We’ve all heard some variation of this story: after years of paying premiums on time, someone files a claim with their insurance company, only to be denied benefits and cheated out of the coverage they deserve. No matter what type of insurance, this has happened to consumers, and long term care insurance buyers haven’t been spared. These stories are not blanket warnings against policies, however, although some people choose to use them as so. Rather, they are tools to help us make wiser decisions about how to buy insurance.
Many people bought long term care insurance policies when they first went on sale in the 1970s and 80s. All too often, the policies were from companies who had no real knowledge of the long term care industry, but jumped in feet first, anyway. Many of these companies stopped selling policies after realizing their original underwriting guidelines left no room for profit, and moved on to other ventures.
Some policyholders have run into real issues trying to collect their benefits as these companies make it difficult for them to receive claim payments. However, there are other companies, some that are still around, that seem to have formulated their policies in a way to make receiving a claim payment nearly impossible.
A recent lawsuit against Continental Casualty Company claims the CNA “deliberately places demands on policyholders that… could only be (intended) to cook up grounds to deny claims.” The 90 year old policyholder had developed dementia and was deemed unable to live alone by her doctor. Despite this, CNA refused to pay for more than 49 hours per week of in-home health care, claiming around-the-clock care was not necessary, despite the doctor’s assessment.
The company had written their policy to include only 5 of the 7 conditions that California law deems an acceptable trigger for payouts, making it much harder for people to qualify as “in need of care”. The lawsuit calls the claims process “abusive” and the claimant’s family is seeking full reimbursement and punitive damages.
How to Respond
Lawsuits like this one have stricken fear into friends and family who otherwise would have considered the insurance, leaving them confused about how to plan for long term care, and worse, completely vulnerable to the high cost.
The truth is, the claims process doesn’t have to be a difficult one – and it shouldn’t be. The top rated blue-chip companies don’t give policyholders the run-around like CNA and other sellers of long term care insurance do. Companies like Genworth, John Hancock, and Mass Mutual have proven themselves reliable in claims payments, meriting the top financial ratings and rankings available for the industry. The key is to do your research and work with an independent agent to buy a policy from a reliable company that has longevity and experience in the long term care sector.
Plan for Your Future
At LTC Tree, we work with all the top rated blue chip companies to get our clients the best deal. As technology changes and life expectancy increases, it is crucial to take different factors into consideration. Benefits like in-home care and home modification are now more important than ever, as more people choose to “age-in-place” rather than move into a nursing home or assisted living facility.
We will be glad to send you a side-by-side comparison of all the top providers so you can spend some time doing your own research and deciding which plan is best for you. For more information, call us today at 1-800-800-6139 or request a quote now.