicated that it is impossible to give quotes over the phone, and that over a certain age, persons wishing to apply for insurance must have a personal interview. I did schedule one. There will be questions about medical history, and the insurance company will review medical records, presumably to prevent anti-selection.

It’s obvious, of course, that actuarially, the younger a person starts paying premiums, the lower they will be. As filial responsibility becomes a more pressing concern because of demographics, states will feel political pressure requiring younger workers to purchase long term care insurance for themselves (to prevent a burden on adult children or on Medicaid). Perhaps they will also feel pressure to prohibit insurers from requiring genetic tests or considering family history.

I wondered what kind of a job it would be to interview people and have to make underwriting decisions about insuring them – to protect “Medicaid” or protect their adult children. These are not decisions about people that I would want to have to make in order to make a living.

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