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Talk to the Commissioners

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Arthur Stein, a planner from Bethesda, Maryland specializing in long-term care insurance, had this to say about the problem of the “bad apples” in the LTCI barrel: “They were the companies that were consistently raising premiums on policyholders and doing it over a long period of time; disadvantaging people on the claims side, too. Why are we surprised at that?” He suggests that the complexity of LTC insurance is one reason it is regarded with such frustration, since there are so many options that it’s difficult for consumers to sort them out.

But he also points out that insurance commissioners in every state have the responsibility to look at a pattern of trouble in a company’s business practices. Citing the practice of constant and substantial rate increases on the part of some companies, he asks, “Why did the commissioners allow them to do that?” It was a business strategy, he says, and the state commissioners should have better protected the people of their states and denied those increases.

Regulators have defended their record, and are promising to further pursue investigations into consumer complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners said it will review allegations through its senior issues task force, and review its Long-Term Care Insurance model act.