Welcome to Spring. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be spared the late March snowstorm that seems to annually afflict the Commonwealth and be planting flowers next weekend instead. We’re also grateful to those of you that suggested stories and elder-related miscellanea for us to consider including in this newsletter. Please keep them coming. This week we’re focusing on long term care insurance, but we’ll come back to some of your recommendations in the future.
This story might shock your conscience. Insurance companies are asking Virginia’s regulatory authority to approve premium increases for long term care insurance policies by as much as 339.6 percent. But for those who have such policies or pay attention to the long term care insurance marketplace, this isn’t surprising. The policies for which the insurers want to increase the premiums are those sold in the 1990s with some of the most generous benefits ever offered for long term care insurance. Even so, these latest rate increase requests are large enough to sink the Titanic. Twice.
For a brief history on the costs of long term care insurance and the reasons for the premium hikes,
is a helpful explainer. Determining whether you should buy long term care insurance is not a legal question (i.e., talk to an insurance agent about that), but it may have consequences for your estate plan. This follows because without long term care insurance, your options to pay for long term care are limited to paying for it from your personal income and savings or relying on Medicaid; and planning to qualify for Medicaid is rarely simple without legal advice. Thus as the long term care insurance marketplace
continues to evolve
, formulating a coordinated insurance and legal plan to pay for long term care will only become more important.
Lastly, as elder law attorneys, we want you to know that we focus in particular on assisting clients when they want to protect their life savings from the costs of long term care by using the Medicaid program
in circumstances of crisis. An explanation of how we do that is impossible to summarize here, but it’s important to know that if you or someone you know is in need of Medicaid to pay for long term care
now, we should be your first call. More on that next week.