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Could A New Alzheimer’s Test Kill Long-Term Care Insurance— Or Make It Cheaper?

Recently news broke about a team of researchers at Georgetown University and six other medical centers that has developed a simple blood test to determine if someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease within 2-3 years.  While this is exciting news, it could have a lasting impact on long-term care insurance.

Americans are used to getting long-term care insurance policies without the knowledge of whether or not they are predisposed to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.  However, what if insurance providers knew that someone who is applying for a policy is more than likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within the next few years?  According to the article recently appearing in Forbes magazine, one insurance actuary said, “It would be a huge game changer.”

The idea is that if you know you’re certain to develop a particular memory impairing disease, you are highly likely to purchase a long-term care insurance policy.   However, if insurers know the test results, they would almost certainly deny coverage or charge you a significantly higher premium than someone else without the same diagnosis.

Forbes continues by indicating that even if insurers didn’t know the results of this test, the assumption is someone who is applying for a long-term care insurance policy did indeed test positive.  This is the classic insurance “death spiral” causing bloated premiums for everyone.

More research needs to be done on these simple tests to determine such a life-altering diagnosis.  However, long-term care policies almost certainly would be affected.  To read more on this story please click here.

 

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