NU Online News Service, June 11, 2003, 6:02 p.m. EDT — Washington

The insurance industry joined members of Congress today in a major public effort to promote an above-the-line tax deduction for long-term care insurance.

The effort was tied to Father’s Day and the release of a new study sponsored by MetLife Inc., New York, showing that men are just as likely as women to be the primary caregivers for relatives in need of chronic care.

The public event at the Capitol Building urged support for H.R. 2096, the Long-Term Care Retirement Security Act, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., and Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.

The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, and the Health Insurance Association of America, Washington, joined in supporting the event.

“Men are the silent caregivers in this crisis,” Johnson said. “While the huge contributions of mothers and daughters to their families in this regard has long been recognized, we cannot ignore that working men are caregivers who also want to assure the financial security of their families.”

Pomeroy added that while nearly everyone should have LTC insurance, virtually no one does.

“Father’s Day should give us pause to consider how we are going to take care of our loved ones as they age,” he said.

In addition to providing an above-the-line deduction for LTC insurance, H.R. 2096 would provide a $3,000 tax credit for the caregiver or the person needing care.

An above-the-line deduction is one that is available to all taxpayers, whether or not they itemize.

According to the MetLife study, which was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, Bethesda, Md., and Towson University’s Center for Productive Aging, men are taking responsibility for the same everyday tasks as women, including managing medications, grocery shopping and transportation.

In addition, the report says that the majority of both male and female caregivers said they had modified their work schedules and missed some work as a result of caregiving.

Nearly 25% of both male and female caregivers said they had considered changing jobs due to the demands of caregiving, the report says.