Here comes the next health insurance crisis
Seniors with long-term care coverage, which Obamacare doesn't touch, are getting a double whammy of premium hikes and benefit cuts.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, insurers offered long-term health-care policies designed to cover nursing homes or in-home care as their clients aged. The only problem? Insurers underestimated the ramp-up in medical costs, as well as how long their customers would live.
Now, seniors are getting hit on two fronts. Not only are long-term insurers increasing their rates, but many are also cutting back on benefits. On top of that, only about a dozen companies are still selling "meaningful numbers" of policies, down from about 100 just 10 years ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.
For better or worse, long-term care insurance is one area of the health care industry that the Affordable Care Act won't touch, at least for now. That's something many consumers are confused about, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTC).
The health care insurance overhaul that goes into effect in 2014 is designed to provide insurance for most if not all working Americans, but President Barack Obama's plan doesn't include long-term coverage. However, a congressional commission is examining the issue, the AALTC notes.
In the meantime, policyholders are dealing with the stresses of rate bumps and benefits cuts.
Take Rob and Katherine Deane, an older couple profiled by The Journal. Manulife Financial's (MFC) John Hancock division told them their premiums would jump by 25% and 77%, respectively. After the couple complained, the company reduced that 77% hike to only 46%, but the policy's benefit period was whittled down to six years from its previous 10.
Genworth Financial (GNW), which holds one-third of the market for long-term care policies sold to individuals, stopped selling through AARP last month, and it said in May that it would hike premiums for its oldest policies by more than 50%.
That's tough to swallow for a lot of policyholders, who are worried about the skyrocketing cost of nursing homes. Medicare pays for only short stays, and the median annual rate for a nursing home room in 2013 is almost $84,000, according to Genworth.
As retired surgeon Rob Deane told The Journal: "Seniors are really getting hammered."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Its all a bunch of Crap Nothing is affordable or free, Folks are going to be
in for a big surprise. Hell they cant manage Medicare or Social Security
How does anyone think they can run Health Care.
You want to talk abuse of the elderly? That's it right there.
This is all just crazy. I mean at some point, its going to make more sense to make a real effort to live a healthy life. No fair!
But until then, give me some beer, wings, weed, and a big screen tv!
Most premiums are in the $25,000.00 range per year.Some are higher.The cost of an bed in an nursing home for the year is nearing $100,000.00.It is an no win situation for anyone.The carrier has to go up,the nursing home has costs going up all the time.Thus the insured has to pay more.Your just touching the ice burg.Good Luck.
"The health care insurance overhaul that goes into effect in 2014 is designed to provide insurance for most if not all working Americans" This is just an outright lie!!!
It requires everyone to PURCHASE health care insurance. That's a far cry from providing it.
If you can't afford it, you will then be fined for not complying. It's a joke, just like everything the government gets involved with.
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You don't have to sign up for Medicare. The catch? If you don't enroll when you're first eligible, you could pay some serious financial penalties later in life.
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