The number of U.S. long term care insurance carriers shrank in 2002, but the carriers in the market still sold more policies.[@@]
America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, has published figures supporting those conclusions in its latest annual LTC market report.
Researchers at the trade group found that only 104 insurers were selling private LTC insurance in the United States in 2002, down from 127 in 2001. The number of LTC carriers in the market was the smallest the researchers have recorded since 1987, when the market was in its infancy.
But the remaining carriers sold 901,000 policies, up from 732,000 policies in 2001. Revenue from new sales of individual policies increased to $1.2 billion, from $1 billion, and LTC insurers generated more than $6.1 billion in premium revenue from policies that were already in force.
Sales of new employer-sponsored LTC programs climbed to 899, from 820. Although bigger employers were still more likely to offer LTC programs than smaller employers, 55% of the 5,670 employers that had LTC programs in 2002 employed 100 or fewer workers.
Insurance agents and brokers continued to dominate the individual LTC market. Other channels produced fewer than 5% of 2002 individual LTC policy sales, AHIP reports.
AHIP President Karen Ignagni used the release of the report as an occasion to repeat AHIP’s longstanding support for tax incentives both for taxpayers who buy private LTC insurance and for taxpayers who care for frail and disabled loved ones.
Now that the oldest baby boomers are nearing retirement age, “the need is even greater,” Ignagni said.
AHIP is launching a “Long Term Care Champions’ Network,” a campaign that will encourage consumers to lobby for LTC insurance premium tax breaks.