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Long-term disability care: ‘A woman’s issue’

Overall, disability doesn’t discriminate. Both men and women get sick, get injured and need medical and related financial help. Men and women buy disability insurance. But a recent New York Times report suggests that it is women who, right now, need to act and consider their long-term disability insurance benefits.

For those who don’t have long-term care insurance, sources from the financial planning field warn that it could soon be too late for women particularly to be able to buy a plan. Insurance companies are making changes to costs and some even will increase long-term cost for women specifically.

Though different pricing for a product based on gender might seem very un-American, insurance companies have history and its numbers to back them up. On average, women live longer than men. They are more likely, therefore, to actually utilize the benefits that they’ve paid to receive and for longer periods of time than compared to men. Stays in nursing homes make for a significant amount in long-term benefit payouts, and about 70 percent of nursing home residents are female.

The reported price hike for long-term care insurance is expected to be 40 percent and to start this spring. That’s a significant difference that could cause many women to neglect planning for long-term care. An executive within the insurance field warns that now is the time for women specifically to consider long-term disability benefits and choose a plan that will serve their interests when their time comes. By spring, the costs and the approval process will likely be too prohibitive.

Source: The New York Times, “For Women, Reduced Access to Long-Term Care Insurance,” Jane Gross, Feb. 6, 2013

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