Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program Re-Opens

January 29, 2011  Beginning this Spring, federal employees, retirees and their relatives, including same-sex domestic partners, will be able to apply for the government’s long-term care insurance option.

According to a Federal Register notice issued on Friday, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that open season for the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program will run from April 4 through May 27.

Active federal employees, their spouses and same-sex domestic partners who currently are not enrolled can apply under abbreviated underwriting rules and will have to provide only limited health information. Retirees and other qualified relatives will undergo a longer review of medical and health history in the application process.

“The federal long-term care insurance plan is excellent coverage and several hundred thousand individuals participate in the program,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (http://www.aaltci.org/).  The program does not offer certain discounts available from individual policies sold by insurance agents.  “If you are married and in good health, you may be able to get more coverage for less cost,” Slome notes. 

Same-sex domestic partners of federal workers for the first time will be able to enroll in the program, which helps pay for the cost of care when participants need help with daily activities, or have a severe cognitive illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.

OPM in June 2010 issued a final regulation broadening the definition of relatives qualified to participate in the long-term care insurance program to include the same-sex domestic partners of federal employees, U.S. Postal Service workers and retirees. Prior to the new rule, which took effect on July 1, 2010, only spouses, parents and adult children were eligible for coverage. 

The expansion of coverage follows a June 2009 presidential memorandum asking that government do as much as it can legally to put same-sex domestic partners on equal footing with heterosexual married couples.

Coverage will begin on the first day of the month after an application is approved, and premiums will be based on the enrollee’s age and option selected, according to the notice.

The American e American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance’s Consumer Information Center http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/ has been voted the nation’s #1 source for access to information and competitive insurance quotes

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