Faegre Drinker LTCi Leader Steve Serfass Talks Future of LTCI in New Podcast

Our very own Steve Serfass is featured in a new podcast episode of “Voices of LTCi” from The Helper Bees. In the episode, Steve talks with The Helper Bees CEO Char Hu about creating Faegre Drinker’s long-term care insurance (LTCi) practice and the importance of addressing the legal needs of the industry. He also discusses the path of his legal career and his hopes for the future of the LTCi industry.

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ThinkAdvisor Catches Up With New York Life’s Jeff Beligotti

ThinkAdvisor recently talked to New York Life’s Jeff Beligotti, Vice President and Head of Long-Term Care Solutions, about his views on the state of long-term care insurance and the long-term care sector generally.

In the interview, Jeff notes that “this is an exciting time to be in the long-term care space,” and offers perspectives on how financial professionals can support long-term care planning as well as how standalone LTCi can complement emerging federal and state-level LTCi programs.

Read the full ThinkAdvisor article.

Cost of Care Survey Shows Uptick in Homecare Services and LTC Costs

The cost of long-term care services increased across all provider types in 2021, according to a recently published 18th annual Cost of Care Survey* from Genworth. Specifically, the 2021 Cost of Care data shows the highest year-over-year increase in homecare services since Genworth began tracking the cost of care in 2004. Homecare services include homemaker services and home health aides. Individuals that provide homemaker services assist with “hands off” everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. Home health aides assist with “hands on” tasks, such as bathing and dressing.

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Challenges of Long-Term Care

The Biden administration recently proposed $400 billion (reduced to $150 billion) in new funding to support home-care workers as part of the Build Back Better plan. But in a recent article in National Affairs, “The Long-Term Care Challenge,” Professor Robert Saldin* argues that this proposal does not go far enough to meet the burgeoning need for long-term care (LTC). Saldin asserts that Americans’ “woeful ignorance” of their own eventual need for LTC insurance, together with worsening demographic trends, has created a need for a “universal national program to mitigate the catastrophic [LTC] costs that drain state budgets and impoverish middle-class Americans.”

Saldin begins by outlining the well-known demographic trends that are exacerbating the already grim state of LTCi in America. About 60 percent of those who require LTC are over the age of 65, and those individuals receive 80 percent of national LTC spending. These trends are set to worsen over time, he says, requiring systemic reform to avoid “significant constraints on America’s dynamism and vitality.” For example, Saldin notes that some estimates suggest that by 2030 24 million people will required LTC, up from 14 million now.

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Other States Slow to Follow Florida’s Lead on Genetic Information Restrictions

With the widespread availability of genetic testing, especially in direct-to-consumer forms, there is a growing concern about the privacy of that information and whether it can be used by insurers to underwrite policies for certain lines of insurance. Federal law provides a base amount of protection through the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information in both the health insurance and employment context. However, GINA does not apply to life, disability or long-term care insurance. With such limited federal protections, individual states are left to provide greater protections if they wish to.

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Economic and External Factors That Influence Long-Term Care Claims

The Society of Actuaries concluded its 4th Long-Term Care (LTC) Medical Symposium on December 2, 2021. The Symposium historically features professionals and experts from outside of the LTC insurance industry to provide insight into the external forces shaping the delivery of LTC in the US, with an eye towards how LTC insurers may pay future claims. Over the past 3 years the Symposium has featured a broad array of professionals such as gerontologists, neurologists, facility managers, nurses, demographers, biologists, economists, investment managers, and more. See the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Symposia write-ups for more information.

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COVID-19 Continues to Impact Attitudes About Long-Term Care, New Survey Shows

As we continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 across the country, many Americans believe it is now more important than ever for people to have a long-term care (LTC) plan (88%) and LTC insurance (86%), per the 10th Annual Nationwide Retirement Institute® Long-term Care survey released in mid-November.

However, nearly half of adults across all age groups (45%) say they have not had a conversation about LTC planning with anyone and only 8% have spoken about it with a financial professional. Moreover, industry data show that only 15% of Americans (mostly older consumers) have purchased LTC insurance. The survey also revealed that many adults misunderstand what products actually provide LTC coverage because 25% of adults self-reported that they own a LTC insurance policy. Millennials are the most likely to claim that they currently own LTC insurance (39%), but most say that they bought the insurance at work, evidencing a likely misconception among adults confusing long-term disability insurance with LTC insurance. The survey thus highlights in multiple places the trend of the disparity between knowing the importance of preparing for LTC needs, and actually preparing for those needs.

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