Recently, long-term care insurers have focused a substantial investment of resources in evaluating and assessing the feasibility of wellness programs aimed at keeping policyholders healthier and at home as they age. This goal meets the stated desires of almost all policyholders, and also delays and/or lessens the severity of any long term care insurance claims that policyholders might be eligible for. Many of these wellness programs utilize predictive analytics of various types, including algorithmic data analysis, predictive models and artificial intelligence. Regulators and lawmakers have been focused on these types of Insurtech offerings, and have been particularly attentive to potential discrimination issues that might arise.
During the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Spring Conference last week, the NAIC LTC Task Force met to discuss various topics and we wanted to share a summary of the discussion:
The bulk of the meeting was the Task Force receiving an update from each of its subgroups:
Over the past few years, insurers, consumers and regulators have asked the question: who, and how, will consumers receive and pay for long-term care? The older, retired population will soon substantially outnumber the working population and the number of private insurers providing long-term care continues to dwindle. A report from the American Council of Life Insurers projects 70% of Americans turning age 65 or older will require long-term care. By 2060, the number of Americans turning age 65 or older will double and those turning age 85 or older will triple. As the population continues to age, the average cost of care continues to rise. Thus, the government faces a looming risk of unbearable expenses as more individuals rely on Medicaid for elder care. In light of this statistical reality, governments, insurers and long-term care (LTC) providers are trying to find cost-efficient ways to offer long-term care to consumers in need and, in turn, increase access to care.
An aging boomer population, limitations or workforce shortages in the health care or long-term services and supports formal care systems, and the ongoing pandemic are some of the reasons why more and more Americans have found themselves serving as unpaid caregivers for family members or friends.
Not only are more Americans taking on the role of unpaid caregiver, but they are doing so for adult recipients who may have increasingly complex medical or support needs. More than 60% of caregivers report in a 2020 AARP survey that their adult care recipient needs additional help due to long-term physical conditions, while about one-third cite memory problems (such as Alzheimer’s or dementia) as the reason. The on-going pandemic also continues to shape aging-in-place (i.e. at home) demand for services, including home health aides.
Navigating long-term care insurance (LTCi) can be complicated for people planning the type of care they might need, how long they might need it and how they are going to pay for it, according to retirement expert Glenn Ruffenach. In a recent Wall Street Journal Ask Encore column, he examines the importance of finding a knowledgeable, independent agent who “sells policies from multiple carriers and who specializes in long-term-care planning and insurance.”
Mr. Ruffenach recommends several tips to help find the right agent, including using educational and training programs dedicated to LTCi insurance to find agents and other financial professionals nationwide. (For example Certification for Long-Term Care has a locator on its website that identifies its graduates.) He also suggests searching online for local experts or asking others in professional services, such as accounting or tax law, for recommendations. Once you have identified several agents, it is important to talk to all of them to assess who is the best fit for you based on their experience and education as well as your own comfort level with them.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is out this week with its strategic priorities for 2021, including a renewed commitment to long-term care insurance (LTCi).
NAIC says “state insurance regulators will continue on-going efforts to improve the consistency around LTCi rate review processes; examine insurer reserve adequacy; facilitate innovative product offerings; engage with federal policymakers on LTCi policy; and educate consumers on LTCi products and alternative benefit options.” NAIC’s LTCi (EX) Task Force is expected to deliver its proposal to the organization’s Executive Committee by the 2021 Summer National Meeting.
On January 26, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced six appointments to the state’s new Long Term Care Insurance Task Force. The Task Force was established after the passage of AB 567 and is tasked with, among others, exploring the feasibility of developing and implementing a culturally competent statewide public insurance program for long-term care services and support. More information on the Task Force can be found here. California’s efforts appear to follow a recent trend of policymakers exploring or implementing public programs aimed at long-term care services, including Washington State’s Long Term Care Trust Act and some of the ideas recently discussed at the Federal level, including by U.S. Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY).
Today we take a closer look at the latest Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index analysis from The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).