I was on vacation recently where the only newspaper in town was USA Today. While it is not on my normal daily reading list, it had a disturbing article on long term care insurance denials. This article reinforces the findings of a New York Times article last March detailing the abuses of long term care insurance companies like Conseco, John Hancock, Bankers Life and Penn Treaty. Quoting from the article, "delays, premium increases and denials of payment make the enormous investment in long-term care policies all but worthless". The article then goes on to relate some long term care insurance denial horror stories.
When Paula Johnson’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she thought the long-term care policies she and her husband bought would protect them from financial ruin. Unfortunately, in her time of need, the insurance company the insurance company threw up all the same road blocks attorneys frequently see in long term disability claims. "Having a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s from the Mayo Clinic should be a slam-dunk, but still I fought and struggled and begged and pleaded and cried to get the claims paid", said Johnson. "It was if they were torturing me".
Bottom Line – as long term disability attorneys have known for some time, some insurance companies use their claims departments as profit centers. Who is more vulnerable than an elderly and infirm policyholder facing needless procedural road blocks. It is a sad truth that many die before the fight with the insurance company is over. Thankfully, a small cadre of consumer oriented LTD lawyers like myself are starting to pick up the long-term care insurance fight for angry policyholders across the country. As we see more egregious and unfair denials, we will report them here.