Q. I know that the long-term care insurance premiums that are made available to federal employees could rise, as they did a few years ago. I thought, however, that the rates would always be the same for all federal employees who obtain that insurance. One of your columns seems to suggest that the insurance company can raise my individual rates as I get older. Is that true if I am a federal employee? Maybe you mean that once I am retired, the company can raise my individual rates, even though the company cannot raise my rates individually as long as I am employed? Maybe retirees do not have the same protection from such rate raises as employees.
This is not part of your column, but perhaps you know the answer to a related question. When I retire, I will likely elect to get Medicare Part B and a supplemental policy. I am considering keeping my federal health care policy to act as the supplement. I know that will be expensive initially, compared to other supplemental policies, but I understand that once I have a major problem, the other private policies are likely to raise their rates on me rapidly. I am assuming, as I have with respect to the LTC rates, that my federal health care premiums would remain the same as every federal employee’s, even if I have major problems at age 80. Am I wrong in that assumption?
A. The premiums for your federal long-term care insurance and your Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance can increase, without limit, in the future, and without your consent. They can’t single you out individually, but they can raise premiums for everyone your age. Given the amount of money you are spending, I encourage you to carefully read the policies or certificates of coverage and clearly understand what the terms and risks associated with them.