Long Term Care Insurance Association

Maryalene LaPonsie | November 16, 2011

When it comes to long-term care insurance, most consumers talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. While a majority of adults believe people between the ages of 45 and 64 should have long-term care insurance, only 18 percent of individuals in this age group have purchased a policy, according to a survey sponsored by Genworth Financial.

Medical insurance and Medicare health insurance plans generally do not provide coverage for nursing homes, adult foster care or ongoing home health care.

While Medicaid may provide long-term care coverage, eligibility for this government program is limited and requires recipients to deplete almost all assets before coverage can begin.

On the other hand, a long-term care insurance plan is specifically designed to pay for expenses associated with these and other long-term care options.

The recent Genworth Financial study is the latest report highlighting how consumers often overlook this important supplemental health insurance. The 2010 Prudential Long-Term Care Consumer Awareness & Attitudes Study found only 22 percent of respondents mentioned the possibility of using long-term care insurance to pay for expenses.

"Many people are in a state of paralysis from the economic downturn and are unsure about what to do next," says Margie Barrie, vice president of the 3 in 4 Association, which has instituted a campaign to raise awareness about long-term care insurance. "Our goal is to shift their focus from the present to the future and to what they may require as they age."

Medicare Part B premiums lower than expected

In other news, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced seniors can look forward to cheaper-than-expected health insurance premiums for their Medicare Part B coverage.

The premiums originally were expected to be $106.60 a month in 2012. However, that amount recently was adjusted down to $99.90. In addition, the Part B deductible will be lowered by $22 for 2012. The HHS says the cheaper health insurance rates are a result of health reform legislation.

"Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare are going to have more money in their pockets next year," says Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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