By Jim Connolly
Arlene Kent, a Conseco long term care policyholder in Alpine, Calif., says she and her husband are trying to decide what options to select on a Conseco settlement form. They are upset both with the choices and the difficulty in receiving information about them, she adds.
Kent, a retired New York City high school teacher, says she knows the decisions they make on two LTC policies and a home health care policy are important. But she says it has been a “full time job” just getting basic information.
Conseco sent out option forms in early January that must be returned postmarked by February 4. In the Kents’ case, decisions must be made on two 8-year-old LTC policies issued by Conseco’s Transport Life Insurance Company and on one 3.5-year-old HHC policy issued by American Travellers Insurance Company. The couple has paid over $20,000 in LTC premiums, she says.
Kent says the answers she finally received leave her disillusioned. “I am losing faith in the whole industry as a result of this. I paid money in and I’m getting kicked in the teeth.” She says she and her husband followed common wisdom and bought LTC policies at early ages–56 and 62–and are now in a difficult situation.
Kent says that if she and her husband replace their LTC policies with Conseco policies that offer similar benefits, the annual premiums will climb from $2,900 to approximately $8,000. And that includes a 5% discount as well as a 10% spouse discount, she adds. In order to receive a full 20% spouse discount, she continues, the policies would need to be identical.
She questions, based on her past experience, the ‘best efforts’ language used in the settlement agreement not to raise rates if she and her husband decide to retain their existing policies. According to Kent, the total amount that they pay Conseco on a monthly basis has already increased 33%. She says the home health care policy they used as a supplement for their LTC policies had two rate increases, jumping from $64.27 to $77 and then to $96.39 a month in a 17-month period.