Long-Term Care Insurance Policies See Premium Spikes
Long-term care insurance rates are seeing steep increases, causing many seniors and their families financial distress. Because of the high costs of long-term assisted living, one-fifth of Americans over age 65 owns one of these insurance policies. That means many individuals are being blindsided by premium spikes, something Sally Wylie, a 67-year-old retired learning specialist, is all too familiar with.
“Never in our wildest imagination did we consider that the company would double the premium,” Wall Street Journal reports Wylie saying.
Long-term care insurance covers more than 7 million Americans and can help mitigate the costs associated with nursing homes, memory care, and personal aid services for senior citizens.
A 2013 State of Aging and Health in America report showed that two-thirds of all health care costs went toward treating chronic illnesses, while a shocking 95% of senior health care costs were for chronic conditions.
Continuing care for chronic conditions like dementia and ALS is a basic need for a large portion of elderly individuals. It seems only natural, then, that the promise of financial assistance would attract some people who are unsure about their payment strategy for this much-needed care.
Today, more than 5 million people are currently struggling with Alzheimer’s in America alone. Long-term care for these individuals is often necessary.
So why are long-term insurance policies becoming more expensive?
Forbes reports that long-term insurance rates are increasing due to miscalculated rates. Regardless of the reason, the premium spikes are putting long-term care out of reach for many families.
In 2016, the total cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients reached $236 billion in the United States. These costs do not even include other assisted living patients.
Also not included in these statistics is the amount of time unpaid caregivers spend caring for Alzheimer’s patients.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “15.9 million family and friends provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
This illness, alongside many other long-term care needs, can impose undue stress upon families everywhere.
Many seniors are resistant to moving to a memory care home, especially likely among the 37% of adults who have never left their hometown. Coping with the financial repercussions only compounds this apprehension.
For now, seniors and their families will be forced to make a tough decision: save for future healthcare costs and hope for the best, or invest in long-term care policies and hope for the best.