After 25 years, we have moved to our new location:
Senior Insurance Training Services 1177 Cox Street Sonoma California 95476
We apologize for any can inconvenience due to our phone lines being down. Our phone lines have been rerouted to the new building and complete phone service is now available.
In spite of our challenging move, the summer 2019 for the State of California and LTC insurance has been quite a roller coaster.
First, let’s look at the national scene according to this state’s leading consumer advocate, as well as being the leading consumer advocate for the NAIC National Association of Insurance Commissioners for the last 25 years. She expressed concern that the chasm between the federal government and LTC insurance industry was almost insurmountable by year end 2018 due to the recent rate increase requests throughout the country.
We also experienced an election in 2018 which tends to put things on hold for 5 months from election day to allow transition from old to new members, as well as impacting committees, department heads and chair members, based on my experience in dealing with the California legislative process over the last 4 years in implementing the three crucial bills, SB1384, SB1248 and SB1046, that have made significant impact on the California Partnership
However, by the end of the first quarter of 2019, many insurance and investment websites began to highlight articles and reports regarding state and federal inquiries into LTC insurance and its alternatives. The aforementioned consumer advocate called me in May of this year and informed me that her phone was ringing off the hook from state and federal agencies and then she has not experienced anything like this since 1996 (pre-HIPAA) and 2004 (pre-DRA). She also noted that many of the calls were from federal agencies overseeing Medicare, Medicare Supplement, consumer advocate groups including AARP.
She also highlighted the fact that the NAIC LTC Insurance Task Force, in addition to the Society of Actuaries, we’re being asked to participate and comment on the possibilities of including some form of short-term benefits into Medicare, Medicare Supplements and Medicare Part C programs as well as explaining how partnership programs work.
I was invited this week to watch her training webcast on LTC Insurance, sponsored by ACL (Administration for Community Living) and SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs). The event was intended for SHIP leaders and counselors, as well as other members of the Aging Network who work with adults making LTC Insurance decisions.
The topics to be addressed during the 90-minute presentation were:
- LTC Insurance and the SHIP role
- How LTC insurance is changing
- Helping caregivers understood the claims process and requirements for obtaining benefits from older, free-standing LTC Insurance
- Helping policyholders understand options they might be given to lower the amount of a premium increase of for LTC Insurance
After the presentation, the Advocate notice notified me that according to the ACL, this was the most watched, with over 2,500 computer logons, in the program’s history, including over 500 Q & A requests. If you can’t read the tea leaves, something is happening at the national level.
Now, let’s take a look at our own backyard of California LTC insurance. I will attempt to put this in a chronological order to better help you understand the growing sense of urgency.
- October 7, 2018 LA Times
California senior population is growing faster than any other age group – how the next Governor response is crucial
- November 28, 2018 California Partnership for long-term care task force releases draft summary of deliberations and outcomes
The task force met 10 times in 2017 and 2018. The task force opted not to seek the extension beyond the December 31, 2018 expiration date, given that the new Administration will be taking office in California and members of the legislature will be assuming new roles as chairs, vice chairs and members of legislative committees with some jurisdiction over aging and LTC insurance.
- January 15, 2019 The Partnership Ad Hoc Task Force meets to review and solidify the draft LTC task force report and discuss the recent departure of the Partnership Director and non-essential staff.
It is agreed that the ad hoc task force, including the two essential remaining staff members will act as custodians for the Partnership Program until a new director is appointed. It is also announced that Met Life, Genworth and John Hancock have requested and received in-force rate increases on all Partnership policies for the first time since 1994 through 2013. The rate increases began in 2018 through 2021 – and remember, Partnership rate increases shall be no greater than 40% of approved and spread over a three-year period.
- In April 2019,
The Partnership ad hoc task force conducts a series of conference calls and webinars to discuss the numerous requests and calls regarding those in-force rate increases in what to do.
- In May 2019, due to the volume of calls coming into the Partnership and SITS regarding the rate increases and due to the low enrollment of Partnership re-certification classes, it is agreed upon by the members of the ad hoc committee that SITS and Tom Orr may conduct for a trial period Partnership certification classes by webinar to expedite the retraining of Partnership certified agents.
Due to the confusion surrounding the validity of the Partnership program and whether or not I must maintain my certification in order to service my existing Partnership insureds, it has been agreed that the answer is YES by current Partnership staff. Also, it was announced that a new Partnership Director has been appointed by DHCS and will be announced in June.
- June 23, 2019 Department of Health Services in California Partnership for LTC conduct a greet and meet meeting with the newly appointed director William (Bill) Underwood
After brief presentations by each task member, it was agreed that by the end of August a concerted effort would be taken to relaunch the Partnership:
- an Outreach effort for all California agents
- with a letter from the new director
- a quarterly meeting via webinar
- re-education of agents and consumers and
- recertification requirements
- In addition, we would invite participation by insurers:
- hybrid insurance carriers
- new inflation options, new minimum daily amounts, including monthly and annually
- more flexibility and affordably and
- provide suggestions for the governor Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan on Aging and how the California Partnership can play a significant role
- an Outreach effort for all California agents
- August 2018 SITS put finishing touches on the new course curriculum for Partnership certification courses via classroom and webinar addressing new plan design issues and suitability protocols
- How to access rate increase notifications and checklist
- New extensive Partnership PowerPoint in handouts for certification course
- New 4 Hour CE credit webinars on plan design – short and thin and why
- Evaluating rate increase notifications and
- Understanding your clients alternatives and providing meaningful solutions – the new consumer LTC Insurance suitability and best interest standard
To learn much more in to get on to our mailing list call 707-696-0389 or visit https://ltcce.com and book our new webinars. Don’t miss this new opportunity in LTC Insurance.