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News Release

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Highlights Importance of Educating Federal Employees on Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

James Encourages Agencies to Use Retirement Seminars as Vehicle for Providing Additional Expert Information on the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James believes it is important that federal employees be fully informed about the options of long-term care insurance and is urging department heads to make expert information about the OPM-sponsored Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program a routine part of agency retirement seminars.

James said: "I fully believe federal employees when presented with accurate and timely information can make good and timely decisions on their health-care and long-term care insurance. This is an issue of great importance to employees, but also a responsibility to their loved ones and their families."

In a November 10 memorandum to the heads of departments and agencies, James highlighted the importance of individuals looking into the FLTCIP as a way to plan for the potential health-care and financial needs of retirement, saying it can help "protect retirement assets against the potentially high cost of long-term care."

Under terms of the contract with OPM, James said Long Term Care Partners (LTC Partners), which underwrites the FLTCIP, will make available representatives who are "fully qualified" to provide detailed information on the FLTCIP, "answer specific questions about the Program, and provide one-on-one counseling" to employees. LTC Partners provides the expertise at no cost to government agencies.

James added that retirement seminars are "exceptional venues" for making representatives from LTC Partners available to provide "accurate information" on the FLTCIP.

Accompanying the memo was a Benefits Administration Letter containing contact information at LTC Partners so that agencies can arrange for expert representatives at retirement seminars.

James' memo is intended to ensure that agencies have FLTCIP representatives on hand at retirement seminars to provide employees with a full range of options and information that will allow them to compare their product with the insurance products of outside financial planners and agents attending the seminars.

"This is all about educating employees and giving them choices," said James. "The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is an outstanding value that offers benefits people desire and at affordable rates, and which should appeal to many, many employees."

Coverage under the FLTCIP became available last year to employees and retirees of the federal government and the U.S. Postal Service, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and qualified relatives. To date, more than 200,000 individuals are enrolled in the program.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.

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