Long-Term Health Care Plans Not Just for the Old

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Long-Term Health Care Plans Not Just for the Old


Byline: Mike Causey, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Paying premiums for long-term health care insurance is a waste of money for most younger people, correct?

The short answer is that it depends on your definition of what is young - also your genes, and luck.

When it comes to long-term care coverage, federal and postal employees and retired feds are far ahead of their private-sector counterparts. Roughly 217,000 members of the federal family are covered by the government-sponsored group plan. Tens of thousands more have their own coverage, or coverage through some other group or affinity plan.

Not all of those covered are that old. In fact, roughly 40 percent of the feds who are receiving long-term care benefits are 65 or younger. Some qualify because of accidents that can happen to anyone at any age. Many have cancer that requires them to pay for help in dressing, eating, toileting and getting in and out of bed.

Many analysts, not just insurance agents, think people in their 50s and younger should consider coverage along with a long-term disability package. Long-term care insurance pays for home and nursing care not covered by Medicare. Long-term disability insurance replaces income in whole or part that is lost because the person can no longer work. In most cases, the long-term disability replacement is for a maximum of about 70 percent of salary. Insurance companies think this formula encourages recipients to try to get well enough to return to work rather than if they had 100 percent income replacement.

The federal long-term care program is sponsored by the federal Office of Personnel Management. It is run by Long Term Care Partners and underwritten by the John Hancock and Metropolitan Life insurance companies. Both companies, as well as many other major insurers, also offer long-term-care coverage at group and individual rates. The federal program is easier to qualify for older people or those in poorer health. Individual premiums are often lower for younger people in good health than are group premiums under the federal program. It pays to shop. For more information on the federal program, call 800/582-3337 or go to www.ltcfeds .com/.

Pay and premium adjustments

White-collar federal workers are looking at a national pay increase of 3 percent to 3. …

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