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Seniors and pre-retirees will be hurt by insurance premium hikes

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By The Staff

To the editor,

I know most insurance companies are reliable and that sometimes a reasonable increase in insurance premiums is justified. I don’t like when it happens, but I understand that it can happen. Even the most reasonable person would agree, however, that three increases over a six year period, cumulatively totaling over a 100 percent hike in premiums, would be unjustified, harmful and unconscionable. That is what is being done to thousands of seniors and pre-retirees in Kentucky who bought long term care insurance years ago.

I thought state insurance regulators were supposed to protect the people of Kentucky from such unscrupulous practices by carefully screening requests for rate increases. It is pretty clear, however, that the Kentucky Department of Insurance doesn’t see it that way. They apparently have never seen a rate increase that they didn’t like. Most long term care insurance companies have had just one, modest increase. Increases experienced by many Kentuckians are unjustified when compared with the rest of the industry. Why won’t the Insurance Commissioner and the Governor do what they are supposed to do?

Recently, state and federal officials have joined with financial planners in encouraging those approaching retirement to protect themselves from the ravages of an extended long term care need by buying insurance. Those of us who had the foresight to do just that need the Governor and state insurance regulators to stand up to those insurance companies that are attempting to rip-off seniors. Do your jobs instead of helping the bad apples in the insurance industry make more money at the expense of financially strapped retirees. If you don’t, all Kentucky taxpayers eventually will be paying for seniors forced into poverty after dropping their long term insurance plans.

Ishmael Hopkins,

President Harrison County

Retired Teachers Association