Now is the Time for Women to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

The fact that women live an average of 5 to 10 years longer than men makes investing in long-term care insurance a vital women's issue.

February 20, 2013

The fact that women live an average of 5 to 10 years longer than men makes investing in long-term care insurance a vital women's issue. Considering that insurance companies have recently announced they will begin gender-distinct pricing, it is also an issue that women must address now rather than later.

Premiums for long-term care insurance have been going up, elimination periods are increasing, and the eligibility requirements have been tightened in recent years across all of the top insurance companies. With the start of the New Year and the approval of state insurance commissions, companies also announced they would begin gender-distinct pricing. Rates for single women could go up by as much as 40 percent starting in April.

"There really is no time to wait in purchasing long-term care. Come April, rates will be much higher for women than they were previously. The truth is that women are costing the insurance companies more because they outlive their male counterparts and are much more likely to need their long-term care benefits. In turn, insurance companies need to raise prices in order to cover costs," says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer.

By age 75, 7 in 10 women are widowed, divorced or have never been married and 40% of them live alone. Women who live past age 65 require an average of 2 years of disability assistance before passing and 7 in 10 residents of nursing homes (the most expensive form of long-term care) are women.

"Women are disproportionately beneficiaries of long-term care insurance. In 2011, insurance companies paid out $6.6 billion in benefits to women. This is simply because they are much more likely to need these benefits. The statistics show the dire need for this type of coverage and how important it is for women to get it," says Darras.

Gender-distinct pricing is now permitted in all states except Montana and Colorado. Most insurance companies are only using these standards for new policyholders while continuing to keep current policyholders at the same rate.

"Long-term care is undoubtedly a women's issue. Considering the outlook for premiums in the coming months now is the time to purchase a policy while it is still affordable. After all, it's the women who care for their husbands, parents, siblings and children and are too often left with no one to care for them" says Darras.