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Compromise aimed at insurance insolvencies

A new bill marks an agreement between life- and health-insurance companies.

Compromise legislation hammered out between life- and health-insurance companies over liability for long-term care costs has been filed for the upcoming Session.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, on Thursday filed SB 626, which would expand the lines of insurance subject to assessments to cover the liability of insurance companies that become insolvent.

Long-term care insurance helps pay for such things as nursing-home care or home health care.

As policyholders lived longer, insurers saw claims skyrocket. Long-term care policies have been generally written by life-insurance companies as a rider to health-insurance policies.

Currently, though, only health-insurance companies face potential assessments in situations of insolvency.

Under the compromise, life-insurance companies agreed to pay assessments.

But the companies required that HMOs — some of which are owned by health insurance companies — also were liable for assessments.

Florida Association of Health Plans President Audrey Brown said her group supports the bill.

“With instability in the long term care insurance market, the life and health insurance industry came together to promote a solution to impending long term care insolvencies. SB 626 includes the core principles of that solution — to broaden the assessment base between life and health insurers, including HMOs, which will create a larger safety net for future insolvent companies,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “Florida seniors purchased long term care products to plan for their futures and protect their families.”

Some estimates show that as many as 30 percent of the long-term care policyholders now live in Florida.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners announced in December that a compromise was reached on the thorny issue.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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