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Long Term Care Blog

Group challenges gender-based long term care insurance rates

by Jack Lenenberg

Ltc Gender Based RatesA non-profit legal organization has filed suit alleging that the recently instituted practice of private insurance companies charging women higher rates for long term care insurance violates Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

The National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group based in Washington DC, filed sex discrimination complaints against John Hancock, Transamerica, Mutual of Omaha and Genworth Financial.

The Affordable Care Act Section 1557 states that an individual should not be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies or contracts of insurance, or under any program that is administered by an executive agency or any entity established under this title (or amendments)."

Private insurers state that long term care insurance coverage is different from health insurance and major medical insurance and is exempt from the Affordable Care Act provisions that set legal standards for health insurance policies.  With gender-based pricing, private insurers are charging women up to 40% additional premium than similarly situated male counterparts.  Women tend to file a disproportionate amount of long term care claims and the claims filed by women tend to last longer than claims filed by men.

The National Women's Law Center in turn argues that long term care insurance policies benefit State Long Term Care Partnership programs and that owners of long term care insurance receive asset disregard benefits under State Medicaid programs.  As such, the law center is requesting the Heath and Human Services Office of Civil Rights to eliminate gender-based LTCI pricing and to end State Partnership support for carriers that implement gender-based LTCI rates.

Gender-based pricing is nothing new in the insurance industry. Private disability insurance underwriters have long charged women more premium, while private life insurance underwriters have long charged men additional premium.  The issue with long term care insurance is whether it is health insurance and if so, whether State LTC Partnership programs can be construed as federal subsidies.

I believe that the courts will most likely side with the insurers stating that long term care insurance is distinct from major medical insurance and does not fall under the ObamaCare umbrella.

Meanwhile, this issue underscores the fact that long term care insurance premiums are increasing for women. 

While John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha and Transamerica are charging all women applicants (single or partnered) more premium; and Genworth is charging only single women applicants more premium, there are still a few notable carriers that are not levying an additional premium against female applicants.

2 carriers of note, Mass Mutual and MedAmerica, have yet to implement gender based pricing.

Thus, for female applicants-and especially single female applicants-it is very important to apply for and get approved for coverage before the remaining insurers also institute gender-based rates.

We can help you shop and compare rates of all of the major LTC insurers including Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, National Guardian Life, Thrivent, Securian, Nationwide, Pacific Life, Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica, OneAmerica/State Life and more.

To receive quotes as well as unbiased advice and direction in sorting through your long term care insurance options, please contact us at (800) 891-5824.  Or complete our easy quote request form. 

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