Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to Rank any Long Term Care Insurance Company

Copyright 2006 Clay Cotton

When you consider a life long relationship with a Long Term Care Insurance company, you want to rest in the comfort of knowing that you have settled on a company with the highest possible ratings and reputation. After all, you will need them to be there for you in a pinch when you need to file a claim for the specified benefits.

With a serious relationship like long term care insurance, reliability is really, really important, don't you agree? So our topic today is how to check out a the long term care insurance company to make sure that they meet the highest standards.

In my opinion, the safest thing to do is to work directly with the long term care insurance Buyer's Advocate, because you can be assured that only top companies and policies will be considered.

In any case, over ten years as an observer of the long term care insurance marketplace, I'm not aware of even one case of fraudulent behavior by an insurance company.

Still, it makes good sense to check into a long term care insurance company's market behavior, history, ratings, consumer confidence and their records with state regulatory agencies.

1. Call your State Department of Insurance.

2. Ask for Consumer Assistance.

3. Request data on long term care insurance companies, then for each carrier you are interested in, ask for the company's "Annual Sales Figures for long term care insurance". Also get the total number of Complaints for both Facility Coverage and for Home Care Coverage. Then ask for their total "Long term care insurance Complaints Ratio" or "Long term care insurance Complaints per Million". Compare this for several companies to get a feel for consumer confidence.

4. Have your long term care insurance agent obtain in writing the company's current A.M. Best Rating. It must be A- or above. Accept no B+ or lower ratings unless you have health conditions which prevent coverage with a higher rated company.

5. If you are really serious, you can visit the Department of Insurance in person, and ask to see the "Rate Logs" to determine how many times, if any, a company has raised rates on any group of long term care insurance poicyholders in your state. A history of multiple rate increases over more than a few years would be a red flag.

6. Go to the Public Library - Ask reference desk for insurance rating books, specifically ones like A.M. Best, Weiss Research, S&P, Moody's, etc.

Do this before you make your commitment to one company or another. Sure, it's a little work, but you and your family will depend on this long term care insurance company in the caregiving years, and that Is a time when you want to minimize hassles. You'll be glad you did.

Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com
Long term care insurance activist, Clay Cotton, writes for http://www.prepsmart.com/ - The Online Baby Boomers Decision Assistance Center, where you get Free Long Term Care Insurance advice, comparative rate quotes and personal guidance, all at home while in your favorite pajamas and bunny slippers. So cool!

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Considering Long Term Care Insurance - Is it An Unnecessary Expense?

By: L. H. Findlay

Long-Term Care Insurance is still fairly new on the market and a lot of people don't know that it even exists or what it covers. Even those who have heard the term don't know always when benefits are paid, how they are designed, and who qualifies or needs coverage. Many people don't think about this type of coverage until it is too late to get a great rate and higher benefits. They wait till they are past retirement age and closer to needing to cash in the benefits instead of investing earlier and maximizing your options.

It is becoming more of a common practice for people to start thinking about what will happen 30, 50, or more years ahead. Many people invest in 401Ks, IRAs, stocks and bond, and other types of investments to prepare for the future. Many people think this will pay for living expenses and leisure activities once retired. Things don't always go according as planned.

What happens in the unfortunate incidence of an accident and you need help with your daily living activities? Or, you get to a point in your elder years that you require home care, as you grow older? You may decide you would rather live in you home for a long as possible and would need to have enough for personal home care. Some seniors enjoy assisting living facilities that provide 24 hour nursing care, but still let you be as independent as you can. There are also those unfortunate instances where nursing home facilities are need to tend to varying degrees of illness.

Long-term care is designed to provide you help with these services due to a long-term illness or disability. The average cost of these types of care can cost around $40-$100 thousand per year and sometimes more. It is a very quick way to eat your saving and social security benefits. If you think Medicaid or Medicare will help, think again. Even if and when you qualify, your saving is now gone and they will only pay up to 50% of the cost, someone has to come up with the rest. Long-Term Care insurance can help with these costs in the unfortunate event you require nursing care.

Who should consider Long Term Care Insurance? If you think you will not qualify for Medicaid or full Medicare benefits due to a large saving, assets, or high income, this is a program for you. You do not want to end up having your children to pay for these expenses while you have to have them and possibly well after your death. It will keep you able to leave your loved ones a little something instead of sucking all your assets dry. Also if you can afford to pay the premiums you will likely not qualify for assistance so would truly benefit.

If you currently have chronic health issues or have a family history of a long-term illness you would be off purchasing now than waiting. It will be too late to get a policy after you have already developed a long-term illness or disability. If you think at any point you might fall into any of the categories you might want to consider getting a plan earlier to be safe and covered. You can purchase a policy from most large insurance companies. As always, every state has different insurance regulations, therefore it is best to check with your state on specific determining factors and qualifications.

This coverage will help provide nursing-home care, home-health care, personal or adult day care usually for individuals above the age of 65 or with a chronic or disabling condition that needs constant supervision. LTC insurance offers more flexibility and options than many public assistance programs. Long-term care is usually very expensive, which is why most people need insurance. For example, on average, nursing facilities providing skilled care charge $150 to $300 per day, or over $80,000 a year or more. Even custodial home care at three visits per week, can cost over $9,000 a year.

Most LTC insurance policies will cover only a specific dollar amount for each day you spend in a nursing facility or for each home-care visit. Thus, when considering an LTC insurance policy, read the policies carefully and compare the benefits to determine which policy will best meet your own needs.

Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com
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