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A Hummel Report Investigation

Where's the State?

With a rapidly increasing elderly population, Rhode Island has many residents exploring insurance options for long-term in-home or nursing home care. This week: the story of one couple whose unexpected skyrocketing insurance premiums have them asking: Where are the state regulators? Jim Hummel goes to the new director of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation for some answers.

For DBR's suggestions about long-term healthcare click here.

SCRIPT

Hummel: With a rapidly increasing elderly population, Rhode Island has many residents exploring options for long-term medical care.This week: the story of one couple whose skyrocketing insurance premiums have them asking: Where are the state regulators?
Theriualt: ``It was something we were looking forward to getting our retirement set up and it was a nice piece of the retirement puzzle, so we decided to take it out.’’
The `it’, for Ray and Elaine Theriault, was a long-term insurance policy from Genworth Insurance they first took out 15 years ago. Like many companies Genworth talks in its literature about how insurance can protect assets against exorbitant nursing home bills.
Elaine’s family has a history of the women living long lives, so the couple took out an unlimited nursing home care policy for her - and four years of coverage for Ray. It seemed like a reasonable deal at the time back in the late 1990s.
Theriault: ``A couple of years ago we had an increase of about maybe $100 or $120 and that there got my attention so I called them. They said it’s increases due to this and that for the longterm care. I felt I could manage it.’’
But last fall the company notified them that Elaine’s semi-annual payment was increasing from $692 to $1,231 - a 78 percent increase; and Ray’s from $490 to $800, a 63 percent increase. The news came with a 60-day notice to pay.
Theriault: ``It’s a chunk of change, so I had to do some restructuring ‘cause I had to pay the last one, had to do some restructuring of my finances in order to meet that because it was unexpected, and obviously we had to do some restructuring for our future.’’

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