Open season for the federal long term care insurance program

Monday - 5/2/2011, 11:45pm EDT

!FOR_YOUR_BENEFIT_05-02-2011.mp3

Download mp3

By Andrew Mitchell
Federal News Radio

Paul E. Forte, CEO of the LTC Programs for Federal Employees, and Beth O'Brien, Manager of Program Promotion, joined hosts Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan for a discussion of the federal long term care insurance program. The open season, the first since 2002, is available through June 24, 2011.

Who is eligible for the FLTCIP during the open season?
As noted on the FLTCIP website, the current open season offers what is called an "abbreviated underwriting opportunity." This means that if you are not currently enrolled in the federal employees' long term care insurance program, you may fill out an application with a limited number of health questions. According to the FLTCIP website, people in the following categories are eligible to apply:

  • Federal and U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees in positions that convey eligibility for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (whether or not they are actually enrolled in FEHB);

  • Active members of the Uniformed Services who are on active duty or full-time National Guard duty for more than 30 days;

  • Active members of the Selected Reserve;

  • Tennessee Valley Authority employees (even though they may not be eligible for FEHB coverage);

  • D.C. government employees first employed by the D.C. government on or before October 1, 1987;

  • D.C. Courts employees;

  • Navy Personnel Command (BUPERS) NAF employees;

  • Spouses of employees listed above;

  • Same-sex domestic partners of civilian workforce members who have submitted (either directly or through their partner) a form affirming this status to the partner's employing agency.

The website also addresses some frequently asked questions.

Can current FLTCIP enrollees make changes to their current plans?
Current enrollees, according to the FLTCIP website, may make changes to their plan at any time, not just during the open season. However, they may not use an open season application to do so. They are advised to contact Long Term Care Partners at 1-800-LTC-FEDS.

What sort of questions are on the FLTCIP open season application?
The application form asks whether you are already in a long term care or assisted living situation or are receiving in-home assistance. There are also questions about medical conditions, medical devices and your current level of independence.

How much does long term care cost?
The FLTCIP website offers a premium calculator. Rates vary based on your age and amount of coverage.

What kind of care does FLTCIP insurance cover?
LTC insurance pays not only for nursing home and assisted living facilities but also for home health care. "Any kind of home- or community-based care is covered at 100 percent of whatever coverage amount you elect," said Forte. Flanagan noted that this also includes costs incurred by an "informal caregiver," such as an in-law or even a neighbor who takes care of the insured. The purpose of this, said Forte, is to allow the aging to stay in their own homes for as long as possible before being compelled by circumstance to enter an elder care facility. "About 67 percent of our claims are home care claims," added O'Brien.

Where can I get more information about this?
The website for federal employees that pertains directly to the open season is ltcfeds.com. There is also a general interest website for all citizens, the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information at longtermcare.gov.