March 29, 2016
Maine’s Insurance Superintendent, Eric Cioppa, will hold a forum on long-term care insurance May 9th in Augusta. He is inviting Maine residents to attend or join via webcast, and to provide written or oral statements about their experiences as long-term care insurance policyholders. Consumers interested in making a statement at the forum are asked to contact the Bureau by April 25th.
The forum will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Kennebec Room of the Augusta Civic Center at 76 Community Drive, with a break from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. The live webcast of the event will be available on the Bureau’s website at www.maine.gov/insurance. A video recording of the proceedings will be available for a period of time following the event.
“The national problem of underpriced long-term care insurance policies and steep premium rate increase requests is one that I and other state insurance regulators are working to address within our abilities, as defined by law,” Superintendent Cioppa said. “As the regulator of insurance companies selling long-term care policies in Maine, I want to hear first-hand from those who purchased and are relying on these policies, and those who sold the policies and are continuing to request substantial rate hikes.”
Long-term care insurance policies have been marketed in Maine since the 1980s and were intended to help individuals cover the cost of potential long-term care as they aged and became disabled.
Early “rich” policies were sold with life-long benefits and inflation protection. In the past decade, as owners of those early policies have started to make use of their coverage, insurance companies have struggled with higher than anticipated expenses as a result of longer life expectancies, lengthy claims, and lower than projected lapse rates. Recent years of sustained low interest rates on companies’ investments have compounded the problem. As a result, companies are seeking to stabilize their lines of long-term care policies.
“Policyholders across the country who have not yet needed to use their policy are faced with the decision to either pay significantly more each month to maintain their benefits, or reduce their level of benefits, or drop their policies,” Cioppa said. “As regulators, we are charged with protecting consumers’ interests. That includes making sure insurance companies remain solvent and able to pay their claims.”
The forum will begin with an overview of the LTC insurance market in Maine, the rate review process as dictated by Maine law, and recently enacted rules that protect consumers by clarifying and strengthening the claims payment process that companies are required to follow. Consumers will then have an opportunity to present statements about their experience as policyholders of long-term care insurance and for companies to present reasons for their rate increase requests and ideas to make the market viable.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments for consideration by the Superintendent or who are interested in presenting a statement in person at the forum are asked to contact Judi Watters, Consumer Outreach Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 207-624-8445 by April 25th. A notice about the forum can be found on the Bureau’s website at www.maine.gov/insurance.
Consumers with questions about any insurance matters can obtain information and assistance from the Bureau by visiting www.maine.gov/insurance, calling toll-free 1-800-300-5000, or e-mailing Insurance.PFR@maine.gov.
The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine.
Last Updated: March 29, 2016 1:30 PM