Art Stein, CFP with SPC Financial Inc. in Rockville, Md. has been selling LTCI for about 18 years. One trend that he’s noticed is stricter underwriting standards. He cites the case of an applicant who had a past history of asthma but had been symptom-free for years. If she had applied for coverage 10 or even five years ago she would have received preferred pricing, Stein believes, but instead she was given a standard health rating.

This doesn’t mean that only clients with pristine health histories shouldn’t apply for LTCI, Stein emphasizes. But it does make it more important to get preliminary indications of what to expect from underwriting because insurer’ practices vary. “If I have a client with any kind of problem, I will check with the insurance companies without using the client’s name,” says Stein. “I’ll send them (through a general agent) the basic health information I have and say who’s going to give this client the best deal based upon what we know? And, on an informal basis, without any guarantee but also without any recordkeeping related to the specific client’s name, they will come back and say it looks OK for us or it doesn’t look OK for us.”