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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

LTCI Watch: Balloon

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Maybe long-term care insurance (LTCI) is ready to go through a rebound.

Insurers are still bragging more about how much they’re raising premiums and how “disciplined” they’re being about underwriting than celebrating any increase in LTCI sales.

Consumers group representatives — who may still be smarting from the gory death of Ted Kennedy’s beloved, if ill-formed, CLASS Act voluntary long-term care (LTC) benefits program — continue to take whatever chance they have to kick the private LTCI concept as hard as they can, without ever seeming to give much attention to the idea that every public or private post-retirement benefits program with honest accounting faces similar challenges.

But, on the other: Almost anyone who puts out a report on long-term care (LTC) finance seems to concede that there has to be some kind of role for private finance, and the insurers that still have LTCI programs seem to be holding on to them. 

Partly, maybe because of a sense that a slowly breathing LTCI program will perform better than a closed block, but maybe, also, because executives have a sense that private LTCI matters.

And, of course, there are still visible insurer efforts out there to create insurance-linked and annuity-linked LTC financing alternatives outside of the constraints imposed on stand-alone LTCI products.

Another possible sign that light from something other than an oncoming train could be flickering at the end of the tunnel: The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says the LTCI producer’s conference it’s hosting in Kansas City, Mo., starting May 18 is set to have about 40 exhibitors, up from 22 at the conference the group organized 18 months earlier.

Two first-time exhibitors are coming to market linked products, and another first-time exhibitor will be promoting traditional products.

The Fed keeps creeping toward letting the interest rate balloon rise without quite cutting the anchor lines. Maybe some insurers are trying to make sure they’re in the right position when Yellen finally cuts the lines.

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