If staffers in the U.S. Senate show a little more interest in long-term care insurance (LTCI) issues this year, that could because their own benefits office has helped educate them about the topic.

Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, talked about that legislative body’s efforts to provide a voluntary LTCI benefits program for Senate employees earlier this month during a Senate Appropriations legislative subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2013 budget request filed by the secretary of the Senate.

Federal fiscal year 2013 starts Oct. 1.

Like federal executive branch employees, Senate employees can participate in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP).

Costs have been higher than organizers originally expected. Managers raised rates in 2009 and reorganized the program.

Due to the changes, the FLTCIP managers held an open season in early 2011, Erickson said.

The Senate employee benefits staff organized two on-site FLTCIP meetings, to give program representatives a chance to meet face to face with Senate employees.

The benefits staff also ordered brochures and posters and helped set up a FLTCIP education page that included links to webinars for employees who were unable to attend the in-person meetings.

The staff created a 1-page FLTCIP open season information summary, an announcement e-mail and reminder e-mails.

“The feedback from employees regarding these presentations was very positive,” Erickson said. “Our FLTCIP account manager was very pleased and impressed with our organized approach and the steps we took to inform Senate employees of the [Open Season] and stated that the Senate really went above and beyond to assist them with the FLTCIP open season.”