NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While health insurance is controversial, the product is not broken.
Long-term care insurance is broken.
Long-term care insurance works something like Social Security. Young workers pay; old workers collect.
But as the costs of long-term care have skyrocketed, and as America has continued to age, the numbers no longer add up.Operating costs are rising, and longer life spans mean people are spending more time in increasingly expensive acute-care facilities. A recent cost of care study from Genworth Financial (GNW) offers a good summary. It now costs $3,500 per month to keep someone in an assisted living facility. A nursing home, which offers more care, costs even more. Half of those aged 65 or older will need such care at some point, notes LTC Tree. Middle-class people can't bear these costs. We can't even plan for them.
I have had disability coverage since I started working 35 years ago. The premium is $33.85 per month. The roughly $14,000 I've paid out for coverage over that time would pay for just a few months of nursing home care. Knowing how bad the numbers are, many large insurance carriers have exited this area. MetLife (MET) decided to get out of offering such policies in 2010. Prudential (PRU) chose to stop selling individual policies in 2012, the same year as UNUM Group (UNM).