MetLife Inc. is trying to take the California long term care insurance benefits market to a new level.[@@]

MetLife, New York, says it has started offering LTC insurance benefits programs in California that qualify for certification from the California Partnership for Long Term Care.

Consumers who buy LTC policies certified by a state partnership and end up using up private LTC benefits can protect more assets than other consumers before qualifying for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

Employers can offer the MetLife/CPLTC program on either an employer-paid or a voluntary basis, MetLife says.

MetLife notes that 7.2% of adult California residents now have LTC coverage.