Women living alone have a special need and a considerable pricing advantage when it comes to long term care insurance planning. The need isn’t likely to change but a number of experts predict the pricing advantage will change in the months and years to come.
After age 50, there are millions of American women living alone as a result of divorce, death of a spouse or simply because they never got married. Equally important, there are millions who will eventually be living alone as a result of the death of their older male or female partner. After age 65, women are twice as likely to be living alone.
It is commonly known that women live longer lives than men. On average they live about five years longer and women are far more likely to reach age 85. The consequence of living a long life, into your 80s, 90s and even beyond, is the significantly increased likelihood of needing long term care.
There are roughly one million women over the age of 65 occupying beds in the nation’s nursing homes. By comparison, there are roughly 337,000 men over age 65. Women are far more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not a pretty picture and far too few women do any planning for this likelihood. Frankly, there are far too few women planners and other professionals working to educate America’s older women regarding post-retirement planning issues.
Here, however, are the important facts and the current price advantage available to women when it comes to long term care insurance – one of the options available to pay for care. Women receive roughly two-thirds of all long term care insurance benefit dollars paid out by insurance companies. They make up 65 percent of all new claims started in 2011 according to the yearly study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
So, with more risk and more dollars being paid out in claims, it would be natural to think that single women (women living alone) would pay significantly more that a man for long term care insurance. That is not the case. All things being equal, a single woman pays the same as a single man. Rates are what the industry calls unisex. This is a significant advantage for women – but experts point to changes that will one day eliminate this advantage as part of future policies. The pricing advantage will not be lost by those who already have insurance coverage.
One final point worth sharing. Few are aware that in order to obtain long term care insurance one must health qualify. In simple terms, not everyone can get this coverage and certainly the ability to health qualify drops as one ages and more conditions arise. Thus, the sweet spot for looking at this coverage is between the ages of 54 and 64. For a woman living alone, the need to at least get the information is vital. The peace of mind of knowing you have a plan is priceless … and the savings resulting from the current pricing advantage ain’t bad either.
For additional information on long term care insurance costs or to connect with a specialist member of the Association call (818) 597-3227 or visit the organization’s website.