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Sharp increases in rate requests for long-term care insurance are raising the chances that the next wave of retirees may not be able to afford coverage for assisted living, nursing homes, and related health services.
Since early 2012, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance has regularly approved premium increases of about 10 percent for the insurance, which was introduced as a hedge against the high costs of nursing care. Regulators are reviewing requests by some companies to nearly double their rates — potentially increasing premiums by thousands of dollars a year.
For many retirees, the increases are hitting as they come closer to needing the care, leaving them with the choice of devoting more of fixed incomes to the insurance, reducing benefits, or dropping the coverage.