People I know and dearly love are making Rep. Paul Ryan out to be a monster because he wants to make all of Medicare more like the Medicare Advantage program and, possibly, have Medicare benefits rise less than the inflation rate.
Some insurance regulators, meanwhile, are expecting insurers to have a magical ability to make good on the disability insurance benefits and long-term care insurance (LTCI) benefits promises they made when the world was a different, happier world.
Moody’s Investors Service has sent me a report in which its analysts comment glumly on U.S. life insurers’ financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012.
The subhead section for the disability and long-term care insurance (LTCI) section says it all: “More Pressure on LTC; Disability Continues to Face Headwinds from the Economy and Low Interest Rates.”
Well, almost all.
“Although several companies are raising prices,” the analysts add, “these increases typically take 12 to 36 months to be fully implemented.”
The regulators and consumer group reps who are mad at the insurers for raising rates have point.
The whole reason that consumers pay money to insurers, in spite of all of the mean insurance agent jokes and periodic reports of complicated scandals, is that insurers seem to have the ability and size to make guarantees about the future.
The government, meanwhile, seems to have the ability to make promises about exactly what I, a hard-working, taxpaying individual born in 1965, will collect in Social Security and Medicare benefits from, roughly, 2037, when I turn 67, to, say, for the heck of it, 2054, when someone who read my palm told me I’ll die.