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Mark Miller: Remaking Retirement

The Long-Term Care Insurance Market Evolves

The commercial market shifts to policies combining care protections with life insurance, notes contributor Mark Miller.

It's a paradox: More Americans are worried about the risk that long-term care expenses can pose for their retirement plans, but few take action to protect themselves. The commercial long-term care insurance industry has never achieved mass market penetration levels, and sales have been falling steadily over the past five years.

Chalk it up, in part, to consumer resistance. People are reluctant to spend thousands of dollars annually on insurance premiums for a long-term care need that might come far down the road, or not at all. But the insurance industry hasn't helped itself, either. Insurance companies selling traditional long-term care insurance initially underpriced policies, leading to double-digit rate hikes on policies in force that scared off buyers.

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