17 Ways to Get Turned Down for Long-Term Care Insurance. (And What Happened to Me!)

The takeaway.¬† Here’s some surprising information on who gets accepted and rejected for long-term care insurance.¬† Use this information, along with information contained in the rest of the long-term care series, to make informed decisions about your future.¬† You got this.


Greetings, Boomer!¬† I was looking for information on long-term care insurance and found myself on the National Institute of Health’s website.¬† (I need a life!) There I came across a study showing who gets denied long-term care insurance and why.¬†¬†

A¬†banker¬†is a fellow who lends you his¬†umbrella¬†when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.‚Ä̬† —¬† Mark Twain”

Mark Twain could have been talking about long-term care insurance companies instead of bankers.

The study I found looked at the insurance applications of nearly 16,000 people wanting long-term care coverage.   They noted who was rejected for coverage and why.  Their bottom line result was that 40% of the general population between age 50 and 71 can expect to get rejected! 

Can you imagine the national outrage if 40% of those wanting health or car insurance were rejected?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.¬† Let’s look at precisely what the researchers found and how it affects you, Boomer.¬†

Let’s start with the good news.¬†¬†

Enjoy alcohol?  Want long-term care insurance?  No problem!

Vintage black and white photo of a man and woman holding up their wine glasses and offering a toast.

Insurers were more likely to accept drinkers than non-drinkers for long-term care coverage.

Alcohol drinkers were more likely to be approved for coverage than were teetotalers.

The authors surmised that teetotalers may have had other medical issues that influenced their being rejected.¬† ¬†Presumed translation:¬† medication and alcohol did not mix well for those suffering one of the chronic conditions listed below.¬† As such, those folks didn’t drink.

That’s it!¬† Drinkers get accepted.¬† Here’s who doesn’t.

(More than ) 17 ways to get turned down for long-term care insurance

Had you been one of the nearly 16,000 people applying for long-term care insurance, you stood a good chance of being denied insurance if you: 

The word denied stenciled in red letters

Research suggests that 40% of the general population between 50 and 71 can expect to be denied long-term coverage for reasons shown at left.

  1. were over age 59;
  2. had no college education;
  3. were unemployed;
  4. had diabetes;
  5. had had a stroke;
  6. had back pain;
  7. had arthritis;
  8. had heart problems;
  9. had memory problems;
  10. had a psychiatric illness;
  11. had or currently have cancer;
  12. had difficulty taking medication;
  13. were, or currently are, a smoker;
  14. had ever needed long-term care in the past;
  15. were underweight (with a body mass index less than 18);
  16. were extremely obese (with a body mass index greater than 40); or
  17. required assistance with any one of the following: 
    1. bathing;
    2. dressing;
    3. eating;
    4. using the toilet; 
    5. maintaining continence; or 
    6. transferring (e,g, being able to get in and out of a bed or a chair without assistance).

What does this mean?

It means even if you want long-term care insurance, there’s a good chance you’ll be rejected!¬† As noted earlier, research suggests that¬†40% of the general population between age 50 and 71 can expect rejection.

Long-term care insurance and my big toe.

The research above agrees with my own inquiry into long-term care insurance.

caricature drawing of a giant big toe with smaller toes next to it.

I couldn’t get long-term care insurance until my big toe behaved.

As part of this series, I called insurance agents to get quotes.¬†¬†One agent asked if I was currently in physical therapy.¬† I said, “Yes.¬† It’s for my big toe.¬† I just had bunion surgery.¬† I’ll finish the therapy in four weeks.”

The agent informed me that I’d likely be rejected for coverage as long as I required physical therapy.¬†¬†

There was no discussion that I was routinely walking miles and miles on said big toe…nor my routine visits to the gym…nor my internist’s summation that I was one of his healthiest patients–(knock on wood).

Nope.  No dice.  Certain rejection due to a big toe!!!

Action steps.

Boomer, if you’re counting on buying long-term care insurance, be mindful of how insurance companies make underwriting decisions.¬† Insurers are not in business to lose money.¬† And neither are you.¬† Put your best toe–I mean foot–forward.

As discussed below, you’ve already:

More options are discussed in the long-term care series listed farther down this page.

In the meantime, take good care of yourself.  With any luck, it could reduce your long-term care costs to zero.

P.S.  Hey, Boomer!  If you think this post would help someone else, could you pass it along or post it on Facebook?  Thanks!  You rock!


Blog source:

Cornell, P.Y,¬†Grabowski, D.C,¬†Cohen, M,¬†Shi X,¬†Stevenson, D.G. ¬†‚ÄúMedical Underwriting in Long-Term Care Insurance:¬† Market Conditions Limit Options for Higher-risk Consumers.‚Ä̬†¬† U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, 2016.¬† —¬† (Also published in Health Affairs, Vol. 35, No. 8, pgs. 1494‚Äď1503, 2016.)

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