FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEED LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 17, 2007) - With healthcare costs rising and longer life expectancies, funding long-term care needs is an increasing concern for millions of people. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 9 million Americans, now 65 or older, will require long-term care. HHS expects that number to rise by 25 percent - to 12 million - by 2020. The average annual cost of nursing home care is $74,806, according to Genworth Financial's 2007 Cost of Care Survey, but that figure can fluctuate depending on the level of care required, and the state in which the care is provided.
To help consumers make more informed decisions about long-term care
insurance coverage, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) offers tips and considerations through its public education
program, Insure U - Get Smart About Insurance, at www.insureUonline.org.
Additionally, answers to many common questions about long-term care
insurance can be found in the NAIC's free "Shopper's Guide to Long-Term
Care Insurance," which can be ordered online at
https://external-apps.naic.org/insprod/Consumer_info.jsp. Consumers can
also obtain the guide by calling their local state insurance
Understanding the Basics of Long-Term Care Insurance
When people are unable to perform activities of daily living - such as eating, dressing and bathing - long-term care insurance can pay for the services of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and in-home caregivers. Importantly, long-term care insurance covers expenses for those diagnosed with a chronic illness such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Standard health insurance policies and Medicare usually do not pay for long-term care expenses associated with these illnesses. Medicaid provides limited long-term care benefits - and only after a person's assets have been depleted.
"People are living longer, but they often don't have the ability to take care of themselves as they reach the older ages," said Walter Bell, NAIC President and Alabama Insurance Commissioner. "Because these costs can become prohibitively high, interest in long-term care insurance is increasing. We encourage consumers to visit our Web site and take the long-term care quiz to find out more about their options." The quiz is located on the right-hand side of the home page of www.insureUonline.org.
A major consideration for purchasing long-term care insurance, according to the NAIC, is whether individuals have assets they want to protect, as the substantial annual cost of long-term care can quickly deplete even a sizeable nest egg. On the other hand, if one's retirement savings are minimal or non-existent, he or she would likely qualify for Medicaid in a very short period of time, significantly diminishing the need for long-term care insurance coverage. According to the NAIC, consumers should not purchase long-term care insurance if they are currently on Medicaid or their only source of income is Social Security.
Ten Tips Regarding Long-Term Care Insurance from the NAIC
Six Special Considerations Regarding Long-Term Care Insurance
The NAIC advises consumers to make sure the following items are included in their long-term care policies:
"Consumers can easily protect themselves from being scammed by fake long-term care insurance policies," said Catherine J. Weatherford, NAIC Executive Vice President and CEO. "Before purchasing a policy, take the time to stop, call and confirm with your state insurance department that the company is authorized to sell insurance in your state."
For more information about insurance options, or to order a copy of the NAIC's free booklet, "A Shopper's Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance" visit www.insureUonline.org. The site is also available in Spanish at www.insureuonline.org/espanol.
About the NAIC
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. The NAIC's overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry by offering financial, actuarial, legal, computer, research, market conduct and economic expertise. Formed in 1871, the NAIC is the oldest association of state officials. For more than 135 years, state-based insurance supervision has served the needs of consumers, industry and the business of insurance at-large by ensuring hands-on, frontline protection for consumers, while providing insurers the uniform platforms and coordinated systems they need to compete effectively in an ever-changing marketplace. For more information, visit NAIC on the Web at: http://www.naic.org/press_home.htm.
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©2007 National Association of Insurance Commissioners. All rights reserved.