New California law protects consumers from LTC insurance premium increases

California legislatures recently passed a new law designed to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by insurance companies providing long-term care, or LTC, policies. These insurance policies are designed to provide consumers with assistance funding long-term care facilities like assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home care programs.

Long-term care facilities may be needed when an individual is no longer able to take care of themselves. Insurance companies consider a person unable to care for themselves when they cannot complete the typical tasks of daily living. This can include basic personal hygiene like bathing or physical activities like moving through the house.

Types of LTC insurance coverage

In California, a LTC policy can provide one of three categories of care. These categories are:

  • Nursing facility and residential care facility
  • Home care
  • Comprehensive LTC covering nursing facility, home care and assisted living

Over recent years, legislatures became concerned that insurance companies were increasing the cost of these policies at an alarming rate. As a result, they proposed a new bill, AB 999 to protect consumers.

Details of AB 999

AB 999 was put together by the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee Chair Mariko Yamada. The law is designed to provide a wide array of protection to consumers from abusive practices by long-term care insurance policies.

One form of protection focuses on limiting the rate of premium increases a company can make on a policy. Although previous measures have been passed to try to stabilize the premium payment increases, jumps in the price remain a problem. Some policies see one-time increases of up to 60 percent while others have experienced multiple 20 percent increases.

The law will also prohibit companies from increasing rates too frequently. Instead, insurers will be limited to increasing their policy rates once every five or ten years depending on the policy.

In addition to regulating premium cost increases, AB 999 requires insurance companies to provide policy information before customers purchase the policy so that they can make an informed decision. This can be done with sample forms outlining both the typical language used within the policy and the type of coverage provided.

Overall, the law is intended to provide consumers that wish to purchase long-term care insurance with information about policies and protection against greatly increasing premium charges.

If you or a loved one has purchased a long-term care insurance policy and is struggling to receive the coverage you paid for, contact an experienced long-term care lawyer to discuss your situation and better protect your legal rights.

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