“Blame Technology, Not Longer Life Spans, for Health Spending Increases,” by Austin Frakt, New York Times

“The real culprit of increased spending? Technology.  Every year you age, health care technology changes — usually for the better, but always at higher cost. Technology change is responsible for at least one-third and as much as two-thirds of per capita health care spending growth. After accounting for changes in income and health care coverage, aging alone can explain only, at most, a few percentage points of spending growth — a conclusion reached by several studies.” LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform): Thanks to Center Premium Elite member Honey Leveen for drawing our attention
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Categories: Industry News and Long-Term Care.

“Trump’s Health Plan Would Convert Medicaid to Block Grants, Aide Says,” by Robert Pear, New York Times

“President Trump’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will propose giving each state a fixed amount of federal money in the form of a block grant to provide health care to low-income people on Medicaid, a top adviser to Mr. Trump said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.  The adviser, Kellyanne Conway, who is Mr. Trump’s White House counselor, said that converting Medicaid to a block grant would ensure that ‘those who are closest to the people in need will be administering’ the program.” LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform): We support block
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Categories: Industry News and Long-Term Care.

A.M. Best Reaffirms A- Excellent Rating of NGL

January 3, 2017 Madison, Wis. – National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL) is pleased to announce that A.M. Best has recently reaffirmed its A- (Excellent) rating. This rating reflects the excellent ability of NGL to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations and further attests to its financial strength. “The A- Excellent rating further demonstrates our commitment to over 1.2 million policyholders and 28,000 independent agents who depend on NGL as a strong and reliable insurance company. NGL has the financial strength to be there when needed,” said Brian Hogan, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at NGL.
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Categories: Industry News, Long-Term Care, and National Guardian Life.

GoldenCare’s Updated 2017 Individual Tax Guide Now Available

With the IRS recently having announced the 2017 LTCi Premium Deductibility Limits, we’ve updated our GoldenCare Individual Tax Guide. The benefits of purchasing long-term care insurance are far-reaching, more so than most people think. In addition to safeguarding retirement funds and a nest-egg from the potential impact of needing LTC services, premiums paid may also provide clients with a tax deduction each year! Click Here To View/Print This Updated Guide #goldencareagent
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Categories: GoldenCare News, Industry News, and Long-Term Care.

2017 Holiday Office Closings

As we turn the calendar to 2017, please take note of the days when Mutual of Omaha and its affiliates (United of Omaha, Companion Life Insurance Company, and United World) will be closed for the holidays. • Monday, May 29, 2017 — Memorial Day • Monday, July 3 – Tuesday, July 4, 2017 — Independence Day • Monday, September 4, 2017 — Labor Day • Thursday, November 23 – Friday, November 24, 2017 — Thanksgiving Day • Monday, December 25, 2017 — Christmas Day • Monday, January 1, 2018 — New Year’s Day We will also continue to include reminders
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Categories: Industry News and Mutual of Omaha (& Affiliates).

Pennsylvania and Oregon Notices

In the states of Pennsylvania and Oregon Mutual of Omaha policyholders will be receiving a letter stating that “Mutual of Omaha complies with applicable laws and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex, including sex stereotypes and gender identity.” The letters to Mutual of Omaha policyholders will begin the week of January 23, 2017. Effective immediately, the application packets will also be updated with the same notice. If you have any questions, please contact Mutual of Omaha’s Policyowner Services at 800-775-6000 or mycustomerservice@mutualofomaha.com. Pennsylvania and Oregon Notices #goldencaragent #MutualOfOmaha
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Categories: Industry News and Mutual of Omaha (& Affiliates).

“Hybrid Insurance Policies Gaining Steam,” by Eleanor Laise, Kiplinger

“Consumers who are skeptical of traditional long-term-care insurance are snapping up ‘hybrid’ policies combining life insurance with long-term-care benefits. But are these products really a better way to manage the risk of catastrophic long-term-care costs?  … “The sales pitch is simple: By paying a single premium or series of set premiums, you avoid the risk of future premium increases—an issue that has plagued traditional long-term-care policies. And many consumers have balked at the ‘use it or lose it’ nature of traditional long-term-care policies; the hybrid’s potential death benefit removes that concern. “But those advantages aren’t as clear-cut as they sound.
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Categories: Industry News, Linked Benefit/Hybrids, and Long-Term Care.

“UnitedHealth to take $350 million LTCI guaranty fund charge,” by Allison Bell, LifeHealthPRO

“UnitedHealth never sold any long-term care insurance, but state guaranty funds are requiring UnitedHealth and other health insurers to pay assessments to cover the cost of protecting the policyholders of Penn Treaty Insurance Company and a sister company. Pennsylvania regulators are in the process of liquidating both companies, after concluding that the company’s reserves cannot support the LTCI coverage the companies wrote.” LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform): The “risk pool” for insurers.  UnitedHealth to take $350 million LTCI guaranty fund charge #goldencareagent
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Categories: Industry News and Long-Term Care.

“Treasury economist finds women need help with LTC costs,” by Allison Bell, LifeHealthPRO

“The typical 80-year-old woman in the United States may have enough financial resources, including home equity, to pay for about 20 months of nursing home care, or 35 months of home health care. An 80-year-old woman in the top quarter in terms of income and wealth may be able to pay 58 months of nursing home care and about 103 months of home health care. Jason Brown, an economist at the U.S. Treasury Department, included those figures in a major new report on the economic security of older women in the United States.” LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President,
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Categories: Industry News and Long-Term Care.

“Medicare 2017 costs at a glance,” by Medicare.gov

“Listed below are basic costs for people with Medicare. If you want to see and compare costs for specific health care plans, visit the Medicare Plan Finder.  For specific cost information (like whether you’ve met your deductible, how much you’ll pay for an item or service you got, or the status of a claim), visit MyMedicare.gov.” LTC Comment: (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform) We’ll update these key Medicare numbers in The Zone this morning.  There you can find the comparable numbers for each year going back to 1993.  You’ll need your user name and password
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Categories: Industry News and Medicare Supp./Adv..