Monday, February 28, 2011

Kiplinger: keep long term care insurance, even as rates go up!

Kiplinger has a comprehensive article dated January 2011 about the recent rate hikes for long term care insurance. The link is here.

The article discusses John Hancock in particular, but all major carriers are likely to behave in a similar fashion.
Kiplinger recommends that seniors who have coverage keep it as long as possible.  The national average for a private room in a nursing home was $229 a day in 2010, or $83535. It’s more in major cities on the coasts.  A private duty aide averages $21 an hour now.  In the future, the labor market, in many states, is likely to become stricter about overtime pay for aides, too; something this blog is still researching.

I know from anecdotal conversations as well as statistics that females are likely to use long term care at end of life longer than males.  In assisted living centers, Alzheimer’s wings are typically about two thirds female.  That’s partly because women still live longer than men. That is complicated, however, by various reports that some kinds of heart disease attacks (those with few warning symptoms) are more likely to be fatal to women than men.

The Kiplinger article sticks to the basics, and explains that there are three ways to pay the bills: self-pay, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. The “look back period” on Medicaid has gotten longer (since 2006), and states are likely to get tougher as their budgets are crimped. I’m surprised that the article doesn’t mention the filial responsibility laws on the books in about 28 states. 

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