In real estate, they say the key to success is location, location, location. In long-term care insurance, it’s education, education, education.
In a recent conversation with state regulators and a nationally recognized consumer advocate, the discussion focused on the various proposed regulations surrounding California long-term care insurance.
One key piece of legislation, SB 1384, will allow the California Partnership to become, once again, the product and program of choice.
With these proposed changes, the partnership will allow at least five new product offerings as well as new carrier entry into the program.
They have proposed to comprehensive products, one based on age-based inflation options and the other will offer 3, 4 and 5% compound Inflation at any age, both comprehensive coverage.
The third proposal will be the first hybrid version of a Partnership product ever, a life policy with a LTCI rider, it must offer 3, 4, or 5% inflation, the monthly benefit equal to 70% of the States Average Nursing Home Daily Rate times 30 days a month (2016 CA State average Nursing Home Daily Rate = $270 x 70% = $190.00 x 30 = $5,700 a month benefit) and have built in the unique care management program of the partnership.
The fourth product will be a home community and RCF only policy with a 3, 4 or 5% compound inflation option and 50% of the state nursing home daily rate minimum. (Refer to the “Long, Slow Death of Nursing Home Insurance” article on our website for further clarification and discussion.)
The fifth and final product offering will be a home and community only based product with a possible 2, 3, 4 or 5% compound option plus 50% of the States Ave. Nursing Home Daily Rate benefit (50% of $270= $130 starting daily benefit offering).
All of these proposed partnership changes will require all agents to be re-certified. Agents will need to have a better understanding between the difference of Hybrids, Traditional/ non-partnerships as well as a Partnership and its new offerings.
California Partnership for LTC requires insurance agents in advisers to complete special education requirements in order to be authorized to sell and/or market partnership policies.
This education requirement is above and beyond that required by the California Department of Insurance (CTQ). This additional expertise is important because partnership policies are linked with the state Medi-Cal program. The training keeps the agent up-to-date on changes to federal and state laws affecting the policies and their clients.
However, the training alone does not make a good agent. You want an agent who is a genuine listener, an educator, and a problem-solver.
An agent/advisor who is professional does not focus on “selling” a product. The primary focus is to identify clients needs, wants, and concerns and help them satisfy their needs and wants.
The agent/advisor must be knowledgeable about Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal and how long-term care insurance works and be able to clearly explain the differences to their clients. As a problem solver, an agent/advisor must assess their client’s objectives and financial situation to determine the most appropriate options for their clients.
Legitimately, what your clients want is an agent/advisor who they can trust to be honest, qualified and knowledgeable.