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State Senator

Saud Anwar

Representing East Hartford, Ellington, East Windsor and South Windsor

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Senators Anwar, Lesser Hold Forum on Long-Term Care Insurance

EAST HARTFORD - Today, State Senators Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) held a forum discussing long-term care insurance plans, premiums and expenses at the East Hartford Cultural Community Center featuring Josh Hershman, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Insurance Department, Paul Lombardo, director of life and health for the CID, and Gerard O’Sullivan, consumer affairs director for the CID.

As Sen. Lesser is Senate Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and Sen. Anwar is a member of that committee, they both worked Wednesday to better understand the increasing issues long-term care insurance pose for buyers and members of the public, potentially using that information to develop legislation to be introduced in future years. With Deputy Commissioner Hershman and Directors Lombardo and O’Sullivan, they additionally worked to inform the public of what they know of the insurance cost premium issue and how they hope to respond to it in the future.

“In recent months, I’ve heard a number of concerns from my constituents regarding long-term care insurance, with some extreme cases involving premium payment increases of up to 300 percent,” said Sen. Anwar. “Seeing as most buyers and users of long-term care insurance purchase it to protect them from rising medical costs as they age, these increases pose a direct risk and threat to their well-being. Whether an individual has to drop their insurance or choose which bills to pay to afford the insurance – which many people have paid into for years, if not decades – this is an issue that we must address now and cannot allow to worsen. This forum is an opportunity for us to not only inform the public of what we know, but to learn from their experiences as well, giving us more insight of what we can do in the 2020 legislative session to lessen their struggles.”

“Families and seniors are facing real sticker shock from astronomical long term care insurance hikes,” Sen. Lesser said. “America is facing nothing less than a crisis in long term care. Today’s forum was an opportunity to hear from the Connecticut Insurance Department about the state of regulation, and opportunity to hear from members of the public about how this is affecting them. I am committed to working with Senator Anwar and other members of the Insurance Committee as we try to find ways to ease the burden on policyholders.”

At least 16 percent of Connecticut’s population, more than 575,000 people, were or are over the age of 65 as of 2016, creating a growing problem for long-term care insurance holders. In recent years, fewer companies provide the service, and cost plans are increasing at precipitous rates, often because providers’ financial models underestimated price increases of medical expenses. A Los Angeles Times column published Oct. 1 gave the example of one policy rate growing by 80 percent year-to-year.

Sens. Anwar and Lesser are aware of the issue and seek to put steps in place to lower insurance rates, providing rate holders with financial security and knowledge that their health will not be negatively impacted by these changes. Potential strategies mentioned by Sen. Anwar in an August opinion-editorial piece published in newspapers around the state included a potential cap on premium increases, integrating long-term care expenses into Medicare, or required transparency and oversight of premium hikes. Sens. Anwar and Lesser plan to discuss future legislative proposals with their colleagues on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.

 

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