(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Florida lawmakers have ferried a long-term care insurance (LTC) study bill through the legislature in H.B. 5001, the state’s budget bill.

Section 224 of the bill, based on H.B. 1055 and S. 1756, will establish a technical advisory group by Aug. 1.

The advisory group is supposed to look at methods a life insurance policy insured, a life insurance contract holder, or an annuity holder could use to convert policy, contract or annuity into a long-term care benefit, according to the bill text.

The group is supposed to submit a report and proposed legislation by Jan. 15, 2013.

Advocates of encouraging life-to-LTCI conversions argue that the approach could help residents use private funds to pay for nursing home care longer and put off the day when they will be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

Life Care Funding Group L.L.C., Stamford, Conn., a firm that helps consumers use life settlements and other strategies to pay for long-term care (LTC), reports that the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University says letting consumers convert life policies into LTC plans could save about $150 million in Medicaid nursing home benefits spending per year.

Chris Orestis, president of Life Care Funding, put out a statement welcoming passage of H.B. 5001.

“This is another positive step forward to bring consumer protection and education to the owners of life insurance searching for the financial means to pay for the expensive costs of long term care,” Orestis says in the statement.