Tuesday, November 14, 2006
By: UnumProvident Date: November 6 2006
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 6, 2006) – Nearly 58 percent of submitted claims for UnumProvident’s group long term care insurance are for people under age 65, the company reveals in its first annual Landscape of Long Term Care, a profile of claims activity.
“When you say long term care, most people think of a nursing home for end-of-life care,” said John Noble, director of long term care products. “Our claims analysis shows that both group and individual long term care is frequently used at much younger ages. This annual look at the landscape will help us determine the trends in this area, and, in turn, will allow us to educate employers on the growing importance of this emerging benefit.”
UnumProvident holds nearly 80 percent of the group long term care insurance policies in the United States, excluding federal government policies and California-specific policies, covering about 550,000 working-age employees. In addition, the company holds about 200,000 individual long term care policies. In 2005, UnumProvident processed more than 3,000 group and individual long term care claims and expects to process 4,000 in 2006.
The analysis of group long term care claims data reveals:
The top five causes of claims for people under 65 are cancer (over 30 percent), stroke (more than 10 percent), neurological disease, dementia, and multiple sclerosis.
More than 66 percent of all the claimants in this age group received care at home, while 17 percent received nursing home care. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimates that the average cost of nursing home care is approximately $70,000 per year.
A typical claim for UnumProvident policy holders under 65 lasts a year or longer.
The average age of under-65 claimants is 53, with more than 15 percent younger than 45.
“The conditions impacting these claimants can require months if not years of treatment and care,” Noble said. “And many of these conditions worsen as we age. Add in the fact that more young people are suffering from conditions like obesity and diabetes, and this leads us to expect incidence rates to continue to rise for this age group.”
Although the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that there are approximately 10 million people who need long term care today, a January Wall Street Journal/Harris poll found that only 9 percent of those surveyed have purchased long term care insurance.
“The low number is reflective of the lack of education around the need for long term care insurance and the financial risk if you remain exposed,” Noble said. “Individuals and employers alike are acknowledging the value of this coverage, particularly when purchased early at lower rates.”
Find more information about long term care at www.LTC-101.com, going live today to coincide with National Long Term Care Awareness Week.
Unless referenced otherwise, the statistics included in this news release are based on UnumProvident internal data as of 2006.