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LTCI paralysis

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Millions of prime candidates for long-term care insurance are suffering from temporary paralysis, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to clear up any time soon. These candidates are playing the waiting game, and will do so indefinitely until some sort of clarity becomes apparent regarding health care insurance reform and the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2009.

By and large, consumers have little idea what’s going on right now regarding what may or may not be covered by a government program when it comes to long-term care in the future, and it has led to a precipitous drop in sales of LTCI policies. What motivates people to buy a private policy when the possibility exists that CLASS or national health care reform may include a long-term care element which may (or may not) apply to them? Nothing.

These millions of candidates will continue to wait it out, and in the meantime agents are met with stonewall resistance. The top three objections consumers have to purchasing LTCI remain, 1) that it is too expensive; 2) procrastination; and 3) they don’t see the need for it.

While somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 million Americans have no health care insurance, approximately 200 million adult Americans lack any insurance protection against the cost of long-term services and supports, according to data from Washington D.C.-based Alliance for Retired Americans. Aside from CLASS or health care reform, many continue to believe Medicare and Medicaid will take care of them, not realizing how little Medicare will cover and how much they would have to spend down to qualify for Medicaid.

It is a land of confusion. For the sake of agents who sell LTCI – and more importantly for Americans in desperate need of this coverage – let’s hope decisions are made sooner rather than later. Follow that up with an aggressive PR campaign to increase public awareness of what needs to be done to ensure they are covered and dispel popular myths.

End the decision-making paralysis!