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The UK government has published a "green paper" (that's a proposed policy) for England suggesting that long-term care be funded from the near future by an insurance system. Not a public system, like National Insurance (which everyone currently living thought they were paying to fund long term care and the basic state pension), but private insurance.
You know, that great long-term care (LTC) insurance like you lucky folks have in the US.
They're accepting public comment, and I've already given my 2 cents of outrage. I would like to offer something more substantive. Care to help?
Read on.

What's needed is evidence of just what a very bad idea this is. I don't have the facts and figures about LTC insurance, and I've been out of the US for too long to even be able to offer a recent personal anecdote. But I'm sure some of you could help.

I have listed some things I have heard about LTC insurance below--are they true? How do you know? Please reply with info and evidence if you can, I will pass it on to campaigners.

  1. LTC insurance is sold for premiums that may not cover the actual cost if insurance companies have to pay out. Usually they've guessed right and the buyer has died before creating a loss for the insurer, but some insurers have figured out that they are undercapitalised and up for big losses. Who, how much, and what might premiums be in future would be good things to know.
  1. Many people who have faithfully paid for LTC insurance get a rude surprise when they actually need it, because of policy exclusions.
  1. LTC insurance has acted to jack up the cost of nursing home care.

I would also love to know which purveyors of LTC insurance and which nursing home chains have been bribing our current government to back this bill, but not being a Whitehall insider, I have no idea how to find out.

There's not a lot of time to prevent this lousy idea from becoming law (by the way, it also includes provisions to take Disability Living Allowance payments away from all recipients and instead give the money to social services departments around the country. So instead of deciding for yourself that you want to spend your DLA on a new walking stick, ordering groceries online, taking a taxi to the library and, hey, having a nice pint next door while you're there, you'll have to apply to a bureaucrat for every little effing thing.)

The "Shaping the Future of Care Together Green Paper" proposals can be found here:

Originally posted to expatyank on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:45 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Sychotic1, KenBee, twigg

    Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
    "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

    by expatyank on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:45:59 PM PDT

  •  Here is a start (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, expatyank

    Perhaps to be filed under - "any long term care insurer must develop reasonable premium rates or live with the consequences.

    Lest you want your loved ones to live with these consequences ...

    Some insurers, however, have miscalculated the profitability of certain long-term care insurance products. For example, many insurers fighting to get into the "long-term care party of the 1990s" overestimated policy lapse rates and miscalculated the mortality rates for the target population. Now, during the "hangover," insurers too commonly attempt to refuse payment of legitimate claims, sometimes on a global scale.

    On March 15, 2006, Penn Treaty President and CEO issued a news release indicating that a "review is showing us that our policyholders remaining on claim beyond three years (particularly on policies issued prior to 2002) appear to be living longer than we had previously anticipated, which will likely cause us to pay higher future benefits due to the expanded duration of these claims."

    Denial of a long-term care claim or the loss of one’s long-term care coverage can be devastating. Imagine becoming accustom(ed) [sic] to life in a long-term care facility only to one day receive a letter from your long-term care insurer stating that it is "no longer medically necessary" that you or a loved one continue to receive nursing home care, and that benefits will end. This is a common exclusion cited by long-term care insurers to deny benefits. Without benefits, the elderly individual must tap into his or her assets to continue to pay for care, or must burden their family for assistance. Ultimately, once one’s assets are exhausted, he or she is forced to seek government assistance.

    no remuneration was received by anyone for the writing of this message

    by ItsSimpleSimon on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:55:11 PM PDT

  •  Check out Rideronthestorm's diary (5+ / 0-)

    from last night or this morning:LTC horror story

    I am sure that there will be more stories like this. Insurers are lucky when you drop dead, and then maybe just don't pay if LTC is necessary.

    Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

    by riverlover on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:55:49 PM PDT

    •  that's the diary that made me think of asking! (0+ / 0-)

      I just learned about the green paper 2 days ago--it was released at the end of July but I was away for most of August. trying to catch up...

      Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
      "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

      by expatyank on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:25:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My one indian experience: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are cheats and liars.

    Stiffed me with a $15,000 bill even though my mom paid $4,000 a year for years.

    Shame on Conseco.

    Poverty does not mean powerless. Unite!

    by War on Error on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:05:28 PM PDT

  •  Well, here's on thing about LTC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't afford it.

    It's grotesquely expensive, even for a low-benefit package.

    But, long term care has long been a problem in the UK too. People forced to sell their homes to cover the costs etc. because of the way assets were calculated in means-testing.

    Can't say that going private would be my choice for how to address it. Not at all.

    In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

    by sullivanst on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:09:31 PM PDT

  •  A better way (0+ / 0-)

    is to have care in the home until extreme circumstances warrant a nursing home. My dad had that kind of care under medicare/medicaid starting with a cleaning lady that came in every few days, who then began to cook meals occasionally. Eventually he had aides who helped him 8 hrs a day and a call radio (cell phones weren't as popular then) for emergencies. He also got some equipment included and was in the process of getting a walk in shower when he finally got sick enough to need round the clock care. It wasn't perfect, but I examined the bills and the care services cost much less per day, even including equipment, than the nursing home.
    My cousin took the other route and moved her mother to a nursing home within commuting distance for peace of mind. That peace of mind has now cost all of her mother's substantial savings and her own retirement funds as well.
    As for the money to cover any kind of long term care, that should be rolled into  taxes as are the NHS fees. Care isn't free, but the insurance companies are trying to make a profit, and that profit comes from somewhere.

    If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

    by northsylvania on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:21:03 PM PDT

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