Insurance firms pushing long-term health care plans
John Hancock and several other insurance companies are stepping up efforts to sell more long-term health-care policies, according to .
The Boston-based company introduced a package dubbed Leading Edge that makes the policies easier to understand and includes adjustments for inflation. Long-term health care insurance provides coverage for health care aides or extended stays in nursing homes and assisted living centers. A one-year stay in a nursing home can cost $74,000 – an amount that can quickly eat up a lifetime of savings.
The policies haven’t taken off yet because they can be complex and pricey. Also, many people assume the government programs Medicare or Medicaid will cover the costs of long-term care, although they generally don’t.
Philadelphia-based Lincoln Financial Group recently streamlined its long-term care package as well. The application process now takes 30-minutes over the phone instead of a week of mailing documents back and forth. The policy guarantees that premiums won’t ever change – a key promise as premium inflation has often kept customers away.
Other companies offering the products include Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., MetLife Inc. and MassMutual Financial Group.
Data suggests 25 to 50 percent of the elderly will need some form of long-term care. Experts recommend consumers who can afford the coverage get it – especially those who hope to bequeath money to their kids.
Long-term care policies can be expensive – between $1,500 and $6,000 per year if bought between the ages of 60 to 70. Buyers in their 40s can spend about $750 per year and lock in rates – but they’ll likely pay for decades before even thinking of using the benefits.
We called John Hancock to learn more about the marketing of these long-term health care products.
We learned that the decision-maker for marketing the long-term health care products is Laura Wooster, associate vice president of marketing for long-term care.
Policies are targeted at people with between $500,000 and $2 million in net assets. People with more than $2 million or more in assets can just pay for the cost of health care from their pockets.
According to The List database, Boston-Based Hill Holliday handles John Hancock’s print and television needs.
According Nielsen Monitor-Plus, John Hancock spends $11 million per year on measured marketing with nearly $7 million going to network television and $2.8 million going to cable TV.
Marketing long-term health care insurance is a tough sell. John Hancock and the other insurance companies need to convince potential buyers that the benefits of signing up (coverage against big health care bills) outweigh the negatives (paying thousands of dollars for decades without any return on investment). Ultimately, the long-term health care sales pitch is no different that any other insurance product. An awareness campaign about the devastating costs of a long-term nursing home stay should help sway the masses.
We’ve included contact information for both John Hancock and Lincoln National, but we’d suggest prospecting with all the big insurers if your agency can offer suggestions to sell long-term health care policies.
John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.
200 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116 USA
Associate Vice President of Marketing for Long-Term Care
Executive Vice President of Long Term Care
Lincoln National Corp.
1500 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102-2100
Communications Program Manager
Assistant Vice President of Marketing Communications