October 01,2007

Sen. Grassley seeks information from long-term care insurance providers

WASHINGTON — Sen. Grassley is asking the nation’s top providers of long-term care insurance to provide information about how claims are processed in order to learn more about how effectively the sector is meeting the needs of Americans who have purchased such policies, which has been encouraged through federal tax incentives.

“Preparing for long-term care needs can make a big difference in both the quality of life for individuals and the solvency of Medicaid,” Grassley said. “Long-term care insurance products are fairly new to the marketplace, so it’s important that policy makers continue to assess how they are working to meet needs and how their success is affecting public programs.”

In April, Grassley asked the independent Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of the long-term care insurance industry following a New York Times story about rejected claims by policy holders. In August, the Des Moines Register ran a series of stories about whether long-term care insurance policies are providing the coverage purchasers expect. Grassley said he is asking providers for information today based in part on the response he received recently from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to questions about trends in the industry.

Grassley is a long-time advocate for enhancing retirement security with incentives for long-term care coverage and has exercised oversight of the long-term care insurance industry on behalf of policy holders. As Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging during the late 1990s, he first sponsored legislation to expand long-term care insurance opportunities for individuals and held hearings on a range of retirement security issues. He undertook several initiatives to improve the quality of long-term care services.

As Chairman of the Finance Committee for four and a-half years between 2000 and 2007, Sen. Grassley continued his efforts to promote awareness about long-term care insurance by working to create a long-term care information clearinghouse at the Department of Health and Human Services. He also expanded the partnership program, which is intended to encourage people who might otherwise rely on Medicaid to purchase long-term care insurance, in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.