The Empire State wants to add 3 new plan design options to its long term care insurance promotion program.[@@]

The program, the New York State Partnership for Long Term Care, encourages New York residents to buy LTC insurance by coordinating private LTC benefits with Medicaid LTC benefits.

If consumers buy LTC insurance through the program and use up their private coverage, New York will let them tap Medicaid LTC benefits without first requiring them to use up their assets.

The current plan, dubbed the “3/6/50″ plan, provides coverage for 3 years for nursing home benefits, or 6 years for home care benefits at half the nursing home benefit rate, according to a regulatory impact statement released by the New York State Insurance Department.

The department hopes to add a richer plan, the 4/4/100 plan, that would cover the cost of 4 years of nursing home care, and 2 cheaper plans, the 1.5/3/50 plan and the 2/2/100 plan. The 1.5/3/50 plan would cover 18 months of nursing home care, and the 2/2/100 plan would cover 2 years of nursing home care. Both of the cheaper plans would require insureds to spend some of their own assets on long term care before applying for Medicaid LTC benefits.

The insurers that participate in the LTC partnership program helped design the new plans, according to New York insurance regulators.

Attracting more consumers to the program with the cheaper plans and the richer plan “will result in an introduction of private dollars into New York’s health care system along with savings to the state Medicaid program,” regulators write in the regulatory impact statement.

Public comments on the new plan designs are due within 45 days.

Links to the text of the proposed regulation and the regulatory impact statement are on the Web at http://www.ins.state.ny.us/rproindx.htm