Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will start a new company that will offer long term care insurance policies beginning in July 2009 and concentrate on providing long-term care services to individuals.
The individual policies would include coverage for assisted living and nursing care but there would be no group coverage products available.
CHRONIC ILLNESSES CAN BE COVERED BY LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
Unlike traditional medical insurance coverage, long term care coverage helps patients address chronic illnesses and disabilities that employer policies and Medicare don't cover. They usually include meals and help with daily activities such as bathing and getting dressed. This will help protect them as the average cost of nursing home care is more than $50,000 a year, according to the AARP.
U.S. Census data suggest that the population of people 65 and older will double to more than 70 million by 2030. Meanwhile the average growth in the number of long term care policies has been 18% a year.
COMPANY WILL GO NATIONAL WITH ITS LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
The new company expects to have 12 employees the first year and expects to expand its long term care business to other states.
Currently, there are about 100 insurance companies, across the nation that sell long term health insurance products. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which provides health care benefits to 4.7 million members, will be the sole investor in the newly formed company.
"What you will see, traditionally, is that there have been several companies that offer such products," said Mohit Ghose, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, a Washington, D.C. based healthcare association representing 1,300 member insurance companies. "I think more choice for consumers is always a good thing."