Consumer Rep Responds To Reader On LTC Issues
To The Editor:
The April 21 letter written in response to your March 24 article, “Market Changes Pushing Update of LTC Model Act,” demonstrates a less than firm grasp of the issues. The Long Term Care Insurance Working Group of the NAIC Senior Issues Task Force was established to address the concerns of a number of people and the need to update the model.
One of my concerns was in regard to definitional differences in benefits for assisted living from one state to another. This has nothing to do with “core benefits” offered by companies in most states. But it has everything to do with whether a consumer can use those benefits when they are purchased in one state and used in another. Assisted living in particular is organized, licensed and delivered differently in many states. A benefit for assisted living contained in a policy issued in one state may not meet the definitions for assisted living in a different state.
Agent training and licensing is an issue that has been raised over many years by AARP, other consumer representatives and me. I am certain the letter writer has been exposed to both high quality and subpar training courses over the years. Having reviewed some of those courses in the past for our insurance department, I certainly have seen a wide spectrum of such courses. I dont think its unreasonable to ask the working group to consider whether to establish some standards for these courses to help guide states that have less experience with this product than the states represented on the Senior Issues Task Force.
The fact that no training is required for the sale of annuities does not bolster the argument that none is needed for LTC insurance but exposes yet another danger for consumers.
I disagree that agents who are not high caliber quickly fade away, and I think some state insurance departments will agree with me. LTCI is definitely not a quick sale for responsible agents, but it can be an easier sale for some who are poorly trained and dont understand the complexities of the issue or the product they are selling.