Back in 1996, Monterey resident Janice O’Brien, then 75, began paying almost $5,000 per year for long-term care insurance. Her idea was that should she ever need them, per-diem payments from the Continental Casualty Co. policy would prevent her ever becoming a burden to her seven children.
It hasn’t exactly worked out that way for Mrs. O’Brien, a past president of the League of Women Voters of the Monterey Peninsula, one of whose sons, Pete O’Brien, played first base for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians for 11 seasons.
Her case and the lawsuit her family filed over it serve as a cautionary tale for policy buyers, but a large judgment or settlement might also be a warning to recalcitrant insurance companies.
Now almost 92, Mrs. O’Brien began sensing signs of dementia in 2011 and she, her children and doctors determined she should no longer live alone. She also had frequent dizziness, interfering with her mobility, and needed help doling out her medications, getting to the toilet and bathing. All of those are among the criteria for payouts from long-term care insurance policies...