Alan Monheit, the editor of Inquiry, is asking whether the U.S. private long-term care insurance (LTCI) market is sustainable.
Inquiry, a peer-reviewed academic journal, is owned by Excellus Health Plan Inc., Rochester, N.Y.
Excellus, in turn, is a unit of Lifetime Healthcare Companies Inc., Rochester, N.Y. Lifetime also owns MedAmerica Insurance Company, Rochester, a company that sells LTCI in all 50 states.
The editors and publishers of Inquiry note that “the opinions expressed by any of Inquiry’s authors do not necessarily reflect the positions of Excellus Health Plan Inc.”
But it still seems interesting to see how worried someone who might have a little more contact with the private LTCI community than the average person is about the future of a market that a sister company is currently in.
In an article about the death of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, Monheit writes that addressing long-term care (LTC) needs is essential.
“By any reckoning, the costs of formal and informal LTC are staggering,” Monheit says.
Meanwhile, Monheit says, researchers recently have shown that only about 14% of U.S. individuals ages 60 and older have private LTCI coverage, and that private LTCI policies now pay for only 4% of U.S. LTC spending.
Consumers may guess wrong about how likely they are to need LTC, and, even if they understand the risk and can afford to buy LTCI, they may have concerns about what a private LTCI policy would really cover, whether the carrier would really pay the claims, and whether the carrier would even be in business when the consumer needed to file a claim, Monheit says.