Senators Scrutinize Alzheimer’s, Long-Term Care Insurance Provides Solutions

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of long-term care insurance claims. Currently an estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to increase to 14 million by 2050. Today, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Health Care chaired by Sen. Pat Toomey held a hearing titled “Alzheimer’s Awareness: Barriers to Diagnosis, Treatment and Care Coordination.”  Sen. Toomey has a proposal to help families pay for long-term care insurance. In a statement for the hearing record, American Council of Life Insurers President and CEO Susan Neely and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors CEO … Continue reading "Senators Scrutinize Alzheimer’s, Long-Term Care Insurance Provides Solutions"

More Seniors are in Debt: An Unintended Consequence of Low Interest Rates

When interest rates are especially low—like today—Americans have a greater incentive to borrow and spend. The reasons are many. Buy a car, a home or a new appliance. Americans also borrow to pursue more education or take a vacation. All this contributes to a growing economy.  From the 1980s until about 2010, interest rates were on a downward trend. Since 2010 they’ve remained historically low. For example, in 1989 the interest rate on 24-month personal loans in the United States averaged 15.4%. 48-month auto loans averaged 12.1%, and the bank prime rate averaged 10.9% (see figure 1).  By 2016 these rates … Continue reading "More Seniors are in Debt: An Unintended Consequence of Low Interest Rates"

Best Interest Standards Comprehensively Protect Consumers

Life insurers strongly support protections serving the best interests of customers, which can be meaningfully safeguarded with disclosure about services and material conflicts of interest. This approach provides an effective means to shield consumers and facilitate informed purchase decisions. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and Form CRS provide this degree of meaningful consumer protection. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has worked closely with the SEC to develop parallel protections for annuities, which guarantee lifetime income. With this, consumers will have uniform state and federal standards. In addition to the significant protections of … Continue reading "Best Interest Standards Comprehensively Protect Consumers"

House Committee Seeks Care Solutions for Aging Americans

More than 43.5 million family caregivers provide unpaid care annually to adults at any given point in time. Health insurance seldom pays for long-term care services and the government provides only limited coverage through Medicare and Medicaid. Many people are unable to save enough on their own to cover the costs of long-term care. Today, the median cost of a one-year stay in a nursing home is $102,200 for a private room. Home care is less expensive but still costly: a visit by a home health aide can cost $4,385 a month. This growing problem has caught Congress’ attention. The … Continue reading "House Committee Seeks Care Solutions for Aging Americans"

Senate Passage of SECURE Act Would Help Gold Star Families and All Americans

Every November 11 on Veterans Day, the United States proudly honors the brave men and women who served in our armed forces.  We also honor their families, for the many sacrifices and hardships they endured while their loved ones protected our nation. These heroes and their families deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. Instead, some survivors of fallen U.S. troops are facing an undeserved tax burden. The 2017 federal tax reform law unintentionally changed the tax rules for children of U.S. military members who died on duty. Consequently, an estimated 18,000 Gold Star families watched the tax bill on their … Continue reading "Senate Passage of SECURE Act Would Help Gold Star Families and All Americans"

An Opening for Open MEPS?

Too many Americans lack access to a workplace retirement savings plan. Open multiple employer plans (known as open MEPs) are one great solution to expanding retirement plan access.  The concept is simple – let unrelated employers band together to offer a common retirement plan to their employees.   MEPs are not a new concept. But they’re currently “closed” – that is, generally limited to employers who have some relationship to each other.   Opening up MEPs to any employer is a perfect solution for small employers who don’t have a retirement plan nor a “relationship” with other businesses. And expanding access … Continue reading "An Opening for Open MEPS?"

Financial Advisors from 50 States Urge Senate to Pass SECURE Act

A well-known national motto e pluribus unum or “out of many, one” is a powerful statement of our strength as a unified nation. It reminds us that our country is greater than the sum of its parts and appears on the Great Seal of the United States, as well as most U.S. currency. This isn’t just a high-minded idea. It also illustrates how individuals in the real world come together for a common purpose in our democracy. And that’s just what’s happening today. This morning, financial advisors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia urged U.S. Senate leadership to pass the … Continue reading "Financial Advisors from 50 States Urge Senate to Pass SECURE Act"