Women live longer than men, and now, for the first time, long term care insurance (LTCI) carriers want them to pay for it.
Gender-specific pricing is now being included in the newest generation of long term care insurance policies—and the costs associated with those policies will mean 20 to 30 percent (and in some cases, 40 percent) higher costs for women.
Carriers have been analyzing claims statistics and adjusting their pricing, processes and products to better address long term care costs and benefit utilization trends. Industry statistics show that women accounted for two-thirds of new claims in 2011. These pricing changes are reflective of that data.
Gender-based pricing are expected to roll out throughout the second quarter. Pricing changes will not affect any existing policies or any polices written before the new standards take effect.
The new pricing is part of a larger evolution taking place in the LTCI industry. Over the last five years in particular, the LTCI industry has been rapidl evolving. 2012 brought a number of product and underwriting changes to the LTCI industry, and many of the trends driving those changes will continue into 2013.
Insurers are mandating stricter underwriting practices in general. All LTCI applicants, regardless of age or gender, will now undergo a paramedical exam, as is required when applying for life insurance. A medical professional will take a health history, and blood work and a urinalysis will be required for all applicants.
Consumers should take note of LTCI pricing and underwriting changes, especially as long term care costs rise and life expectancies lengthen.
Preparing for a long term care event is so important as part of a comprehensive financial plan. These changes are another reminder that people need to start talking about long term care planning with their families and financial advisors early—before they are faced with a long term care event.
Murray Gordon is the founder of MAGA, Ltd. (www.MAGAltc.com) is a family-owned insurance firm specializing in long term care planning since 1975. The firm provides unbiased educational services about planning for a long term care event in addition to providing a variety of resources and support to clients and financial professionals. 847.940.8866.