WASHINGTON BUREAU — The head of a long term care insurance trade group says industry participants should act quickly to explain the weaknesses of a proposed federal LTC program.
The private LTC insurance industry already can provide better coverage for a lower cost, says Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, Westlake Village, Calif.
On the Internet, “millions of people will read that President Obama supports a federal LTC plan and will say ‘I’ll wait,’” Slome says.
But “this is no time for the industry to be silent,” Slome says. “This is a time for the industry to speak out because we have over 8 million policyholders and several hundred thousand people who buy insurance every year and tens of thousands of insurance agents who also want to know what the future means for them.”
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Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has put the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act, proposal in Section 191 of the Affordable Health Choices Act, the Kennedy-Dodd health bill draft.
The CLASS Act proposal would create an optional LTC program that would pay a minimum benefit of $50 per day. To qualify for benefits, an enrollee would have to pay premiums for at least 5 years. A successful claimant would have to be unable to perform “at least 2 or 3 activities of daily living,” drafters say. Workers who wanted to avoid paying the premiums could opt out of the program.
The average premium would be limited to $65 per month in 2011 and indexed for inflation in later years.