NU Online News Service, April 4, 2003, 11:55 a.m. EST – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has started a three-month open-enrollment period for its self-funded long-term care coverage program.

The program, which is open to California public employees, retirees and dependents, covers 171,500 enrollees and is one of the biggest group long-term care finance programs in the United States.

The application period began April 1 and will last until June 30.

This year, CalPERS is selling a Partnership plan, a Comprehensive plan and a Facilities-only plan.

The daily benefit options for the Partnership plan are $110, $130 and $150, and the daily benefit options for the other two plans are $110, $130, $150, $170 and $200.

For all three plans, the daily program payment for assisting living facilities will increase to 70% of the daily nursing home benefit, from 50% today.

The typical plan member is a 55-year-old employee who pays about $100 per month for Comprehensive plan coverage, CalPERS says.

The Comprehensive plan covers personal care, respite care, homemaker services, home health care, adult day care, assisted living care and nursing home care.

The Facilities-only plan covers only nursing home or assisted living care, and the Partnership plan combines comprehensive coverage and coordination with the California Medicaid program.

Some agents who sell private long-term care insurance in California have criticized the CalPERS program, arguing that the CalPERS program is not a true insurance plan and receives less regulatory oversight than a private long-term care insurance program would receive.