Members of the Florida House and Senate have voted unanimously to approve a bill that could require insurers to offer a contingent benefit to Florida long term care insurance policyholders.

The contingent benefit provision of the bill, H.B. 947, would require insurers to pay a contingent benefit similar to the benefit described in the Long-Term Care Insurance Model Regulation approved by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., in 2000.

H.B. 947 also could create a 2-year incontestability period, or limit on challenges to claims, for LTC policies, and it would establish a Long-Term Care Partnership program.

The partnership program would encourage state residents to buy private LTC insurance by permitting them to keep more personal assets when applying for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

LTC policyholders would be able to protect an amount of personal assets equal to the private LTC policy benefits, Florida officials say.

The Florida House has approved the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, Fla., 114-0, and the state Senate has approved the bill 38-0, officials say.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, now must decide whether to sign the bill.

A link to more information about the bill is on the Web at Document Link