7 On Your Side: Reading the Fine Print! - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/2/06-Athens

7 On Your Side: Reading the Fine Print!

Since 1999, Betty Hollowell says without fail she has made payments to a long-term care insurance policy she has with a reputable insurance company.

"[I pay] $165 dollars per month. It comes out of our checking account," says Betty.

Then this past April, her husband of 50 years began battling bone cancer, affecting his ability to walk or even lie down in a bed.

Betty filed a claim to the insurance policy for home healthcare service.

"When I did, I found out that we had this 30-day elimination period," says Betty.

We read the Elimination Period section of the policy. It does say before benefits begin, 30 days worth of covered services have to be satisfied.

Betty called the company for an explanation.

"This means working days, when you get service that's one day," she explains.

Betty would have to pay for 10 weeks of home health service to reach the 30-day period.

Researching further we found, elimination periods are not unusual when it comes to these type of policies. Some companies also call it a "retention."

There are options to have a zero-day elimination period but that would make the premium much higher.  You pay less per month getting it for 30, 60 or even 90 days.

"I would like for other people even considering buying a long-term insurance policy to know there are gaps and things they should look for," Betty advises.

Although she will come out of pocket more than $1,600, it's money well spent to get the care her husband cannot do without.

Betty does have the right to file a "proof of loss" claim for the services she's paid for. She told us that she's already done so.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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