- Call you States Department of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner
A state insurance department is a state government organization that enforces insurance laws. These departments exist to protect insurance policyholders from fraud or other unlawful actions. They are in charge of promoting public welfare and interests of consumers by regulating the licensing and activities of insurers, producers, and others who have transactions in insurance.
- Ask for Consumers Assistance
The Consumer Assistance Program Grants (CAP Grants) provide the resources necessary to help educate and provide accurate information to consumers who are making difficult health care decisions.
- Request data from long term care insurance companies in your state
Most states require insurance companies and or agents to provide you with a “Shopper’s Guide” to help you understand long-term care insurance and decide which, if any, policy to purchase. Some states directly produce their own shopper’s guides.
- Ask an agent to obtain the company’s AM Best Rating
AM Best rating system focuses on an insurer’s claims-paying ability and the credit quality of its obligations. Consumers will often refer to AM Best credit ratings to check on the financial stability and reputation of an insurance company before purchasing any of their insurance products. You do not usually want to sign with a company that has a lower rating such as a B+ or lower unless you are in less than perfect health. Health complications can prevent you from coverage with a higher rated company.
- Visit the Department of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner in person
You can locate the address of your local Department of Insurance building by google or by visiting your local post office and asking them. Sometimes it is better to go directly to the source of the information then trying to get ahold of them by the phone. Office hours are typically eight
or nine in the morning until five in the evening, Mondays through Fridays. You can typically walk in and ask directly for the “Ratings Logs” to determine if a company has raised its rates and by how much and how many times they’ve done so. Increasing rates would be a red flag for any company.
- Public library history files and information.
Your local library will also have any public records on this kind of material on file either in a computer system or on paper. If you have a library card for your local library then you can walk in and ask for any state and county information and anything public the local library should have readily available to check out. You can sit there and go over the information in a controlled, quiet environment. Some books to ask for specifically are the AM Best, Weiss Research, S&P and Moody’s for long term care insurance company ratings.
Doing research before investing is an important step, maybe the most important. Long term care insurance is just as it sounds. A long term investment commitment. Although there are options that allow you to pay a large lump sum, many people choose to pay smaller premiums over a certain period of time instead. You do not want to be making payments to a company for 2, 3 or even 6 years if the company is known for not paying out your money when you need it. Do your diligence and study the facts available to you before signing anything that may present you from receiving a better policy.