Many American consumers are concerned about a possible continuous increase in long term care insurance rates – a predicament shared by the California Assembly. However, the Assembly recently passed AB 999, a bill that is seen to worsen matters if it passes the State Senate, said Cameron Truesdell, chief executive of LTC Financial Partners (LTCFP), one of the most experienced and biggest long term care insurance companies in the United States.

Under the bill, carriers will have to wait five years before they can request rate changes for existing insurance products and 10 years for new policies. While AB 999 seems like a good idea as it aims to safeguard consumers by imposing a cap on rates, in reality it would have negative consequences, said Truesdell.

These unintended consequences include risk of rate increases on new insurance policies, said Truesdell. Many insurance companies would impose higher rates, knowing that they cannot adjust their rates for a decade. Insurers would have to protect their own interest from the worst case that can happen in 10 years, such as continuous low interest rates that can badly hurt their earnings.

The bill can also result in fewer long term care insurance choices, as some carriers are saying that they will leave the market once the bill becomes a law. Truesdell said this already happened in the past, when a well intentioned yet burdensome law drove many of the leading insurance companies out of a certain state. Insurers made this move as they didn’t want to be thrown overboard or handcuffed.

AB 999 can also put greater financial drain on Medi-Cal — a program designed for the needy — as fewer options for private long term care insurance and initial rate increases will prompt many middle-class Californians to spend down their properties to be eligible for Medi-Cal, rather than purchasing a policy.

Truesdell suggests that California should improve the California Partnership for Long Term Care, rather than pursuing new legislation. Under the existing program, residents can opt for a qualified private long term care insurance quote, with the guarantee of a Medi-Cal protection.

LTCFP commends the motives behind the bill, but good intentions may lead to over-regulation that can backfire, he said. If enacted, the new bill will be of no help to consumers, as it will only mandate and promote higher initial rates on new insurance policies.

LTCFP, which represents multiple carriers, is a co-founding sponsor of the “3 in 4 Need More” movement, which aims to raise the number of US citizens protected by LTC planning.

Hospitals in Niagara are continuing its battle against outbreaks of Clostridium difficile, and while long term care homes in the region have not yet seen an outbreak of the disease, efforts aimed at preventing an outbreak have been intensified.

Out of the nine long term care homes in the region, three have residents diagnosed with the disease, said Niagara Region director of senior services Dominic Ventresca, who admitted that long term care homes in the area are not familiar with the C. diff.

In spite of the presence of C. diff in long term care homes, he said they have been able to keep the disease from spreading to others. The Niagara Region long term care home has not yet seen an outbreak of C. diff, though it had outbreaks of other infectious diseases such as influenza.

According to Carrie Beatty, a spokeswoman for the public health department of Niagara, other long term care homes in the region have not seen an outbreak of C. difficile. The Extended Care Unit, a Niagara Health System-run long term care facility at the Welland Hospital, has not also seen any outbreak of the disease, she added.

While there is an outbreak at the Welland Hospital to which it is attached to, the Extended Care Unit is considered detach from the hospital, said Beatty. She added that the outbreak at Welland Hospital doesn’t apply to the Extended Care Unit.

In an update on the outbreak in the hospital, Sue Matthews, interim CEO of NHS, also said she is not aware of cases of the disease at the Extended Care Unit.

Since the C. diff outbreaks were first declared in St. Catharines on May 28 and in Niagara Falls and Welland on June 23, there have been 74 cases of the disease and 20 deaths.

Meanwhile, Doug Rapelje, head of the Senior Citizens Advisory committee at Welland, has expressed his concern about the risk the disease may pose for elderly residing within the community. Thus, he urges residents to wash their hands regularly, as this can be the best preventive measure that can be taken particularly by seniors.

Practices implemented at regional long term care homes may have also helped thwart outbreaks of the disease at regional homes, said Ventresca, adding that long term care homes at the region have been prepared for containing C. diff. Treatment and control measures are also in place in case of confirmed cases of Clostridium difficile.

Long term care insurance not only caters for your care at home or nursing facility should you become incapacitated, but also significantly eases the burden of your care on family members. The costs of nursing homes, assisted-living, and even in-home care continue to rise with the escalating costs of living. These services will soon be out of reach for most people unless they had invested in long term care insurance. This type of insurance covers several issues related to your long term care. Every insurance company has its own policies covering different aspects long term care. The policies are tailored to meet your needs according to your financial status.

Most companies define long term care as services provided to a person who is incapable of performing ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs) or a person who is cognitively impaired due to senility, or diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Common ADLs that are used to define the need for long term care include dressing and bathing, transferring which involves activities such as moving from a bed to a seat, eating, toileting activities, and continence.

Long term care insurance policies have in recent times started covering various long term care aspects including skilled and intermediate as well as custodial assistance provided in state licensed nursing homes. They also cover home care services provided by skilled or non-skilled nurses as well as physical therapy, and home health aid provided by caregivers from state-licensed home health agencies.

There are many policies that provide insurance cover for individuals in assisted-living facilities, adult daycare centers, and in many other community or respite care facilities. A good long term care insurance quote will offer policies that also cover alternate care services. Alternate care in this case refers to non-conventional care maintained by a licensed practitioner to provide a cheaper alternative to nursing home care. Alternate care facilities are deemed to be more beneficial because they also provide medical care, treatment, or even medical modifications that are essential to the insured’s home such as ramps for wheelchairs and specialized bathrooms.

Long term care insurance also covers the potential risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and any other cognitive disability that leads to admission in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, or adult daycare centers. All these conditions that carry a potential of leaving you incapacitated and in need of long term care are covered in long term care insurance policies. Most beneficiaries of long term care insurance are usually given close to 14 more hours of care and attention than those who do not have the insurance.

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