Leaders of a National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) panel are asking the federal government for a chance to help shape the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act(CLASS Act) long term care insurance program.

The lawmakers are Michigan state Rep. Barb Byrum D-Ingham County, Mich., chairman of the Health, Long-Term Care & Health Retirement Issues Committee at NCOIL, Troy, N.Y., and Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre County, Pa., the vice chair.

The CLASS Act section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (2010) is supposed to create a voluntary, worker-funded LTC program. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., has played a prominent role in developing CLASS program regulations and other PPACA regulations. NCOIL has also been working to make its voice heard in PPACA implementation efforts.

“As you move forward with the implementation process, NCOIL would welcome the opportunity to provide input and expertise in designing an effective program, as state legislatures have worked diligently over the years to create and nurture their thriving insurance markets,” Byrum and Corman write in their letter, which is addressed to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

HHS officials have indicated that they will try to ensure that the CLASS program will be sustainable before implementing it, but members of the NCOIL health committee continue to have grave concerns about the program, the lawmakers say.

The descriptions now available suggest that the program would pay out more in benefits than it would collect in premiums, and that adverse selection would drive up rates, causing younger, healthier workers to stay away, the lawmakers say.

Agents, brokers and human resources professionals would be unlikely to put much effort into enrolling workers and building a broad, stable risk pool because the CLASS program gives them no financial incentive to do so, the lawmakers say.

OTHER CLASS ACT COVERAGE FROM NATIONAL UNDERWRITER LIFE & HEALTH: