Price hikes bluster to make long-term caring word unaffordable for thousands – Tribune

Price hikes bluster to make long-term caring word unaffordable for thousands

Updated 9 hours ago

Regis Niederberger and his mother bought long-term caring word policies some-more than 15 years ago since they watched sky-high costs of nursing homes empty a resources of some comparison kin who didn’t have a coverage.

Now Niederberger, 71, of South Fayette thinks word companies are holding advantage of his foreknowledge as they try to pull by outrageous rate hikes that bluster to make policies unaffordable for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

“I cruise it stinks,” pronounced Niederberger, who purchased his policies from Genworth Life Insurance Co., a nation’s largest long-term caring insurer, and has dealt with dual prior rate hikes.

Genworth is seeking rate increases between 33 percent and 130 percent, depending on a policy. The increases could impact 27,500 policyholders in a state, according to a state Department of Insurance.

Including Genworth, 13 word companies have requests to lift rates tentative before a department, inspiring policies hold by some-more than 75,000 people in a state.

Insurance companies disagree that assumptions used to cost policies decades ago incited out to be wrong and aloft rates are indispensable to continue to compensate out benefits. But those increases, that contingency be authorized by a state, are function usually as millions of Americans are attack retirement age when their incomes turn bound and a chances that they need costly nursing home caring increases.

Unanticipated costs

Genworth pronounced it is lifting rates since costs for long-term caring have been distant aloft than it expected. The Richmond, Va.-based company, that mislaid $1.2 billion in 2015, offers a policyholders a choice of dwindling advantages instead of a rate travel as a approach to keep coverage affordable, mouthpiece Julie Westermann pronounced in an email.

“No one likes rate increases, though they arenecessary for carriers to continue to compensate claims in a future,” she said.

In Pennsylvania, a 4 biggest rate requests — from Genworth, John Hancock Life Insurance, Metropolitan Life Insurance and Unum Life Insurance — will be discussed during a open conference Thursday in Harrisburg. Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller called a assembly to ask a companies to publicly explain a need for aloft rates.

Miller is endangered about a distance of a rate increases and a outcome on ratepayers, pronounced Ron Ruman, a Insurance Department’s spokesman. But her initial priority “is to safeguard companies sojourn well-off and are means to compensate their claims,” he said. “You don’t wish a association to turn insolvent; that’s not good for anyone.”

Since 2014, a Insurance Department has postulated rate hikes to some-more than dual dozen word carriers. Most increases were in a 15 percent to 20 percent operation and influenced policies hold by scarcely 117,000 people.

“Their actuaries were so distant off, and now they wish me to pay?” Niederberger said. “If we done a decision, and done a mistake with that preference and are losing money, we have to live with that decision.”

Industry in predicament

The long-term caring word marketplace is confronting a crisis, experts say. Just as millions of baby boomers are timid and competence need to enter costly assisted-living comforts or nursing homes, a companies that wrote their policies are losing money. Some are pulling out of a marketplace or are attack their business with large rate hikes to cover a increased.

Genworth is one of a few insurers to sojourn in a long-term caring word market. Twenty-one companies have requested rate increases in Pennsylvania though no longer sell new policies in a state, according to a Insurance Department.

“People bought this word during a rate where they were told that if they compensate this rate for 20, 30 years, this word would be there for them,” pronounced Ray Landis, advocacy manager for a AARP in Pennsylvania. “Now people have gotten these poignant rate increases, and when they’re in a conditions where they aren’t earning, it unequivocally does turn unaffordable for them.”

It’s estimated that 70 percent of Americans 65 and comparison will need long-term caring in their lifetimes, according to a Scan Foundation, a California nonprofit that advocates for health caring for seniors. But a cost for that caring could clean out a senior’s savings. The normal cost of a private room in a nursing home is $229 a day, or about $84,000 a year, according to a Department of Health and Human Services.

But about half of American households with during slightest one chairman 55 or comparison has no retirement savings, according to a 2015 news from a Government Accountability Office. And for those with savings, a median volume was $104,000, a GAO found.

Medicaid stands alone

Medicare, a government’s health word module for seniors, doesn’t cover long-term care. Only Medicaid, a federal-state module that provides health coverage for a poor, will compensate for nursing home stays, though usually after a person’s resources and resources have been drained.

“That affects all of us,” Landis said. “The primary cost cause (in a Medicaid program) is not what you’d imagine. … It’s an comparison Pennsylvanian who’s tired their resources and is relying on Medicaid for their nursing home coverage.”

Niederberger doesn’t know how most of a rate travel he could face for his Genworth policies. He and his wife, Kathleen, 70, compensate a sum of $2,250 a year for their coverage, that is adult from $1,800 after a rate boost 18 months ago. He pronounced a integrate will keep profitable for a coverage, even if rates rise, since they’ve invested so most income into a policies over a past 15 years. He estimates they could substantially cover another $500 a year in additional premiums before a integrate would have to cruise shortening their benefits.

Larry Grumet, 71, of Squirrel Hill has engrossed several rate hikes that have increasing sum premiums to $4,000 a year for policies for himself and his wife, Janice. The policies cost him $2,500 in 2008.

If Genworth’s latest ask is approved, Grumet pronounced a premiums will some-more than double. While a integrate engrossed prior increases, Grumet pronounced he and his mother wouldn’t be means to cover some-more than $8,000 in premiums since they’re late and on bound incomes.

“Those are absurd numbers,” he said.

They’d have to take a advantage reduction, that Grumet pronounced he suspects would extent a series of years of caring a process would cover. And if advantages are reduced, he pronounced he worries that a integrate competence remove their house, or their daughter competence have to cover some of a cost.

“I don’t wish her to worry about how she’s going to compensate for a care,” he said.

Alex Nixon is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him during 412-320-7928 or

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