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Gender could affect long term care planning insurance rates

When looking at the latter years of life, there are a variety of financial factors for New York residents to consider, including expected living expenses, medical costs, projected income, savings and more. One key aspect of long term care planning is making sure that all insurance needs are covered. That can be an expensive preposition and can be even more expensive for women under new rules adopted by some big insurance companies.

The insurers acknowledge having adopted gender-based premiums for long-term care policies. However, they say that doing so is simply a pragmatic necessity in view of the verifiable fact that women live longer than men and will, therefore, use benefits from the policies for more years than men will at a greater total cost. One of the companies, in an email from their chief executive officer, said that this fact is backed up by actuarial data.

In that email, he affirmed that women own approximately 58 percent of the policies issued. However, he said, they account for about 67 percent of all claims. In view of that, along with women living longer and thus collecting benefits for longer, he says that insurance companies like his must be able to charge the gender-based premiums since they correlate to the underlying risk of bigger payouts.

The National Women's Law Center disagrees. They say the gender-based premiums violate a provision of the Affordable Care Act. That law has a specific provision precluding sex discrimination in health care. On that basis, the group filed administrative complaints with the federal Office for Civil Rights.

This case addresses one factor complicating financial planning for the future. Anyone in New York who is thinking about long term care planning will want to consider all the potential costs. A qualified attorney can help them do so.

Source: nytimes.com, "Long-Term-Care Insurance Priced by Gender" Ann Carrns, Feb. 11, 2014

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