NU Online News Service, Feb. 13, 12:10 p.m. – Long Term Care Partners, L.L.C., San Antonio, Texas, announced today that almost 265,000 federal employees have applied for insurance under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program, created in 2000 by Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Long Term Care Partners is a joint partnership of John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston, and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York.

When underwriting is complete on all open-season applicants by early spring, the program is expected to be the largest employer-sponsored long-term care insurance program in the country, with more than 215,000 enrollees, LTC Partners says.

To date, enrollees in the program are nearly evenly split between two groups: active employees and members of the uniformed services, and their spouses; and annuitants, their spouses and other qualified relatives.

Approved applicants are 54% female and 46% male. The average age of an active civilian enrollee in the program is 51, while the average age of an active uniformed services enrollee is 45. The average age of a civilian or postal annuitant in the program is 65; the average age of a retired uniformed services enrollee in the program is 63.

Nearly 70% of the group opted for one of four packaged plans. The most popular is the Comprehensive 100 Plan with an automatic compound inflation option, offering a $100 daily benefit amount, a three-year benefit period and a 90-day waiting period. Overall, nearly 70% of the group chose the automatic compound inflation option, one of the highest take-up rates in the employer market.

The annualized premium for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is projected to be more than $250 million, significantly higher than most programs on a per-enrollee basis. This is largely attributable to three factors: no upper age limitation, a larger proportion of older enrollees (e.g., Federal retirees) than most employer group programs and success in promoting the selection of automatic inflation protection, LTC Partners says.