Friday, January 2, 2009

Long-term care doubles in popularity over past decade

The percentage of workers with long-term care insurance provided by employers has doubled since 1999, from 6% to 12%. In larger companies with 100 or more employees, 20% of workers have access to long-term care, according to the 2008 National Compensation Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because of the relative low cost of the offering, more and more employers are turning to long-term care providers. When electing an appropriate carrier, employers should “consider plan design, pricing, quality of operations, financial stability and a demonstrated commitment to offering the coverage," says Frank J. Fimmano, senior vice president with Aon Consulting in New York.

Providers should offer the equivalent of a built-in inflation adjuster to keep the policy’s worth relative to inflation as workers age.

However, just because these plans are accessible, employees don’t always follow through. As these programs are often funded by employee premiums, many do not take advantage while others simply do not want to consider a future where they or a family member needs full-time care. The program should not be a massive headcount; instead employers should approach the care plan with an underwriting-driven strategy as opposed to a marketing-driven policy.

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