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ACLI economist: Insurers still care about LTC risk

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The co-author of a major new life insurance industry report on U.S. long-term care (LTC) financing needs says he sees broad interest in finding solutions.

Andrew Melnyk, an economist, teamed with Harsh Sharma to write the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) report, which makes the case that insurers should play a significant role in helping the United States prepare for the aging of the baby boomers.

Melnyk also worked on an LTC financing report that the ACLI released 10 years earlier.

“You have to look at the reality, at the demographics,” Melnyk said. “The demographics don’t lie.”

The youngest boomers will start to turn 67 in 2031, and the oldest boomers will be turning 85, Melnyk said.

The oldest boomers’ 85th birthday anniversaries will be important, because the likelihood that people will need LTC services rises sharply after they turn 85, Melnyk said.

ACLI member interest in LTC financing was strong 10 years ago and continues to be strong, even though some insurers have pulled back from the market for stand-alone long-term care insurance (LTCI) products, Melnyk said.

Melnyk said he also sees strong interest in the topic in the Washington policymaker community.

Members of the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care could not agree on many LTC financing policy proposals before they ended their work in late 2012. But just the fact that the commission existed helped generate more interest in the topic, Melnyk said.