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Washington, DC - In a strongly worded letter to heads of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry commended their commitment to work with OPM to control Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) premium costs.
"We understand and share your concerns and would not have agreed to a premium increase unless we believed it was a necessary step for the stability of the program," said Berry. "That said, we intend to conduct an overall evaluation of this program to determine if there are ways in which it can be more effectively and efficiently administered in the future."
Enrollees with the automatic compound inflation option (ACIO) will have until February 15, 2010, to make their decision from the personalized options they will receive by letter later this month or early November. This extends the original deadline of December 14, 2009, by two months and will ensure that every ACIO enrollee facing an increase will have at least three months to make the decision whether to accept the premium increase, change their current benefits to avoid the increase, or move to the new benefit plan. The delayed deadline will allow OPM and Long Term Care Partners, LLC, a subsidiary of John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, who underwrites and administers the FLTCIP, to engage in an aggressive education campaign to enrollees letting them know the range and impact of their options.
"Enrollees are faced with an important decision to make, and we want to make sure they have sufficient time to consider their alternatives," said Berry. "Therefore, OPM has worked with John Hancock to extend the original decision period for ACIO enrollees."
In addition, John Hancock will not collect the increased premium amounts above the enrollees' current premium for January or February 2010 for any ACIO enrollee whose premium will increase. The higher premiums, if applicable, will begin March 1, 2010. No one's benefits will change unless that individual enrollee agrees to change their benefits. If ACIO enrollees choose to change their benefits, the change will be effective January 1, 2010. If the benefit change results in a lower premium, the lower premium will be effective January 1, 2010 as well. It is only the increase in premiums that will begin March 1, 2010.
Closing the letter, Berry said: "The new educational and promotional materials for the program, introduced October 1 of this year, clearly emphasize premiums are not guaranteed. We will continue to look for ways to improve transparency in our materials. We sincerely appreciate your interest in the Program and are committed to working with you on ways in which it can be improved for current enrollees and those who may join in the future."
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.