LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/16/13 -- A study released today reports that the largest open long term care insurance claim made by a female policyholder has reached $1.8 million in paid benefits. The largest claim made by a male policyholder now exceeds $1.3 million in paid benefits.
"Long term care insurance companies paid $6.6 billion in benefits in 2012 to a record 264,000 individuals," explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). Roughly half of newly opened claimants received benefits for covered home care services with the rest paying for care in assisted living communities or skilled nursing homes.
The Association's annual claims analysis revealed that the female claimant has received benefit payments for 15 years and nine months as of December 31, 2012. "Her claim which now exceeds $1.8 million started three years after she purchased a long term care insurance policy," Slome explains. "Consider that she paid $881 yearly for the coverage with payments ending when her claim began."
Long-term care insurance is not the lottery or something you hope to collect on, Slome notes. "But, if you need care for a few months or for many years, benefit payments from your insurance can help relieve the financial and emotional toll that so many families face."
According to the organization's study, the majority of new long term care insurance claims in 2012 started after the policyholder was age 70. "Over two-thirds (68%) of new claims began after the policyholder turned 80," Slome reports. "About one-in-four (23.5%) started their claim between ages 70 and 79. The most common reasons for a long term care insurance claim are Alzheimer's disease, stroke, arthritis, circulatory issues or injury."
The largest open claims reported by leading insurers ranged from $322,286 to $1.8 million. "Several of these very large claims began just a few months after the person purchased their policy," Slome says. "People mistakenly associate long term care with care needed by the elderly. Accidents, injuries and illnesses also can result in a need for long term care."
New Options Reduce Long Term Care Insurance Costs
"Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of long term care insurance and options offered by several leading insurers now make this coverage more attractive to a broader population," acknowledges AALTCI's Slome. "Newer choices allow couples to share in a combined pool of benefits and enable younger individuals to lock in lower cost coverage that they can increase in future years without having to meet health qualifications."
The trade group recommends consumers consider this protection prior to age 65 because of the need to meet health standards. To get the best coverage and options, AALTCI advises working with a knowledgeable professional. Slome recommends asking two questions; how many years have you been selling long-term care insurance and how many insurance companies are you appointed with?
"It can take at least three years but ideally five or more years to really acquire the knowledge necessary to become a specialist," Slome shares. "A good broker specialist will be able to compare policies from at least four or five long term care insurance companies."
To access free guides outlining ways to reduce long term care insurance costs or to connect with designated long term care insurance professionals for no-obligation cost quotes call the organization at (818) 597-3227 or visit the Association's website at www.aaltci.org/guides.
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