Long Term Care Insurance and Rising Premiums Concern Seniors Worried about Medicare’s Future, Frank N. Darras, America’s Top Insurance Lawyer, Offers Tips That Help

September11, 2012

As an insurance lawyer specializing in long-term care policies, Frank N. Darras deals everyday with clients who've had serious problems collecting benefits from insurance companies. Premiums for long-term care insurance have risen over 90% for some policyholders in recent years. It can be discouraging for those Americans who are getting older, and worrying about what will happen to them as they age, particularly the Baby Boomers.

Long-term care insurance is essential to have, whether single, married, young, or old. However, the rising premiums have forced many to cash in and forfeit their policies, or be forced to reduce or give up their benefits. Until legislation is put in place to protect consumers from this happening, there are smart ways to avoid rising premiums, or at least soften the blow, says Darras, the nation's top insurance lawyer.

One option is to purchase inflation coverage, especially when buying a plan young. Compound inflation protection at 5 percent might cost a little more now, but it will leave you better protected years from now. As shown recently, premiums are subject to change and a 90% increase 15 years from now isn't a risk you want to take.

If you are nearing closer to the time you might have to use your long-term care benefits, you might choose to lower the inflation protection or the benefit period. Doing this is called a "landing spot". This will allow you to maintain coverage, but avoid the premium increase. If you've stayed healthy and feel you won't need the extended benefit period on your policy, this might be the best option for you, says Darras.

Sometimes the best protection against premium increases can be adhering to your budget. Darras always advises clients to never spend more than 5-10% of their income, both earned and unearned, on long-term care insurance premiums. While a premium increase will still hurt if you are first paying in this range, it most likely won't break the bank. Long-term care insurance is important, but never forget to stick within your budget and maintain a simple savings account. Paying lower premiums now will allow you security when premiums rise later.

Despite the rising premiums, the alternative to long-term care insurance is a lot worse. Often, Medicare doesn't cover custodial care. You don't want to leave your children paying the high costs of private long-term care or worse, being placed in a state-funded Medicaid facility that is funded by a diminishing budget. Do what you can now to protect yourself from rising premiums and consult an insurance lawyer when you have questions, about the policies you are selling, or when purchasing long-term care for yourself or family, says Darras.