(U.S. Geological Survey photo)

The Connecticut Insurance Department has weighed in on two more long-term care insurance (LTCI) premium increase applications.

The department rejected an application from Med America Insurance Company and told John Hancock Life Insurance Company to reduce the size of its average increase.

See also: Explaining LTCi rate increases

MedAmerica — an affiliate of Excellus, a New York state Blue Cross and Blue Shield carrier — had asked for permission to increase rates on 527 policies in force in Connecticut by an average of 39 percent.

MedAmerica sold the policies from 2003 through 2010 and is no longer marketing them. The company said it was asking for the increase because interest rates have been low, and because it expects benefit periods to be longer than expected.

Connecticut actuaries said they believe the experience for the MedAmerica LTCI product has actually been better than the company originally predicted, both in Connecticut and in the rest of the country.

John Hancock — a unit of Manulife Financial Corp. (NYSE:TSX) — had asked for a 45.9 percent increase for 8,600 individual LTCI policies sold from 1991 through 2012. Connecticut regulators reduced the allowed increase to 15 percent.

John Hancock said it has been seeing longer-lasting and more expensive claims, in part because of longer policyholder lifespans. Connecticut actuaries agreed that the John Hancock LTCI policies involved have been performing worse than expected, but they said they believe the rate increase originally requested would be excessive at this time.