It would be an understatement to say that it is critical for the extended and long-term care (LTC) industry to weigh in on the Washington State legislation that creates a publicly funded LTC program. The industry has historically welcomed a public-private option and we are hopeful that the various state legislatures contemplating instituting publicly funded programs of their own will embrace knowledgeable suggestions from insurers, business processing firms, distributors, agents, and advisors. At the federal level, there are proposals that would also benefit from industry participation.
NAIFA’s Government Relations team and the Limited and Extended Care Planning Center (LECP) have partnered to create a Legislative Working Group. This group is comprised of LECP sponsors, insurers, NAIFA members, third-party administrators, distributors, and other stakeholders. To move things forward during this critical time, the working group is divided into six purposeful working subgroups:
- Review wins and challenges of the Washington Cares Trust. Stay informed and engage with other states as they consider options for LTC programs.
- Review the pros and cons of the Wish Act and other federal LTC funding proposals.
Publicity and Social Outreach
- Change the narrative concerning consumer and regulatory views and understanding (or lack of understanding) about extended and LTC issues.
Introduce the public to new and exciting industry innovations and technology advances that will influence care options of current and future generations.
Product Availability and Enhancements
- Review issues related to carrier product state approvals.
- Examine how wellness and other programs can play a significant role in LTC product development and claims.
- Work to create a climate that encourages new carrier entrants.
Licensing and Education
- Gain insights to increase new agent recruitment and help foster the inclusion of extended and LTC protection products in more investment advisors and CPA planning practices.
- Further consideration of a national Continuing Education program.
The Role of Technology
- Examine how technology may affect product creation, distribution, and consumer usage.
- Explore how technologies before and after a sale enhance advisor/agent relationships with their current and future clients and help to grow consumer participation and interest.
The Working Group’s tasks are to explore and enhance policy positions for NAIFA through its government relations capabilities as it engages directly with state lawmakers and regulators. NAIFA’s century-old, strong grassroots tradition of working with Congress gives this effort an especially significant opportunity for our industry to be heard.
Concurrently, NAIFA is working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Long-Term Care Insurance Model Update Subgroup that is currently reviewing the compatibility of the existing long-term care models (#640) and (#641) with the current long-term care insurance marketplace. Additionally, NAIFA is working with several other industry partners, including the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).
This is the time for collective thinking and fruitful discussions. NAIFA and the LECP are stepping up and offering a clear path ahead. With the cooperation of our association partners and LECP sponsors, we distributed a survey asking agents and advisors for information, thoughts, and reactions to the Washington State Cares Trust. The results will be an important resource to inform the LWG’s advocacy work moving forward.
If you know of agents and advisors who are not NAIFA members, please share with them that NAIFA’s LECP LWG is working to give voice to industry views and insights. Please encourage them to visit the LECP for updates and information on these important topics.