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Insurers offering alternative long-term care policies to test struggling market

A trend of companies exiting the long-term care market and shifting consumer demand away from traditional LTC insurance has insurers looking for different ways to offer the policies to individuals.

In recent years, purchasing an "accelerating benefit" on a life insurance policy has become a popular option for consumers. The acceleration benefit allows policyholders to receive benefits otherwise only available at the time of death to help pay for care, if certain conditions are met.

Americo Financial Life & Annuity Insurance Co. is taking a different approach by offering a single-premium immediate LTC policy, according to a product filing submitted through the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission.

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The product was filed as a qualified LTC policy under the internal revenue code 7702B, which allows the applicant to receive tax-free LTC benefits, or qualified benefits, under certain conditions.

However, unlike a traditional long-term solution, Americo's contract is designed for people who already need care. The applicant must be 65 or older and chronically ill to purchase the policy.

In return for the single premium, the policyholder immediately receives monthly lifetime benefits as long as he or she is still receiving qualified care. The benefit amount is based on the premium paid to the insurer and the overall health of the client. The healthier the patient, the lower the monthly benefits.

At least two other insurers, Genworth Financial Inc. and OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc.'s State Life Insurance Co. subsidiary, market a similar solution. Their products were filed with regulators as immediate annuities that are medically underwritten to calculate the income payments.

In immediate annuities, the benefit payments do not qualify under the internal revenue code 7702B, making a portion of the payments taxable as ordinary income. However, the benefit payments are not limited to qualified care.

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S&P Global Market Intelligence offers a variety of tools to analyze the rate and product filings of insurance companies.

Click here for a webinar with information on the resources S&P Global Market Intelligence has available regarding rate filings.