As a Michigan elder law and Medicaid planning attorney, I am always looking for alternatives to paying out-of-pocket for nursing home care.  One of those alternatives is long-term care insurance.

For those of you who have purchased long-term care insurance, keep an eye on your mailbox  — a large premium increase may be on the way.

Long-term care insurer John Hancock is seeking sharp premium increases nationwide for certain types of coverage.  The insurer is going state-to-state asking for rate hikes averaging 40 percent, but sometimes nearly double the previous premium.  Reports from shocked policyholders are now coming in from the Midwest, where at least two states have already approved the increases.

The Chicago Sun Times profiled an Illinois couple who just received news in the mail of a 90 percent premium rate increase.  Similarly, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that premiums are soaring by 20 to 90 percent for thousands of Minnesotans who have Hancock policies.  One man profiled will see his annual premium jump nearly 50 percent.

It appears that the largest increases are on policies that include compound inflation coverage or lifetime coverage, or both.  The rate increases come on the heels of recent announcements by several long-term care insurers that they are leaving the marketplace entirely.

In most states, long-term care rates can rise only after the rate increase has been accepted by the state department of insurance, meaning that it will be a long process for John Hancock’s increases to reach every state.  However, nearly every state grants at least some such rate requests, and in many states the increase must be approved if the insurance company can demonstrate that it will lose money otherwise.

There is no perfect answer to planning for long-term care.  However, make sure you understand your options.  As an elder law and elder care attorney in Michigan, I have several options that can either replace or supplement your long-term care insurance policies.


Glenn Matecun is a Michigan elder law and elder care attorney, working with clients in Livingston County (including Howell, Brighton, Hartland, Fowlerville and surrounding areas), Macomb County (including Clinton Township, Shelby Towhship, Mt. Clemens and surrounding areas), and Wayne County. Learn more at

Post A Comment