Several politicians have urged the OPM to delay federal long-term-care insurance program price hike but the agency has simply rejected the request. It says that if the prices are not increased now, they will increase further in the future. On the other hand, the lawmakers claim that the price hike is unfair for the members of the program.
Lawmakers on Federal Long-Term-Care Insurance Program Price Hike
Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Don Beyer (Va.) and Gerry Connolly (Va.) sent a letter to the OPM Acting Director, Beth Cobert in which they requested that the agency delay the federal long-term-care insurance program price hike. The letter criticized the agency for deciding to approve the increase that will average 83 percent and can go up to 126 percent.
The letter quoted some literature sent to the members of the program in the year 2002. The literature states that the premiums can only change with OPM’s approval and that the premiums cannot be changed on an individual basis but only on a group. It must be mentioned here that John Hancock Life and Health Insurance offers the insurance to the members of the program.
In the letter, the Lawmakers also mentioned that the members of the program were blindsided and they now have the options of either paying high amount of premiums or dropping the coverage. This is not fair for all the members who have stuck with the program since the day it was initiated. The letter also asked OPM to extend the deadline for making a decision on whether a person wishes to continue with federal long-term-care insurance program or not.
OPM has rejected the request made by the lawmakers by stating that if the agency delays the increase, the amount of premiums a member of the program has to pay would increase with time. It is so because the increase would take into account and correct the extra time that had inadequate premiums.
This rejection comes as a big blow for the 264,000 enrollees of the program, most of who are against the federal long-term-care insurance program price hike. They are still seeking the answer to the questions like why the changes in actuarial projections happened so quickly that its justifies the premium hike, why OPM didn’t offer an advance notice on the impact of the projections on the members and how the agency plans to ensure that such hikes don’t happen in the future.