Long-term care insurance is 'greatest unfunded liability'

Wednesday - 10/26/2011, 5:43pm EDT

Paul Forte and Beth O'Brien, Long Term Care Partners

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Long-term care insurance is the "greatest unfunded liability that the average family faces," said Paul Forte, CEO of Long Term Care Partners, in an interview with Your Turn with Mike Causey.

Health insurance policies cover doctor's visits and hospital stay but assume your problem is over when you go home. These policies do not cover living assistance for chronic health issues, Forte said.

This year, 45,000 federal employees signed up for federal LTC during the open season sign-up period this spring, increasing the total number of enrollees by 20 percent to 271,000 feds.

Federal employees can enroll anytime, but the sign-up form has fewer questions during open season.

Beth O'Brien, senior account manager at Long-Term Care Partners, said the average cost of a stay in a nursing home in the Washington area is between $85,000 to $95,000. And assisted living costs upwards of $5,000 a month, she said.

"This is the sort of funding that will be diverted from their retirement annuity," O'Brien said. Federal retirees must ask themselves, "is there enough to go out the door to pay for these costs but also maintain a standard of living for a spouse at home?"

LTC comes down to three simple decisions, O'Brien said:

O'Brien said most people bought "middle-of-the-road" coverage during open season this year. The average age of enrollment this open season was 53, she said.

In the second half of Your Turn with Mike Causey, Mike spoke with Steve Losey of the Federal Times about updates with the congressional supercommittee.

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