LTC Task Force Updates From NAIC Spring Meeting

During the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Spring Conference last week, the NAIC LTC Task Force met to discuss various topics and we wanted to share a summary of the discussion:

The bulk of the meeting was the Task Force receiving an update from each of its subgroups:

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2021 ILTCI Conference

Faegre Drinker is a proud sponsor of the upcoming Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Conference Association (ILTCI) virtual event. The conference, the largest multidisciplinary long-term care conference in the U.S., kicks off Tuesday, April 13 with a general session followed by sessions every Tuesday and Thursday through April 29.

Several of our insurance professionals, along with many other LTCi community insiders, will be speaking this year on topics ranging from litigation, to aging in place, to rate increase innovations.  Here is a brief look at the panels we will be joining:

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COVID-19 Impact on Long-Term Care Insurance 2020 Survey

What impact did COVID-19 have on the long-term care industry (LTCi) early on? The Society of Actuaries (SOA) recently released a survey trying to answer that question by detailing COVID-19’s impact on LTCi mortality, voluntary lapse and morbidity experience. General findings from the survey were stated as follows:

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Proposed Revisions to HIPAA Privacy Rule and Extension for Public Comment

On March 9, 2021, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was extending public comment on the proposed changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule from March 22, 2021 to May 6, 2021.

OCR first released the proposed modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule on December 10, 2020. Specifically, OCR announced it was proposing changes “to support individuals’” engagement in their care, remove barriers to coordinate care and reduce the regulatory burdens on the health care industry.”

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Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Seeks Information Regarding Long-Term Care Needs and Payment Sources

Over the past few years, insurers, consumers and regulators have asked the question: who, and how, will consumers receive and pay for long-term care? The older, retired population will soon substantially outnumber the working population and the number of private insurers providing long-term care continues to dwindle. A report from the American Council of Life Insurers projects 70% of Americans turning age 65 or older will require long-term care. By 2060, the number of Americans turning age 65 or older will double and those turning age 85 or older will triple. As the population continues to age, the average cost of care continues to rise. Thus, the government faces a looming risk of unbearable expenses as more individuals rely on Medicaid for elder care. In light of this statistical reality, governments, insurers and long-term care (LTC) providers are trying to find cost-efficient ways to offer long-term care to consumers in need and, in turn, increase access to care.

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More Americans Taking on Role as Caregiver

An aging boomer population, limitations or workforce shortages in the health care or long-term services and supports formal care systems, and the ongoing pandemic are some of the reasons why more and more Americans have found themselves serving as unpaid caregivers for family members or friends.

Not only are more Americans taking on the role of unpaid caregiver, but they are doing so for adult recipients who may have increasingly complex medical or support needs. More than 60% of caregivers report in a 2020 AARP survey that their adult care recipient needs additional help due to long-term physical conditions, while about one-third cite memory problems (such as Alzheimer’s or dementia) as the reason. The on-going pandemic also continues to shape aging-in-place (i.e. at home) demand for services, including home health aides.

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New Hampshire Supreme Court Strikes Down Long-Term Care Insurance Premium Rate Increase Caps

The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled that New Hampshire’s regulation that places certain caps on long-term care insurance premium rate increases exceeds the Insurance Commissioner’s rulemaking authority and, therefore, is invalid. See Genworth Life Ins. Co. v. New Hampshire Dep’t of Ins., No. 2019-0727, 2021 WL 621005 (N.H. Feb. 17, 2021).

Some states, either by regulation or administrative practice, place caps on long-term care insurance premium rate increases. In 2015, New Hampshire promulgated amended long-term care insurance regulations that capped premium rate increases based on an insured’s attained age and applied the new caps retroactively to all long-term care insurance policies issued in the state (Amended Regulations). See generally N.H. Code Admin. R. § 19. As drafted, the regulation did not afford the Commissioner discretion to approve increases that exceed the caps. The rate caps were implemented on a sliding scale from 50 percent for all policyholders with attained ages 70 and below down to 10% for policyholders with attained ages over 90. As with caps implemented by other states, the caps adopted by New Hampshire had no actuarial basis.

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Finding the Right LTCi Agent First is Important

Navigating long-term care insurance (LTCi) can be complicated for people planning the type of care they might need, how long they might need it and how they are going to pay for it, according to retirement expert Glenn Ruffenach. In a recent Wall Street Journal Ask Encore column, he examines the importance of finding a knowledgeable, independent agent who “sells policies from multiple carriers and who specializes in long-term-care planning and insurance.”

Mr. Ruffenach recommends several tips to help find the right agent, including using educational and training programs dedicated to LTCi insurance to find agents and other financial professionals nationwide. (For example Certification for Long-Term Care has a locator on its website that identifies its graduates.) He also suggests searching online for local experts or asking others in professional services, such as accounting or tax law, for recommendations. Once you have identified several agents, it is important to talk to all of them to assess who is the best fit for you based on their experience and education as well as your own comfort level with them.

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