Empire State officials have come up with a long list of suggestions about ways to encourage affluent and middle-income consumers to prepare for long term care needs.

A new New York State Insurance Department LTC insurance options report includes a number of commonly proposed solutions, such as improving consumer education programs and encouraging the federal government to offer new tax breaks for consumers who buy LTC insurance.

But the authors of the report, which was prepared in response to a requirement in a 2004 state LTC financing statute, also include a number of other recommendations that could lead to dramatic changes in LTC insurance products and programs.

“Consider providing a minimum amount of long term care coverage to all New Yorkers,” the officials write.

The state could look into the possibility of working with insurers to provide a minimal amount of LTC coverage for all adult state residents through an actuarially sound financing program, the officials write.

The officials also recommend that officials work with insurers to develop an LTC financing program for residents who already have medical problems and have good reason to believe they will need nursing home care, home care or other long term care.

But the officials acknowledge the importance of protecting insurers against the damage that might be caused by ignoring underwriting reality.

“We cannot simply mandate that long term care insurers extend coverage to those with health conditions given that such a mandate could impact the viability of the product and the financial stability of the company,” the officials write.

New York might be able to get around that problem by encouraging insurers to offer limited-benefit LTC products for consumers with pre-existing conditions, the officials write.

The officials say the state also could expand access to affordable LTC insurance products by encouraging insurers to offer nursing-home-only or home-care-only policies; spurring insurers to offer coverage with exclusions for pre-existing conditions; and pushing insurers to add LTC benefits riders and accelerated benefit payment riders with LTC triggers to life and disability policies.

The officials also recommend that the federal government consider creating a tax break for adults who pay for coverage for parents who are not dependents.

“This investment can protect an adult child’s future inheritance or assist them in preparing for anticipated care giving responsibilities,” the officials write.

A copy of the report is on the Web at Document Link