Long Term Care Insurance Rates Account For 2013 Change

The impact of the changing reserve requirements for long term care insurance has generally already been taken into account and isn’t expected to create further rate increases starting next year according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

“We’ve had several recent calls from consumers after being told by a financial planner that rates for insurance would ‘increase significantly’ in 2013,” Slome explains.  “The new discount rate will have minimal impact on long term care insurance and in many cases has already been taken into account by insurers.”

According to Slome, the ‘valuation discount rate’ used for calculating statutory reserves or capital requirements for long term care insurance is dropping from 4 percent to 3.5 percent for new business starting in 2013.  “The rate is tied to Treasury yields based on a complicated formula,” Slome notes.  “It automatically updates when new money rates change over a period of time.”

Five-year Treasury rates are at historic lows (0.62%) and 10-year yields are at 1.59 percent as of September 4, 2012.  “By comparison, both five and 10-year rates were 4.68 percent on January 1, 2007 and 2.65 percent and 4.60 percent as recently as January 4, 2010.

“Low interest rates have been the primary cause of increasing rates for long term care insurance and have impacted other insurance lines including fixed annuities as well as life and disability insurance,” Slome states.  “To compensate for every one percent decline in interest rates which equates to lower investment income, an insurer needs a 10-to-15 percent increase in premiums.   The drop in just the past two years has had an enormous impact.”

The Association reports that the changing reserve requirements that take effect January 1st are designed to provide added protection to policyholders.  “The half percent drop in reserve rates will have a nominal impact on premiums,” Slome.  “The impact depends on a policy’s duration but is in the two-to-five percent range.”

The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance was established in 1998 to advocate for the importance of planning for long term care and to support insurance and financial professionals who market LTC insurance.  To learn more about long term care insurance costs call the organization’s offices at (818) 597-3227 or visit the Association’s website.

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