The Long Term Care Innovation Subgroup will hear ideas for improving, and rescuing, private long-term care insurance at a public meeting Thursday.
The subgroup is bringing in the idea people from an long-term care insurance issuer, issuers of related products, two insurer trade groups, and a California consumer group that gets calls from panicked families when the families have long-term care insurance policy problems.
The Senior Issues Task Force, part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an organization for state insurance regulators, started the subgroup in late 2015, to “examine the future of financing … including the role the private market should play.”
One of the questions that comes up in the subgroup’s discussions is whether private long-term care insurance products can play a major role in long-term care finance, are fated to play a minor role, or are the unwanted, doomed results left over from a financial services experiment that failed.
The subgroup has already heard presentations from 13 long-term care insurance policy players during conference calls. Now, the subgroup is gearing up to listen to at least five speakers at the public meeting, which will be held in San Diego, in conjunction with the NAIC’s summer meeting.
For a look at some of what the subgroup could hear, based on the scheduled presenters’ written testimony and slidedecks, read on:
Royal Philips is one of many companies in the home care technology market. (Photo: Royal Philips)
1. Accommodate changes in how long-term care works.
Bonnie Burns, one of the scheduled speakers, represents Sacramento, California-based California Health Advocates, a group that publishes consumer health program education fact sheets and trains patient advocates.
She argues that any long-term care insurance products that exist should work properly, should be explained well to consumers, and should provide meaningful amount of benefits. She objects to the idea that “something is better than nothing” in the area of post-acute care benefits.
“No, it’s not, if the ‘something’ is not meaningful,” Burns writes in the written version of her testimony. “Paying premiums for a small amount of benefits or for short durations is a waste of scarce resources for a person who would otherwise become eligible for Medicaid. It also takes advantage of a near poor individual’s lack of knowledge about the social safety net.”
But Burns will repeat a suggestion, which she gave earlier, that private long-term care insurance policies should cover home monitoring systems and other electronic systems that can help caregivers ensure the safety of people with impairments who are living at home.
Burns also will talk about another idea: That newly designed long-term care insurance policies should eliminate the old coverage barriers between benefits for nursing home care, home care, community-based care, and other types of care, given the reality that how people get long-term care services could change.
“A new design should eliminate current distinctions on specific services and providers of care once an insured as met the benefit trigger, in anticipation of using these newer services, service delivery systems and providers,” Burns said. “Families should be able to make decisions about care needs and where and how those needs will be met with help from a certified care managers and with ongoing care coordination that should be part of the benefit package.”
The IRS has become a source of quiet but powerful personal insurance protection advice. (Photo: Allison Bell/LHP)
2. Add and expand tax incentives.
Susan Coronel, a long-term care insurance specialist at the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Health Insurance Plans, focuses on a need for tax incentives in her slidedeck.
When AHIP had Waltham, Massachusetts-based LifePlans, a consulting firm, survey 800 U.S. consumers ages 50 and older in 2015, 40 percent of the consumers said offering long-term care insurance purchase incentive tax incentives was the single most important action the government should take to encourage use of private long-term care insurance.
Nineteen percent said the ability to deduct the full cost of long-term care insurance premiums from taxable income would be the most important factor that would lead them to consider buying long-term care insurance coverage.
Having the government expand long-term care insurance shopper education efforts could also help increase long-term care insurance sales, Coronel says.