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New Legislation Strengthens, Safeguards Long-Term Care Choices

The law creates standards for long-term care insurance to make such coverage more secure and portable.

 

Thanks to a new state law eight years in the making, seniors now have more assurances that the long-term care they need will be available.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed “An Act Establishing Standards for Long-Term Care Insurance,” which "ensures the availability of long-term care insurance policies, protects long-term care applicants from unfair or deceptive sales or enrollment practices, and promotes flexibility and customization according to an individual’s long-term care needs," according to the governor's office.

The legislation, signed Oct. 25, also provides new safeguards, such as:

  • a policy may not be cancelled on the basis of age or deterioration of mental or physical health
  • a long-term care policy may not contain a provision containing a new pre-existing condition limitation period when existing coverage is converted to a new one within the same insurance company
  • the policy may not provide coverage for skilled nursing care only
  • or provide significantly more coverage for skilled care than coverage for lower levels of care.

Furthermore, it ensures that residents enrolled in group policies issued outside the Commonwealth are covered even if the need for long-term care is not immediate. And policies bought in Massachusetts will be more portable across state lines since they will be required to meet federal standards for long-term care insurance coverage.

“This was a long, hard fought battle,” Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord) said. “Through the efforts of my constituents and colleagues we now have the ability to protect Massachusetts residents from exploitation when purchasing long-term care insurance and in their senior years. This is a smart move for Massachusetts as we work to make affordable health care accessible to every resident, and I am thrilled to have played a role in this bill’s passing.”

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