The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has adopted standards for long term care insurance policies under its new partnership program.

The program, which becomes effective July 29, applies to new and existing LTC policies that qualify under the state’s LTC partnership rules.

An LTC partnership program permits participants to use qualified LTC coverage to keep some or all of their assets in case they exhaust the private LTC benefits and end up needing Medicaid nursing home benefits.

Federal law once let only four states offer LTC partnership programs, but the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 gave all states permission to start partnership programs.

Insurers selling LTC policies that qualify for the Florida partnership program must notify all policyholders who purchased eligible LTC coverage on or after Mar. 1, 2003. The rules require the companies to explain the benefits of a partnership policy and offer Florida policy owners a chance to exchange their existing policy for one with partnership benefits, officials say.