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Just Sayin’: Unjustified insurance rate hikes

Insurance companies will not cancel a policy immediately

Insurance companies will not cancel a policy immediately after nonpayment of a premium. The companies generally send three notices, about 30 days apart. If the premium is not paid by the end of this 90-100 day period, the policy can be canceled. Photo Credit: iStock

My wife and I have owned long-term care insurance policies for many years and have just been notified of the second premium increase in two years. We didn’t expect our premiums to increase at all.

New York State encourages the purchase of these policies by giving a 20 percent income tax credit for the premium payments. This is a well-intentioned law, but by permitting insurance companies to increase premiums subsequent to the issuance of these policies, many senior citizens will let them lapse.

The undeniable consequences are that the policyholder has basically thrown away any premiums paid, the state has lost income taxes to the extent of past premium tax credits and seniors may still resort to New York Medicaid for their long-term care.

I can think of no reason that justifies premium increases after a policy is issued. The policies provide a defined benefit for a limited period. It seems very easy for actuaries to compute a company’s worst-case exposure on the date of issue and price the risk accordingly.

Thomas Alto