Monday, February 9, 2004

CHICAGO (September 2, 2004) - Commenting on the recent departure from the long-term care insurance market of Aegon and the recent spate of consolidations among insurers, William B. Prouty, head of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, says his company, which focuses exclusively on the insurance needs of seniors, is in the market to stay.

Bankers, one of the largest and oldest providers of long-term care insurance (LTCI) in the industry, sees its role as a leader in championing LTCI as a common sense solution to the escalating cost of long-term care. "There is no more important component of the average person's long range financial plan than long-term care insurance," said Prouty.

Soaring health care costs, the looming retirement of a record 78 million Americans, increased life expectancy, and the fear that Medicare and Medicaid will be dangerously strained under the demands from the Baby Boom generation, make LTCI a logical option for seniors who worry about placing a burden on family. America's Health Insurance Plans (formerly the Health Insurance Association of America) reports in its 2003 publication, A Guide to LTC, that at least 40 percent of the population age 65 will need nursing home care at some point in their lifetimes. The same publication reports that the average cost of care in a nursing home can be more than $50,000 annually and, in some regions, can be double that amount.

This is an enormous financial burden, and one that many seniors mistakenly believe will be covered by Medicare. In fact, Medicare may not cover home health care, nursing home care or the type of care one may need for a severe cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's disease. Purchasers should look for LTCI policies that cover home health care costs, adult day care and assisted living, among other costs.

"Without appropriate financial planning, seniors or their children may have to bear the burden for their own long-term care costs, resulting in seniors using up their lifetime savings or turning to family members for assistance," said Prouty. "It is our mission to provide seniors with the assurance that their healthcare needs are covered and their legacy will be preserved."

Established in 1879 and headquartered at the historic Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses exclusively on the financial security needs of seniors. The company offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and retirement savings products designed especially for seniors. These products are distributed through a national network of professionally trained company agents. Visit us online at www.bankers.com.

Contact: Linda Heacox