Genworth Financial Inc. has started offering young age benefits along with some long term care (LTC) insurance policies.

Life insurers have tried to appeal to customers who expect to live for many years by providing living benefits, such as access to will preparation services and the ability to borrow against a policy’s cash value.

Genworth, Richmond, Va. (NYSE:GNW), is providing benefits aimed at consumers who do not expect to need long term care for many years.

The company made the change by offering a package of wellness support services, such as access to a nurse line, that it was offering to LTC insurance benefits recipients. Now all holders of LTC insurance policies that come with the well benefits package can use the services, Genworth says.

Genworth also is making an LTC facility selection and senior support services advice service available to all LTC insurance policyholders and immediate family members of policyholders, not just to policyholders who are getting LTC insurance benefits.

In other ideas news:

- ING U.S., Windsor, Conn., a unit ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam (NYSE:ING), says its retirement division has come up with a way to help cash-strapped state and local governments shift away from paying for employees’ post-retirement health benefits.

ING is recommending that state and local government employers use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to give employees a tax-favored vehicle for saving to pay for their own post-retirement health coverage.

To use a health savings account program, a taxpayer must have high-deductible health insurance.

A user of an HRA can have health insurance with any level of deductible.

An HRA balance is not as portable as the assets in an HSA, but an HRA holder can use the value in the account to pay for health insurance after retirement.

- Aetna Inc., Hartford (NYSE:AET), is working with Genesis HealthCare L.L.C., Kennett Square, Pa., to try to reduce the risk that a patient leaving a hospital will soon have to return.

Aetna and Genesis are developing a transition management program that will include infection-control efforts and increased access to therapy services.

- Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J. (NYSE:PRU), is helping employers deal with absence management by creating a one guide aimed at front-line manager, and a more in-depth guide aimed at the human resources or training professionals who will train the managers.

- American General Life Companies, Houston, a unit of American International Group Inc., New York (NYSE:AIG), is offering the same kind of living benefit rider often associated with variable annuities along with indexed annuity contracts.

- Western & Southern Financial Group Inc., Cincinnati, says its wholesale distribution subsidiary wants to help financial professionals appeal to the many participants in 401(k) plans and other employer-sponsored retirement programs who are changing jobs.

The distribution unit has developed a rollover brochure aimed at consumers, rollover postcard aimed at sconsumers, and a brochure aimed at financial professionals.

- Allison Bell

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