Unum’s total revenue slid slightly to $2.6 billion in 2014 from $2.61 billion in the first quarter of 2013. Last month the Times Free Press reported that Unum Group boosted its second quarter net income by 10 percent from a year ago to $236.8 million, or $1 per share. “Our focus going forward remains on continuing to profitably grow our business through disciplined pricing, underwriting and expense management - principles that continue to serve us very well," wrote CEO Tom Watjen in a letter to employees. Does “disciplined pricing” mean rate hikes to seniors?
In Florida alone, the giant health insurer has more than 45,000 long-term care policy holders. With Unum’s proposed increases ranging from 75 percent to 114 percent under different plans, it would seem a slam dunk that profits will grow. In all fairness to Unum and other insurance companies, 12 million Americans currently need long-term care. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 27 million. But how consumers are going to pay their premiums to guarantee long-term disability benefits is unclear.
A recent study by Genworth, a financial security and insurance company, determined that approximately 70 percent of Americans reaching age 65 will require long-term care services at some time in their lives, but only 11 percent have a long-term care insurance policy.
According to mypalmbeachpost.com, a woman from West Palm Beach broke down in tears about the proposed rate hikes. She said that consumers are getting scammed because they bought a policy with the belief that premiums would not increase. And insurance agents reassured them that they could count on “secure long-term care benefits after years of paying and planning ahead.”
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Only nine states have not adopted long-term care insurance rate stability regulation. And most state regulations are based on a model recommended by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which don’t allow big increases in premiums that people in, say, Florida are expected to pay. If you live in Pennsylvania, rate hikes increases up to 130 percent were proposed until the insurance commissioner came up with a plan involving four insurance providers: consumers could minimize their premium increase for changes to their policy terms or benefits.
If you live in one of the nine states that doesn’t regulate long-term care insurance, you might want to seek legal help.