Long-Term Care Insurance Market Updates

We write on a few articles from the past week that we found interesting.

A recent article from Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, “Helping Older Americans Stay in Their Homes,” looks at challenges facing the long-term care insurance market as COVID-19 concerns continue and more and more people consider long-term care their greatest financial concern behind retirement savings. She also discusses how lawmakers are looking for ways to help more people get long-term care insurance.

Read the full ACLI IMPACT article.


In addition, we want to bring your attention to a new Best’s Market Segment Report, “U.S. Long-Term Care Product Performance Pressures Continue.” According to the report, from credit reporting agency AM Best, loss ratios in the LTCi market continue to climb and “poor performance from inadequate pricing is a significant issue for LTC insurers, owing to low interest rates, lapse rates, improving mortality, rising morbidity and policyholder utilization assumptions.”

The Report also looks more closely at certain factors driving rate increases nationwide, the evolution of combo products to meet growing coverage demand and efforts of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to stabilize the LTCi market. Although, “AM Best views this as a very difficult task given the state-by-state insurance regulatory structures in place, and expects continued use of closed blocks to separate the legacy liabilities from the new ones in order to increase transparency to outside users of financial statements. AM Best also expects LTC insurers to trend toward simplified policy design and fewer assumptions embedded in their policies. Along with carriers slowing down on offering lifetime benefits coverage and inflation-adjusted features, insurers may also soon begin to disregard lapse rates as an underlying assumption for product pricing.”

Read Best’s Market Segment Report. (Subscription Required).


Finally, in “How low interest rates are changing LTC Insurance products,” Tom Rieske, Jr., Managing Director of LTCi Partners, discusses historical trends in LTCi sales (i.e., the trend toward sales of hybrid life and LTC insurance products) and recent reactions to the persisting low-interest rate environment (e.g., development of a hybrid IUL policy with LTC coverage).

Read the full LTCi Partners article.

Considerations When Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

We are linking to another piece highlighting the attractiveness to many consumers of hybrid long-term care products in contrast to stand-alone long-term care insurance. This recent Barron’s article, “Not Everyone Needs to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance. Here Are Some Considerations,” explores some of the considerations when consumers are looking to buy long-term care insurance, including premium costs, benefits payouts and availability of more policy options.

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Part I: InsurTech Movement Shakes Up LTCi Vendor Composition

Compared with other insurance lines and financial services[1], the InsurTech movement had been relatively slow in impacting LTCi. That inertia recently gave way to a bourgeoning group of companies targeting LTC insurers and providers, demanding a first-of-its-kind LTC Tech Summit (presented by the SOA and Maddock Douglas) on November 7, 2019. In anticipation of this year’s Virtual Elder Tech Summit next week, it is worthwhile to look back at some of the next generation vendors that presented last year.

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Long-Term Care Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide to Costs, Coverage, and Whether It’s Right for You

Wanted to share this interesting article from Money – it provides a good overview of the perspective of the broker community on why stand-alone LTCi remains a viable product, including their view that now is a great time to buy! It also provides worthwhile nuggets on combination products and partnership programs.

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Future of Dementia

There is a possibility that the structural and financial costs of caring for elderly Americans will become the issue that overwhelms all others in importance in the coming decades.  Among the myriad issues and problems facing the United States at present, many politicians and policymakers have focused on issues that appear more immediate. As they do, however, the United States grows older and more infirm, all while birth rates fell to 1.73 births per female in 2018 and net immigration has fallen to the lowest levels this decade. Given the aging baby boomer generation, the current scenario has all of the makings of a serious demographic crisis. Among an aging population, dementia has become a very prevalent, very difficult, and very expensive illness that many confront, and so far little progress has been made on a cure.  Indeed, The Economist, in its August 27, 2020 edition, published a special report on dementia that included the following statistics:

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The Future of Wellness Programs Offered by Long-Term Care Insurers

Companies are searching for solutions to the increasing demand for next-generation elder care solutions. As chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia increase in the elder population, the necessity for in-home care rises. Insurers finding new ways to meet these needs face hurdles in state regulations on insurance rebating and the tax qualified status of wellness policies. The insurance community is keeping a close eye on potential overhaul of anti-rebating provisions and support for programs intended to allow those in need of long-term care to remain at home.

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Responding and Managing the Impact of COVID-19

Assured Allies and Faegre Drinker have partnered to develop a playbook for the long-term care insurance industry. Responding and Managing the Impact of COVID-19 offers insights, guidance and ideas to manage the short- and medium-term impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic and provides potential avenues for long-term care insurers to explore in the post-COVID-19 world that could change long-term care insurance forever.

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Tax-Qualified Language: Litigation Risks Stemming from Common Policy Language

Many long-term-care (LTC) insurance policies in the market are “Tax-Qualified,” or “TQ,” meaning that they meet the federal standards for favorable tax treatment specified by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) (or were grandfathered in to that definition). This is an attractive option for most insureds because under TQ policies, certain LTC insurance benefits qualify for favorable federal income tax treatment — if the policy pays only benefits that reimburse the insured for qualified LTC costs, the insured will not owe federal income tax on those benefits. Likewise, premiums are tax-deductible up to a maximum limit that increases with age. These benefits are not provided by policies that are “Non-Tax-Qualified,” or “NTQ.”

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