Beginning on September 1 this year, the new long-term care insurance provider for the Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) switched from Aetna to Genworth. During open enrollment from September 15 – November 15 this year, teachers will have the option to sign up for this insurance. If you’re thinking about getting long-term care insurance anytime soon, now is the time to take action while you have the greatest number of options.
How do you know if the TRS Genworth group option is right for you?
The first thing to do is to get a quote for the TRS group policy through the Genworth website. To do this, go to www.genworth.com/groupltc For active employees, the group ID is TRS. For retirees, the group ID is TRSRetiree. The access code for both is groupltc.
After you’ve received your quote, you’ll want to go out and shop for individual quotes. Some of the companies in addition to Genworth offering long-term care insurance are John Hancock, MetLife, Prudential, Mass Mutual, Berkshire, and New York Life. You’ll want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, so print out the options you selected for the Genworth TRS policy to show to your insurance agent.
If you want an objective second opinion on when you should get long-term care insurance or the “right” amount of long-term care coverage to purchase for your situation, that’s something an independent financial planner like myself can help with.
If you find that the Genworth group TRS program is providing the best pricing and benefits for you, then it’s easy. You’ll want to go ahead and sign up if you’ve decided now is the right time for you to get long-term care insurance.
If you find an individual option could provide superior benefits at the same cost or comparable benefits at a lower cost, you’ll have some additional work to do. You need to go through under-writing and make sure you qualify. You will need to answer some health questions and possibly have an exam. This process can take some time, so you should start now. Only after you’ve been offered coverage through the other company can you really make a decision about which option to choose.
If you’re declined by the other company — good news — you still have the TRS group option. During the initial enrollment period, Genworth is providing a coverage guarantee to active employees. The coverage guarantee is why it’s so important to investigate this group option now if you have any health issues that may prevent coverage on an individual policy. According to the Genworth website, “During your enrollment period, if you are an actively at work employee on the day you apply, and on the day your coverage becomes effective, your coverage is guaranteed without answering any health questions. Also, during this time your spouse will have streamlined underwriting which limits the health questions they´ll have to answer. If you decide to apply after the enrollment period, you will be required to complete a full health questionnaire and go through underwriting. There is a chance that a health condition may prevent you from qualifying for coverage.”
Just to give you one example of this process, I compared the TRS group option for one couple. In this couple’s particular situation, the couple’s group coverage through TRS was going to cost slightly more than purchasing a comparable individual policy through Genworth directly, about the same as through MetLife, and a little less than through John Hancock.
Also of note, in the 3 individual quotes received, the prices were based on 100% of the maximum daily benefit being available for home healthcare vs. 75% for the Genworth group policy. 75% may be enough because home healthcare can be less costly than skilled nursing care. But if you can get 100% for the same or less premium — all other things being equal — it’s definitely the smart move.
In addition to price and features, it’s important to look at the ratings of the insurer, claims-paying experience of policyholders, and length of time the company has been in the long-term care arena. For this couple, it made more sense to go with one of the individual options. However, if they had health issues that would have kept them from qualifying for the individual policy, taking advantage of the TRS group policy during this initial enrollment period would have been a wonderful opportunity. It’s also important to note that everyone’s situation is different, so you need to complete this process for yourself.
Bottom line: if you’re thinking about getting long-term care insurance anytime soon, now is the time to take action while you have the greatest number of options.
For more information on making this decision, you can visit these links:
My blog post on 5 claims to watch out for in Long Term Care Insurance
My blog post Long Term Care is a Women’s Issue