An older woman (Credit: Fotoluminate/Thinkstock)

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) is trying to get agents, insurers and others interested in promoting long-term care (LTC) planning awareness — in a year when, for some Americans, LTC planning has made the difference between dying alone in an understaffed nursing home, and dying at home with at least some access to loved ones.

AALTCI has posted a collection of National Long-Term Care Awareness Month materials here.

The awareness campaigns take place in November.

AALTCI started the awareness month campaign in 2008, at a time when interest rates were higher, and insurers’ interest in the stand-alone long-term care insurance (LTCI) market was stronger.

Jesse Slome, AALTCI’s director, says in a statement about the upcoming month campaign that 14 million U.S. residents are already getting some form of long-term care, and that the number is on track to grow to 27 million by 2050.

Resources

  • Links to AALTCI 2020 LTC Awareness Month resources are available here.
  • An article about how COVID-19 affected one insurer’s long-term care insurance claimants is available here.

Average out-of-pocket costs are $140,000 for people who use paid LTC services, and “almost 9% will spend over $250,000,” Slome says.

About 7.5 million people have LTCI coverage, and LTCI issuers paid about $11 billion in benefits to about 310,000 claimants in 2019, Slome says.

AALTCI does not include “hybrid products” that combine LTC benefits with life insurance or annuities in its LTCI totals, but the percentage of permanent life policies that come with LTC benefits appears to be high, and millions of other people likely have life-LTC or annuity-LTC hybrid benefits.

AALTCI’s 2020 awareness month kit includes logos and an LTC fact sheet.

COVID-19 has already killed at least 60,000 U.S. nursing home residents, and it appears to be increasing nursing home mortality levels by at least about 20% over the usual levels, according to nursing home COVID-19 impact data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid.

Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have imposed tough restrictions on visitors, in an effort to hold infection rates down.

COVID-19 death rates for older people getting home care and higher-quality nursing homes appear to be much lower than death rates for older people in lower-quality nursing homes, and older people who can use LTCI benefits, LTC hybrid benefits or other private resources to pay for home care can see loved ones.

The situation at LTC facilities could get worse The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, groups that represent 14,000 care facilities, warned Monday that the number of COVID-19 cases is surging out in the community, and that facilities need federal aid immediately to strengthen infection control and response efforts.

Today, news organizations are carrying stories about a nursing home in Topeka, Kansas, where all 62 of the residents contracted the virus that causes COVID-19, and 10 of those residents have died.

In other LTC planning news:

Analysts at Insure.com, a lead-generation firm, say many insurers have been increasing rates for new LTCI policies by 5% to 50% and are reducing spousal discounts sharply.

The Society of Actuaries is hosting an LTC experience webinar, for a fee, at noon Eastern Daylight Time Oct. 21. The scheduled speakers are James Berger, a senior actuary at GE Capital, and Anthony Dardis, a consulting actuary at Milliman.

 EmergingWealth Investment Management and Legend Financial Advisors are presenting an online event, “Long-Term Care: Prepare for a Health Future,” at  noon EDT and 7 p.m. EDT Oct. 28. The list of speakers includes James Holtzman, a wealth advisor; Dr. Joel Waldman, an LTC consultant; and Chris Foley, LTC director at Core Income Advisors.

The National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) is holding an online event that will include discussion of LTCI as well as life insurance Nov. 24.

• CMS has arranged for CVS and Walgreens to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities throughout the nation, with no charge for the patients, as quickly as possible, once a vaccine becomes available, through a new Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

• LTC Global, Fort Myers, Florida, has acquired Glenn G. Geiger Company of Norwalk, Connecticut. LTC Global is a major LTCI distributor. Geiger sells executive benefits programs to credit unions, banks and corporations.

• Centene Corp., St. Louis, is working with Samsung Electronics America to provide Samsung Galaxy A10A smart phones for people in rural and underserved communities, so that those people can get telehealth services at home.

The Helper Bees, Austin, Texas, has started the Independence Care Concierge service. The service will help connect people who are using their LTCI benefits with geriatric care managers, nurses and others who can help families plan and manage care for loved ones. The company is marketing the program to insurers and employers. The Helper Bees says that offering a care planning service is a way for an LTCI issuer to save money as well as improve customers’ well-being, because successful efforts to keep the insureds in their own homes can save about $3,000 in benefits per month, as well as increasing most insureds’ quality of life.

— Read Can We Tolerate Millions of Elderly People Living in Cars?on ThinkAdvisor.

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