Early Enrollment Period Begins For Federal LTCI Program
An early enrollment period began March 25 for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program offered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
The program, offered to federal and postal employees and annuitants, members and retired members of the uniformed services and qualified relatives, is underwritten by Long Term Care Partners, a joint venture between John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, and MetLife Inc., New York.
The early enrollment period, which runs until May 15, is designed for people already familiar with long term care insurance who want information about the rates and features of the federal program.
Many long term care insurance brokers and carriers not involved with the government program have welcomed the federal program, contending that the marketing push behind it will boost the credibility and visibility of all long term care insurance products.
Arthur Stein, a long term care insurance specialist with Cassaday & Company Inc., McLean, Va., agrees that the program will have a positive effect on the industry in general. But he also feels that while it is beneficial to some federal employees and their spouses, others might find policies more suitable to their needs in the private sector market.
Before buying a policy, a potential enrollee should “do an apples-to-apples comparison,” Stein says.
Enrollees should understand, for instance, that the new federal program is not using a uniform approach to pricing.
Instead, calculations of premiums take into account the enrollees age and the benefit period, waiting period and inflation protection option chosen.
“Benefit period” refers to the length of time benefits will last if the policyholder receives care every single day at a cost equal to or more than the daily benefit amount, according to the section of the Office of Personnel Management Web site– www.opm.gov/insure/ltc–that explains this program.