Florida insurance regulators say they want to create a standard package of long term care insurance benefits.

The state Office of Insurance Regulation has included passage of a bill that would include a standard LTC benefit policy on its list of 2006 legislative priorities.

“Currently, insurers offer many different features and policy structures for long term care coverage that often make it difficult for applicants to shop and compare prices,” officials write in a description of the proposed bill.

Creating a standard LTC benefits package should help applicants shop for coverage, officials say.

Officials also want to protect LTC insureds who are stranded in “closed blocks of business.” Closed blocks often have high claims rates, and holders of policies in those blocks who have not yet filed claims may have health problems that make it difficult for them to find new policies, officials say.

Some insurers have asked for permission to quadruple rates for LTC insureds holding policies in the closed LTC blocks, officials say.

The proposed Florida LTC bill would include a section that would give policyholders affected by the rate increases a chance to choose between paying less for a reduced amount of coverage or taking away a paid-up policy with a value equal to the sum of all premiums paid during the life of the policy, officials say.

A copy of the Florida legislative priorities summary is on the Web at Document Link