An above-the-line deduction for long term care insurance premiums could help millions of middle-income Americans secure their finances in retirement, a Prudential Financial Inc. official told a Senate committee today.

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Aging, Malcolm Cheung, vice president and actuary of long term care insurance for Prudential, also urged Congress to act on several other legislative proposals currently under consideration.

He cited a provision in H.R. 2830, the Pension Protection Act, that would allow insurers to add an LTC insurance rider to an annuity, make clear individuals can buy policies that combine LTC and life insurance, and include LTC insurance contracts and riders among the insurance products that can be exchanged on a tax-deferred basis.

He also urged support for H.R. 2682, the Long Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 2005, which would provide individuals with an above-the-line tax deduction for LTC insurance premiums and allow employers to offer the insurance under cafeteria plans and flexible spending accounts.

“These are steps Congress could take to promote long term care insurance as a way for individuals to take responsibility for their retirement security,” Cheung testified.

LTC insurance can provide Americans with more choices for care, help assure superior care and protect their savings when they need assistance in the future, he said.

Cheung was also testifying on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, where he serves as chairman of its long term care policy committee.