Insurance Changes May Benefit You

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Changing Insurance Policy Information

This is an active time in the insurance industry and these changes may be of benefit to you. Do you have a dependent covered on your employee group health plan or individual medical policy? Are you looking at purchasing a long term care (LTC) policy – or do you already have a LTC policy? Are you paying too much for health insurance or are you concerned about healthcare rationing?

As of 6/1/09, Public Act 095-0958 is amended.  Now group or individual health insurance policies will be required to cover unmarried dependents until they reach age 26, regardless of student status; and to age 30 for dependents who are veterans and have not been dishonorably discharged. So if you have children covered on your health plan you can continue their coverage longer than before (usually was age 23). Note: this law may not pertain to self insured plans.

Even if your child recently came off of your coverage because of age, families must be provided a 90 day period after their policy is renewed, to add the dependent to an existing policy.  Each year thereafter, parents will be able to enroll dependent during the normal open enrollment period.  For calendar year plans, the change is not effective until January 1, 2010. An employer may deny coverage for any dependent who has been without creditable coverage for more than 63 days.

As a somewhat related topic, if you have any questions about COBRA coverage (continues your insurance coverage while only paying 35% of the premium) following a layoff from 9/1/08 through the end of 2009, contact your employer or our office.

Beginning 7/1/09 Illinois has adopted the Long-Term Care Partnership Program (Public Act 87-163 and Public Act 89-525).  This program will allow individuals who purchase private LTC insurance that meets State standards, and who sustain extended periods of chronic illness that exhaust their private insurance benefits, to be eligible for continued services through the Medicaid program.

Most importantly, the LTC Partnership program allows an individual to keep their assets, dollar for dollar of benefits paid when a person exhausts the maximum benefits of their qualified LTC Partnership plan. (i.e. qualified LTC policy with a $500,000 maximum can keep their assets up to $500,000.)

The policy must have at least a 4 year maximum benefits and may require an inflation guard, depending upon age. Age 60 and under, plans must have a compound inflation guard. Age 76 and under must include some type of inflation guard.

Even people who have already purchased LTC insurance in the past may be able to change that policy to a Partnership plan depending upon the issue date and benefits of that plan.

LTC Partnership plans provide a great way to protect one’s assets, for your loved ones. It also better assures that you will have money to pay for future needed medical care.

Written by

Steven A. Buttice is the president of Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., a firm specializing in issues affecting seniors, including seminars and consultation on Medicare Plans, Long Term Care and other types of insurance, claims issues, and sales/service of insurance products since 1984.

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