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Report: Women pay more than men for the same LTC coverage

There have been a few developments on the flood insurance front, and we will discuss those in future posts. There is more to Florida than its waterfront homes and coastal flood plains, though. We are also a state with a sizeable population of retirees and older people. And that means we have other insurance concerns.

Like, for instance, long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance can be purchased at any age, but most consumers think of it as coverage for late-in-life illnesses. A policy can cover an illness or a disability, and it can cover expenses for hospital or hospice care, home health care, respite care and other necessary services.

Some people buy the insurance to protect their assets in case of a major illness or disability. Others go with the coverage to spare their families the expense of taking care of them.

Whatever the reason, few people purchase long-term care insurance on a whim. These are expensive policies, and they have no cash value. If you never make a claim, you cannot get a refund.

Just how expensive the policy will be depends on a number of factors. Gender, age when purchasing the policy and the insurance company are key determinants.

Men, for example, will pay less than women. According to the 2014 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index, a healthy 55-year-old man will pay almost 25 percent less than a healthy 55-year-old woman. Neither policy is cheap: For $164,000 in benefits, men will pay about $925 annually, while women will pay $1,225.

Premiums for men actually went down in 2013, about 15 percent, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the organization behind the price index. Women began to see higher premiums last year, because they "account for two-thirds of the $6.6 billion in claims paid" during 2013, the association says.

Other research shows that premiums can vary significantly between carriers. The "typical difference," one broker says, runs to 80 percent. She has seen differences as high as 109 percent, though.

Source: Elder Law Answers, "Price of Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Drops, At Least for 55-Year-Old Males," Jan. 23, 2014

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