America’s Health Insurance Plans’ new ongoing training course for LTCI/LTC partnerships is rolling out! As we have been reporting, in many states the focus is now shifting to ongoing LTCI training, required by most states every two years after the initial training. AHIP has developed a four-hour course to meet this requirement and submitted it to the states for approval. We have already received approvals from 15 states and expect about 10 more in the next few weeks. This course is available on our Web site (www.LTCPartnershipsOnline.com), and classroom training is already being conducted in some states
AHIP’s ongoing training course not only provides a comprehensive review of LTCI and LTC partnerships, it brings agents up-to-date on new LTCI product features and designs, market trends, long-term care costs, and regulatory developments. This is the course to take for both a solid understanding of our field and an up-to-the-minute briefing on current trends.
In this article, we discuss the federal-state “Own Your Future” long-term care awareness campaign and the opportunity it offers to LTCI agents. And as always, we provide current information on the training requirements and regulatory developments in all 50 states.
A national long-term care awareness campaign
Many people don’t think about the possibility that they may need long-term care at some point, so they don’t take steps to prepare for it. But the more a person knows about long-term care, the likelihood of needing it, and how much it costs, the more likely he or she is to plan ahead. And this not only benefits the person and his or her family, it also has an impact on public policy. More people planning for LTC can mean more private financing and a reduced burden on public funding. This is especially critical to state governments at this time, given the serious budget and fiscal challenges they face.
The “Own Your Future” Long-Term Care Awareness Campaign (OYF) was created to address this situation. Its goal is to increase consumer knowledge and understanding and encourage planning. The campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and implemented by participating states. It is a unique partnership in which the federal and state governments join together to spread a consistent message about long-term care planning.
Now in its fifth year, the OYF campaign has reached over 20 million homes in 19 states. This summer Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa and Kentucky are joining the initiative.
A state campaign
What happens when a state conducts an “Own Your Future” campaign? It sends residents ages 45 to 65 materials designed, tested and approved by DHHS. These include a letter from the governor and a tri-fold brochure. The brochure explains how to order (by phone, mail or online) an easy-to-read Long-Term Care Planning Tool Kit.
The Tool Kit contains a 28-page brochure that describes long-term care and explains the value of planning (including possibly purchasing long-term care insurance), plus an audio CD with interviews of persons engaged in several different types of planning activities.
In some states, a follow-up postcard is sent. Also, a public service announcement is available that can be customized with an introductory message from a state’s governor.
What can agents do?
The OYF campaign educates consumers about various ways of planning for long-term care, but long-term care insurance is an important component, and this can have a positive impact on the efforts of LTCI agents. In past state campaigns, agents report that sitting down to chat with a prospect who has received OYF materials helps to speed up the learning curve and can be an important underpinning of a successful sale. What is especially important is that the groundwork education has been provided by a neutral and trusted source — the state and federal government.
In addition, a state campaign can be an opportunity for agents to follow up with existing clients and reach out to new ones. You can call or write prospects, tell them about the campaign, and encourage them to order the Planning Kit or download it at //www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/Planning_LTC/Campaign/Kit/index.aspx
The campaign also provides flyers that you can post or distribute at community meetings, and you can order copies of the brochure to give out. (Available, while supplies last, at //www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/Planning_LTC/Campaign/Bulk_Order.aspx)
Agents in states currently launching their campaigns (Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa and Kentucky) in particular should take note of and participate in this important initiative.
However, while the OYF campaign welcomes the involvement of agents and insurers in getting out the LTC planning message, it is critical that the campaign’s sponsorship not be confused or compromised. Agents need to be aware of the following requirements:
- In any communications you have with clients related to the OYF campaign, you must not confuse the consumer about the source of the message.
- You may not replicate the governor’s letter, and you may not distribute the letter as if it were coming to the consumer directly from the governor.
- You may not include the DHHS or other federal or state logos on your sponsored communications, and you may not attach private logos of any kind to the letter from the governor or any other OYF materials.
- You can encourage prospects to order the Planning Kit and follow up with them afterwards, but you cannot provide the kit to them directly.
Based on results to date, the “Own Your Future” campaign appears to be making a difference in raising awareness and encouraging people to begin planning ahead for their LTC needs. Of those who have received the governor’s letter and brochure, from 5.3% to over 20% have ordered the Planning Kit, greatly exceeding typical direct mail response rates. And those who get the Planning Kit are much more likely to take some type of planning action than those who do not.
- They are about twice as likely to review their existing insurance coverage to determine whether it meets long-term care needs.
- They are also about twice as likely to talk to an agent or financial planner about their future long-term care needs.
- They are three times as likely to buy long-term care insurance.
The “Own Your Future” campaign is having a significant impact on the awareness of individuals and the planning they do, and it provides excellent support for agents seeking to educate consumers about long-term care and how to provide for it.
For more details on OYF campaign activities and results, please consult:
A reminder of recent deadlines for completion of initial training:
- June 30, 2009 — Arizona
- July 1, 2009 — Arkansas*, Illinois*, New Jersey*, South Carolina, Tennessee*, Washington*, and West Virginia (new agents only)
- July 14, 2009 — Oklahoma*
* The deadline is for existing LTCI agents; new agents in these states had to complete the initial training before selling policies. For details, see state reports below.
Note: California, Connecticut, Indiana and New York have had long-term care partnership programs in operation for several years and are often referred to as the “original partnership” states. These programs are in many ways different from the new partnerships currently being established in other states in response to the federal Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005. Their training requirements do not follow the NAIC model created to implement the DRA and adopted by most new partnership states. Therefore, agents who take training based on the NAIC model will not meet the requirements of the four original states, and those who take partnership training in one of the original states will not meet the requirements of the new states (although in some cases reciprocity may be granted anyway).
Check with your carrier!
We would like to remind agents that some states do not review and approve courses as meeting their LTCI/LTC partnership training requirements. In these states, it is up to the carrier to decide whether a course fulfills the state requirements. And in all states, carriers must track agents’ completion of the required training. So in seeking to meet state training requirements, always check with the carrier or carriers you represent.
Alabama. All LTCI agents must complete an eight-hour initial training course. The course must be based on the NAIC model (no state-specific content required) and approved by the state for long-term care CE credits. Courses approved for general CE do not fulfill this requirement, even if they address long-term care and have “long-term care” in the title. (AHIP’s course is approved for LTC and fulfills the requirement.) Agents already licensed for LTCI before March 1, 2009, have until December 31, 2009, to complete the initial training; new agents (those not already licensed before March 1, 2009) must complete the initial training before selling LTCI. Agents are also required to complete four hours of ongoing training during every 24-month license renewal period after the period in which they completed the initial training.
Alaska. No action to establish an LTC partnership has been reported, and the state currently has no agent training requirements specific to long-term care insurance.
Arizona. As of June 30, 2009, all LTCI producers must complete eight hours of initial training based on the NAIC model before selling LTCI. Producers must also complete four hours of ongoing training during each 24-month period beginning July 1, 2009, after the 24-month period in which they completed the initial training.
Arkansas. As of July 1, 2009, all LTCI agents must complete eight hours of initial training before selling LTCI. The content of this training is based on the NAIC model plus a state-issued supplement on the Arkansas partnership and Medicaid programs. Agents must also complete four hours of ongoing training during every 24-month license renewal period after the period in which they completed the initial training.
California is one of the original partnership states (see note above). Before selling partnership policies, agents must complete eight hours of general long-term care training and eight hours of training specific to the California LTC partnership. The partnership-specific training must be received in a classroom setting. In addition, eight hours of ongoing classroom partnership training must be taken during every two-year license approval period.
Colorado. All resident LTCI agents must complete 16 hours of initial training before selling LTCI. This training must include the topics of the NAIC model plus substantial additional content, as stipulated by the state. Eight hours must cover long-term care and long-term care insurance and can be classroom, self-study, or Internet-based; the other eight hours must focus on partnership and must be classroom training. Agents must also complete five hours of ongoing training (classroom only) during every 24-month CE period after the period in which they completed the initial training.
Nonresident agents can sell LTCI (including partnership policies) in Colorado without fulfilling the above requirements if all of the following conditions are met:
- Their home state has an LTC partnership.
- They meet their home state’s training requirements for partnership policies (even if the state requires less than 16 hours or its rules otherwise differ from Colorado’s).
- They hold a Colorado nonresident license for life insurance or accident and health insurance.
If a nonresident agent’s home state does not have a partnership, the agent must fulfill Colorado’s requirements, even if she meets the home state’s requirements for nonpartnership LTCI. If the home state has a partnership but the agent meets the training requirements only for nonpartnership LTCI policies, she must fulfill Colorado’s requirements.
Connecticut is one of the original partnership states (see note above). To sell partnership policies, an agent must complete first a prerequisite online course approved by the partnership program and then four hours of classroom instruction conducted by partnership program staff.
Delaware. No action to establish an LTC partnership has been reported. To sell LTCI, an agent must meet the training requirements for a health insurance license and also, every two years, complete a three-hour course in LTCI approved by the state.
District of Columbia. No action to establish an LTC partnership or new LTCI training requirements has been reported. Currently there are no training requirements specific to LTCI — an agent must simply be licensed to sell life and health insurance.
Florida. At present, all LTCI agents must complete eight hours of initial training based on the NAIC model before selling LTCI policies. Agents must also complete four hours of ongoing training every 24 months, beginning on the date they completed the initial training. In addition, the state is currently developing a rule under which agents will have to complete two hours of Florida-specific training (on the state’s Medicaid and partnership programs and its regulations), either as part of the initial eight-hour training or in addition to it. (This rule is expected to be finalized soon, but it is not yet in effect.)
Georgia. Agents intending to sell partnership policies (not all LTCI agents) must complete initial training before selling. The initial training consists of the NAIC model plus two hours of state-specific content, for a total of eight hours. Georgia resident agents who have already taken the training required to sell partnership policies in another state may receive up to six hours credit for that training and need to take only the two hours of Georgia-specific training. Nonresident agents who are qualified to sell partnership policies in their home state need to take only the Georgia-specific training.
Agents selling partnership policies must also take four hours of ongoing training during every two-year license renewal period, which runs from Jan. 1 to Jan. 1. The first ongoing training must be completed by the second Jan. 1 after completion of the initial training. To give some examples: Mary Jones completed the initial training on Oct. 14, 2008; she has until Jan. 1, 2010, to complete the first ongoing training. Bob Smith completes the initial training on Feb. 6, 2009; he has until Jan. 1, 2011.
Hawaii. In 2007, the legislature passed a bill requiring all LTCI agents to complete eight hours of training based on the NAIC model. But this requirement will not go into effect until the state’s partnership program is established, and it is unclear when that might happen — a partnership bill failed to pass in the 2008 and 2009 legislative sessions but may be reintroduced in 2010. The bottom line for agents: There are no partnership training requirements in effect at this time; there will be no such requirements until the partnership is established; and when that occurs, agents will have one year from that date to complete the training.
Idaho. All LTCI agents must complete eight hours of initial training based on the NAIC model before selling LTCI products. They must also take four hours of ongoing training during every 24-month license renewal period after the period in which they completed the initial training.
Illinois. As of July 1, 2009, all LTCI agents must complete course 25008. To be approved by the state as 25008, a course must cover the NAIC content and provide at least eight hours of instruction. (AHIP’s NAIC Model Course is approved.) Agents must also complete four CE credits in long-term care during each 24-month license renewal period after the period in which they completed the initial training.