NU Online News Service, April 1, 3:43 p.m. – John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, says its John Hancock Life Insurance Company unit is introducing two new long-term care insurance policies, the Essential Care policy and the Custom Care policy.

The Essential Care is a policy that provides solid, standardized, no-frills coverage at a relatively low cost, Hancock says.

The other policy, the Custom Care policy, includes a wide range of built-in features and options.

Built-in features include benefits to help customers stay in their own homes, such as help with paying for transportation to medical appointments and help with modifying homes to accommodate wheelchairs,

Optional features include a zero-day elimination period for home care, home care coverage for partners, and a feature called the FamilyCare Benefit that will allow a customer to cover as many as four relatives using the same policy.

A family could use the option to cover an unmarried partner, a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a grandparent, a grandchild, a step-parent, a step-child, or an in-law, Hancock says.

All covered relatives would have to be between the ages of 18 and 79.

A typical buyer might be an adult son who would buy a long-term care insurance policy for himself and his parents. If the parents didn’t use the benefits, the son could use the benefits, Hancock says.

Hancock says it introduced the benefit in part to give baby boomers an excuse to talk about the issue of long-term care with their parents.

Including four members in a single policy increases the likelihood that the policy will be used to about 90%, from about 44% for a policy that covers one person, Hancock says.

Hancock protects itself from the potential underwriting risk by factoring the ages of the family members into the cost of the coverage.

Hancock will be selling the Custom Care policy and the FamilyCare option through career agents and brokers, independent brokers, broker/dealers and banks.