In the coming weeks, many insurance heads will be weighing in on the latest Government Accountability Office report on long term care insurance covering LTC claims and rates.
It is clear that Congressional leaders will be using the findings in the report to justify probes into some “troubling issues” about LTC insurance they say the report identifies. For instance, Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “If the insurance industry is not up to the task of correcting these problems swiftly and treating vulnerable policyholders and their families fairly, then Congress will need to consider steps to ensure strong, uniform national standards.”
For the industry, hearing such warnings can be more than a little vexing, especially since providers, distributors and regulators have spent the last several years strengthening LTC insurance standards and practices. Indeed, in recent years, most industry leaders have felt the business is now operating on the firmest footing ever.
The GAO report does acknowledge improvements. For instance, it gives a capsule summary of year 2000 revisions to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model regulation on LTCI. As LTC professionals know, these revisions were implemented to improve LTC rate stability and related consumer concerns.
However, while recognizing those changes, the GAO report also dings their implementation, bringing their effectiveness into question. One example:
“Although a growing number of consumers will be protected by the more comprehensive standards going forward,” the report says, “as of 2006, many consumers had policies that were not protected by these standards.”