Any new long-term care insurance (LTCI) disclosure rules should help consumers make informed decisions, not simply shield insurers and their agents from litigation, a consumer advocate says.

Bonnie Burns, a consumer advocate at California Health Advocates, proposes some guidelines for any LTCI disclosure guideline provisions in a letter to the Long Term Care Disclosures Working Group. The working group is an arm of the Senior Issues Task Force, a division at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Burns has served for years as one of the people that the NAIC pays to speak up for consumers’ interests in NAIC proceedings.

Burns gave the working group several suggestions for principles she thinks the working group should use when updating the existing NAIC LTCI disclosure requirement models.

  • Require the use of standardized, consumer-tested language.
  • Require insurers to offer consumers specific options for coping with events such as rate increases.
  • Present the options available in a way that reflects the needs of the consumer, with a brief discussion of the possible risks and benefits associated with each option.
  • Continue to include the kind of personal needs worksheet now required by the existing model requirements.

Burns says she and other consumer reps would also like to see the NAIC look at other types of products that might be used in LTC planning, such as life-LTC hybrids and annuity-LTC hybrids.

“We think disclosures for these products deserve some scrutiny as well,” Burns writes in the letter.