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Insurers’ long-term care plans take a stand – against women p2

Tue Dec 11th, 2012 on     Insurance Claims,    

We are returning to our Dec. 5 discussion of long-term care insurance and the changes the industry is likely to impose beginning in 2013. Most of the changes will affect women’s coverage, particularly when it comes to premiums. Tougher underwriting standards are also on the horizon. For Florida residents, the prospect is just more turmoil with insurance in general.

Insurers said they will be overhauling their discount programs, too. For example, if a couple applies together and qualifies, they will receive a discount. But if the husband is denied coverage, the wife will get a smaller discount on her premiums. Insurance professionals add that “couple” may not always mean “husband and wife.” A divorcing couple, for example, could qualify for the discount, and the discount would follow each spouse even after the divorce. Carriers may also grant discounts to same-sex couples and domestic partners.

There is also something called a “future purchase option” that could help single women afford the premiums. The initial policy has lower benefit amounts, but by agreeing to stick with the insurer, the woman would be able to buy more coverage later on based on her initial health status. Considering that rates can go up exponentially based solely on age, the savings could be significant.

That brings us to health status in general. Part of the revised approach to underwriting long-term care insurance policies will be focused on a more detailed health report for the insured. One insurer plans to start requiring blood tests from women to confirm what women say on their applications about tobacco and drug use. That same insurer wants to know more about applicants’ cardiovascular health, too, and that would require more information from medical records, further blood tests or both.

We’ll finish this up — yes, there is more — in our next post.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Women Face Higher Costs,” Kelly Greene, Nov. 23, 2012

Our firm helps clients with coverage disputes on insurance policies, including the long-term care coverage discussed in this post. If you are interested in learning more about our Miami, Florida, insurance law practice, please visit our website.

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