A state best known for potatoes and ski slopes is putting the finishing touches on an effort to encourage consumers to protect themselves against the cost of long term care.

Idaho officials are developing the disclosures and sending out the notices necessary to implement their state’s long term care partnership program, which is set to start up this month.

Congress once limited participation in the program to 4 state pilot programs, but it recently agreed to let all states participate.

The program gives states the ability to let residents coordinate approved private LTC insurance policies with Medicaid nursing home benefits.

The program helps the unlucky consumers who use up private LTC benefits protect some of their assets if they end up needing Medicaid nursing home benefits.

In Idaho, program participants who end up turning to Medicaid will be able to keep assets with a value equal to the partnership LTC policy benefit payments, according to a notice issued by the Idaho Department of Insurance.

One notice, Bulletin Number 06-6, advises insurers selling LTC insurance in Idaho that they must start including a notice describing the partnership program in all LTC insurance policies sold in the state, including non-partnership program policies.

The department has posted the disclosure on its Web site, at Document Link

“At a minimum, the required notice must appear before the policy terms,” according to department officials.

In addition, insurers that sell partnership policies must file the policies with the Idaho department, officials say.

Insurers must add the required notice to LTC insurance policies offered for sale in Idaho by Dec. 6, officials say.

The department also has posted a partnership program compliance certification form on its Web site.

“The department may rely on the certification in determining whether a policy qualifies as a partnership policy,” officials say. “Therefore it is essential that the issuer certification form be filled out completely and accurately. False or inaccurate information may result in disapproval of a policy and possible administrative sanctions.”

Insurers also can file compliance certification forms for previously filed policies that comply with partnership program requirements, officials say.

In another notice, Bulletin Number 06-5, officials say insurance producers who want sell partnership program coverage immediately must complete a one-time, 8-hour training program by Nov. 1, 2007.

Partnership program producers must get at least 4 hours of refresher training every 24 months, officials say.

“The satisfaction of these training requirements in any state will be deemed to satisfy the training requirements in Idaho,” officials say.

Links to the bulletins are on the Web at Document Link