According to the 2012 price index published by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), current offerings by insurers are between 6% and 17% costlier than they were just a year ago. Jesse Slome, AALTCI’s executive director, said that for every drop of 0.5% in interest rates, and thus on investment returns, an insurer needs about a 15% premium increase to maintain the projected net profit.
Said Slome, “Insurance prices have increased as a result of the historic low interest rates and yields on fixed income investments.” He went on to explain that between 40% and 60% of the funds accumulated by an insurer to pay out on future claims comes from that insurer’s return on investments.
In its annual analysis of the premium cost for the most popular policies offered by 10 companies, AALTCI found that on average, a 55-year-old single individual who qualifies for preferred health discounts will pay $1,720 for $165,000–$200,000 in current coverage. Last year, that same individual would have paid an average of $1,480. That’s another $240 in premiums.
Not only have premiums risen, but the range between the lowest- and highest-cost policies has broadened compared with last year, Slome said. “For the 55-year-old single policy applicant the highest-price policy cost almost 80% more than the lowest priced policy,” he said. “For some categories, the difference was as much as 132%, and no single company always had the lowest nor the highest rate, which is why we stress the importance of comparison shopping.”
AALTCI reviewed policies for single individuals 55 years old, as well as for couples aged 55, 60 and 65, that featured a 3% compound inflation growth factor. Slome pointed out that an inflation factor was important to consider. “You want the value of the benefit you buy today to grow to keep pace with rising costs,” he said, adding that a policy valued at $170,000 for each policyholder would grow to roughly $300,000 in 20 years.