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Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program Frequently Asked Questions
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Cost FAQ



General
Paying for the Coverage

General

Q. How much does Federal long term care insurance cost?
A. You can use the premium calculator at www.ltcfeds.com to determine the premiums for your age and options. The calculator will also give you the ability to compare premiums with various options to help you to select the options that are best for you.

Q. Do you guarantee that the premiums will never increase?
A. No, we cannot guarantee that. No one has a crystal ball. However, the premiums we accepted from LTC Partners are realistically priced and follow the National Association of Insurance Commissioners premium stability guidelines. The premiums are expected to be level for life (unless of course you choose the future purchase option for inflation protection, which by definition has an increase in premium whenever your benefits increase). If LTC Partners requests an increase in premiums, we will do everything we can to come up with alternative ways to deal with the situation before agreeing to a rate increase. And we certainly do not expect a rate increase now or anytime in the future. MetLife and John Hancock have never increased their rates for employer-sponsored group long term care insurance.

Q. Does the Federal government contribute a portion of the cost of long term care insurance?
A. No, by law there is no Government contribution. Enrollees are responsible for paying 100% of the cost. This is typical of private industry practice for this type of insurance.

Q. What is the benefit to purchasing this insurance if the Government doesn't contribute toward the cost of premiums?
A. One of the real advantages of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is that it is an employer-sponsored product that OPM considers to be an important part of the Government's overall compensation package. This means the policy must stay contemporary with the best policies offered by other employers. So you can count on OPM to keep abreast of changes in how long term care services are provided and to make appropriate changes in your policy.

You can also feel confident that the LTC Partners team of MetLife and John Hancock that OPM selected to provide the long term care insurance product is among the best in the business in terms of customer service and financial strength and stability. The selection and premium setting process involved experts from a number of agencies as well as the insurance industry. You can be confident that you are getting good value for your premium dollar — the law requires that premiums reflect the cost of benefits provided.

Q. What are the premiums based on?

A.
  • Your premiums will be based on your age when you buy the coverage (the younger you are when you buy, the lower the premiums, all else being equal.) You will pay permiums based on your age on the date that Long Term Care Partners receives your application.
  • Your premiums will also vary based on the benefits you choose.
  • When you choose the automatic compound inflation option, the premium is designed to be level for life. When you choose the future purchase option for inflation protection, your premiums will increase as your benefits increase.
  • Premiums are the same for all purchasers of the same coverage at the same age -- employees, annuitants, and all the other eligible groups.
  • The coverage is guaranteed renewable. That means that the insurance carrier cannot cancel your coverage unless you stop paying premiums (or unless you commit fraud when completing your application).

Q. I am already enrolled in this Program and am retiring. Will my premiums increase because I'm retiring?
A. No. Premiums are the same for all purchasers of the same coverage at the same age. Premiums do not increase just because you're retiring.

Q. I've found other policies in the private sector that are cheaper than yours. But you say your premiums are less expensive. What gives?
A. Regarding cost, it is extremely difficult to accurately compare the cost of two different plans. Even if they look similar in most respects, we have found that there are usually numerous differences between competing plans that can significantly affect their cost. You really need to make sure that you are comparing the exact same benefits. For instance, we know that some people have compared our rates for Automatic Compound Inflation with rates for ACI offered at 3 percent. Our program offers the ACI increase at 5%. Of course a plan with a 3% increase will be less expensive. That is not a comparable benefit.

Long Term Care Partners's research indicates that the Federal Program is roughly 15-20% less expensive than comparable policies now available on the retail market. They arrived at this conclusion by examining several of the leading policies available, making adjustments for provisions that were not equal to those of the Federal Program, and then comparing rates.

For example, they made adjustments for the more generous coverage of care provided by an informal caregiver, including certain family members. Another provision that is richer than the typical retail plan is the coverage for Care Coordination services for insureds and their qualified relatives. Under the Federal Program, Care Coordination means patient advocacy, and is much more expansive than in the typical retail product. Still another difference is that the Federal Program does not contain a war exclusion, an issue of concern to many members of the Federal Family.

It is true that for some people rates in the retail marketplace can be reduced by spousal and preferred health discounts. The Federal Program chose not to target discounts to select groups. Rather, our aim was to offer the lowest possible rates to ALL who qualify under the underwriting standards.

It should be noted that the Federal Program offers a seven year rate guarantee, backed by two of the finest LTC insurers in the nation (John Hancock and MetLife) -- companies with respected brands and high independent financial ratings. And this does not mean that the rates will simply increase in year 8. Any increase requires OPM approval and OPM has stated that it intends these premiums to be level for life (unless of course you choose the Future Purchase Option and do not decline the increases -- then by design your rates will increase). Plus, those insured under the Federal Program will enjoy the continuing oversight of OPM, who will monitor experience and make sure that the benefit design is kept up-to-date over time. Most retail plans do not contain such guarantees.


Paying for the Coverage

Q. What are my choices for paying premiums?
A. You have three options for paying your long term care insurance premiums: Automatic Bank Withdrawal, Payroll/Annuity Deduction and Direct Bill. You may also pay the premiums for any of your qualified relatives who apply and are approved for coverage, even if you don't apply or you apply and are denied coverage.

Q. Can you tell me more about automatic bank withdrawal?
A. You can choose to have premiums automatically deducted from your savings or your checking account. You can choose this option on your application, or change to this option at any time or for any reason, after submitting your application. To change to this option, you will need to complete a Billing Change form which you can get at www.ltcfeds.com or by calling 1-800-582-3337 (TTY: 1-800-843-3557). The deduction will automatically be processed from your checking or savings account on the third business day of every month. You will need to provide details about your account on your application. For checking account deductions, you will have to provide a voided check. For savings account deductions, you will have to provide a savings deposit slip. You will also have to sign a written authorization so that the deductions can begin.

Q. Can you tell me more about payroll/annuity deduction?
A. Most employees and annuitants, and active and retired members of the uniformed services can choose to pay for their premiums through payroll or annuity deduction. You can choose this option on your application, or change to this option at any time or for any reason, after submitting your application. To change to this option, you will need to complete a Billing Change form which you can get at www.ltcfeds.com or by calling 1-800-582-3337 (TTY: 1-800-843-3557).

You will need to provide your payroll/annuity office identifier. You can obtain this number by looking at the Payroll/Annuity Deduction Instruction Guide, available at www.ltcfeds.com or by calling 1-800-582-3337 (TTY: 1-800-843-3557). You will need to know the name of your agency or the office that pays your annuity. If you have one, you'll need to indicate your annuity claim number (CSA, CSF or CSI number) as well.

Q. Can you tell me more about automatic direct billing?
A. You can choose this option on your application, or change to this option at any time or for any reason, after submitting your application. To change to this option, you will need to complete a Billing Change form which you can get at www.ltcfeds.com or by calling 1-800-582-3337 (TTY: 1-800-843-3557). You will receive a bill to the designated mailing address you indicated on your application (or any subsequent address you gave Long Term Care Partners. The bill will arrive during the month before your premium is due. You have to pay at least one month's premium, but you can pay in advance if you'd like.

Q. I am a Federal civilian (or U.S. Postal Service) annuitant and my annuity is serviced by OPM. What is my annuity office identifier?
A. It is 24900002.

Q. I am a U.S. Postal Service employee. What is my payroll office identifier?
A. It is 18000009.

Q. How can I find out my payroll/annuity office identifier? No one in my agency seems to know what this number is.
A. You will need this number if you're choosing payroll/annuity deduction to pay your premiums. You can obtain this number by looking at the Payroll/Annuity Deduction Instruction Guide, available at www.ltcfeds.com or by calling 1-800-582-3337 (TTY: 1-800-843-3557). In order to look up your proper identifier, you will need to know the name of your agency or the office that pays your annuity.

Q. Can Navy Personnel Command (BUPERS) employees and retirees pay premiums through payroll/annuity deduction?
A. Payroll/annuity deduction is not available for Navy Personnel Command (BUPERS) employees and retirees at this time. They have the choice of paying premiums through automatic bank withdrawal or by direct billing.

Q. Can eligible District of Columbia employees and annuitants pay premiums through payroll/annuity deduction?
A. At this time, eligible District of Columbia employees cannot have premiums deducted from their pay. However, eligible District of Columbia annuitants may have premiums deducted from their annuity. Annuitants will be asked to provide a "payroll/annuity office identifier" and their CSA/CSF number on their applications. The annuity office identifier is 24900002.

Q. Can D.C. Courts employees and annuitants pay premiums through payroll deduction?
A. Yes. You will be asked to provide a "payroll/annuity office identifier" on your application. Choose the appropriate payroll/annuity office identifier as shown below:

Where you currently work Your payroll office identifier
D.C. Superior Courts GSASC
D.C. Courts System GSAFN
D.C. Courts of Appeal GSACO
Retired; annuity serviced by OPM 24900002

Q. I chose payroll deduction of premiums. When will the deductions start being taken out of my pay?
A. Your first deduction will be taken from the paycheck that covers the first full pay period that begins on or after your effective date of coverage. For many employees, this means that you may not actually see the premiums deducted from your pay until several weeks or so after your coverage has gone into effect. For example, a February 1 effective date may be in the middle of a pay period. Premium deduction will begin during the next full pay period and show up in your check following that pay period.

Q. I chose annuity deduction of premiums. When will the deductions start being taken from my annuity?
A. Your first deduction will be taken from the annuity check that pays you for the month in which your coverage begins. Since your annuity is paid in arrears, your premiums won't be deducted until the month after your effective date of coverage. For example, if you have a February 1 effective date, your first deduction will be taken from the check you receive in March, since that check covers your February payment. Your coverage would still be effective on February 1.

Q. Can employees/annuitants pay for the insurance premiums from their Federal salary/annuity for qualified relatives?
A. Yes, but both parties must agree to this arrangement — the employee/annuitant and the relative who was approved for the insurance coverage.

Q. In order to pay for the insurance premiums from my Federal salary/annuity for my qualified relatives, do I also have to be enrolled?
A. No.

Q. Can surviving spouses of active members of the uniformed services and surviving spouses of retired members of the uniformed services elect to have premiums deducted from their survivor annuity?
A. No they cannot. The system that processes the annuity payment is not equipped to deduct premiums from the survivor annuity.

Q. When are premiums waived?
A. You will not have to pay premiums if you are eligible for benefits and have satisfied your waiting period. Premiums are also waived if you are eligible for benefits and receiving hospice care, even though no waiting period applies to hospice care. If you satisfy the requirements for waiver of premium on the first day of a month, the waiver will take effect on that date. Otherwise, the waiver will take effect on the first day of the following month. If, at a later date, you are no longer eligible for benefits (e.g., you recover) and wish to maintain your coverage, you will have to resume paying premiums.

Q.If I stop paying premiums, will I still have benefits based on what I've already paid in premiums?
A. No, our Program does not offer paid-up benefits. If you stop paying premiums, and you're not in an approved claim status, your coverage will end.

Q. If I cancel my coverage, or if I don't use the benefits, will I get my premiums back?
A. Within 30 days after you receive your Benefit Booklet from Long Term Care Partners (which you will get automatically if your application is approved), you may cancel your coverage and you will receive a full refund of any premium you may have already paid for the coverage. This is called a "30 Day Free Look".

You may cancel your coverage anytime after that 30 day period, but you would not receive a full refund of your premiums. You would receive a refund of any premium that you paid to cover any period after the effective date of your cancellation.

Q. I pay my FLTCIP premiums via payroll deduction and am transferring to a new agency. Will my payroll deduction switch over automatically to my new location?
A. No, this won't happen automatically. You need to take action. To continue payroll deduction of your premiums, you must contact LTC Partners as soon as you know where and when you will be transferring. They will work with your new agency location to set up payroll deductions there.

Depending on when you contact LTC Partners with information on your transfer, they may not be able to get your payroll deduction changed over in time for your first paycheck at the new location. This is because of the timing of payroll information that goes back and forth between LTC Partners and the agencies. If that's the case, you will automatically receive a direct bill from LTC Partners for the premiums due that were not collected through payroll deduction. Payroll deductions are not adjusted to "catch up" uncollected premiums, so it's important for you to pay the direct bill(s) promptly when you receive them to keep your FLTCIP coverage current.

To report your transfer, please call the Customer Service Center at LTC Partners at 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337, option #3) (TTY 1-800-843-3557).

Q. I'm retiring. I currently pay my FLTCIP premiums through payroll deduction. What do I need to do to pay my premiums through my annuity?
A. You will need to contact LTC Partners to let them know that you are retiring. Deductions will not automatically transfer from your agency to your retirement system - you need to take action. As soon as LTC Partners hears from you, they will work with your retirement system to set up premium deductions from your annuity.

If you are retiring under CSRS or FERS, premiums for FLTCIP cannot be deducted from your annuity while you are receiving "interim payments" (sometimes called "special pay"). This means that until OPM finalizes your annuity, LTC Partners must bill you directly for the premiums due. Once your annuity is finalized, LTC Partners can begin to deduct premiums from your annuity. Annuity deductions are not adjusted to "catch up" uncollected premiums, so it's important for you to pay the direct bills promptly when you receive them to keep your FLTCIP coverage current.

To report your retirement, please call the Customer Service Center at Long Term Care Partners at 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337, option #3) (TTY 1-800-843-3557).

Q. Why have I received a "Bill for Uncollected Annuity Premium" when I am currently paying my premiums through annuity deduction?
A. There are times when Long Term Care Partners is unable to collect premiums through annuity deduction. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • They missed a deduction for a particular month because of timing issues related to when they had the correct information to send to your retirement system and when your annuity was actually processed.
  • Your annuity was insufficient to cover your premium.

In order to keep your account current, Long Term Care Partners is billing you now for the past uncollected premium balance. They do not make adjustments to your annuity deduction for uncollected premiums. Your current and future annuity deductions for long term care insurance premiums are not affected by this bill.

Please do NOT call OPM’s Retirement Information Office (RIO) with any questions on this bill. The OPM annuity system does not capture the reason why a particular annuity deduction for long term care insurance premiums was not made.

Long Term Care Partners will be happy to assist you with any specific questions or concerns you may have regarding this bill. Please call their Customer Service Center at 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337), option #3 (TTY 1-800-843-3557).

Q. Why have I received a "Bill for Uncollected Payroll Premium" when I am currently paying my premiums through payroll deduction?
A. There are times when Long Term Care Partners is unable to collect premiums through payroll deduction. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • They missed a deduction for a particular pay period because of timing issues. They did not have the correct information to request a deduction from your payroll location before the cut-off date for a particular pay period.
  • You briefly went into a non-pay status.
  • A particular paycheck was insufficient to cover your premium.

In order to keep your account current, Long Term Care Partners is billing you now for the past uncollected premium balance. They do not make adjustments to your payroll deduction for uncollected premiums. Your current and future payroll deductions for long term care insurance premiums are not affected by this bill.

Long Term Care Partners is happy to assist you with any specific questions or concerns you may have regarding this bill. Please call their Customer Service Center at 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337), option #3 (TTY 1-800-843-3557).


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Page updated November 24, 2003