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COVID-19 and Operations Related to Long-Term Care Insurance

As a result of COVID-19, long-term care in the United States has undergone a catastrophic and horrific transformation. In the United States, 23% of COVID-19 deaths have been linked to persons who either lived or worked in long-term care facilities. In the face of such a bleak reality, everything else seems insignificant. There has been an impact on the operations of long-term care insurance companies and the service providers of LTCI companies. Panelists at the Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, discussed the implications of these changes last Monday. At Faegre Drinker were Micki Lockard, CNA Financial’s director of long-term care claims and compliance, and Jeff Ferrand, LTCG’s vice president of fraud services. Faegre Drinker and I are collaborating on a podcast about long-term care planning.

The Facilities

Since the pandemic began, 250,000 workers have been laid off from long-term care institutions in the United States, and their capacity to satisfy minimal staffing needs has been impacted, Johnson said. According to Lockard, recruiting quality staff has proven difficult for home healthcare organizations. In many parts of the country, home healthcare agencies pay $12 to $14 an hour. On the other hand, retail giant Target pays $18 an hour. Since LTC institutions suffer from a significant labor shortage, fewer patients are admitted.

The Insurers

According to Lockard, LTCI issuers like CNA benefited from the pandemic-related move to working from home in one way: CNA was able to hire people outside of its geographic region. However, this put the business in direct rivalry with other companies in the same sector in other regions. Many managers have had difficulty maintaining personnel because of the problem of managing them remotely. Insurance companies are reacting to this staffing shortage by seeking to make more use of automation.

Legal Considerations

Faegre Drinker assists LTCI issuers with legal concerns. Jones expressed worry about the impact on insurers’ access to medical records of the pandemic-related shift to working from home. Insurers are refusing some LTCI claims because of delays in acquiring doctors’ records, Jones said. She stated an issuer might reopen a claim if it seemed reasonable. Another issue is that insurers are relying largely on video records rather than face-to-face consultations to assess insureds. Another difficulty is how to deal with insurance that only covers facility-based treatment when lockdowns force the insureds to use home healthcare services. However, according to Jones’ statement, some insureds have succeeded in persuading issuers of facility-only plans to pay for home care.

The Investigators

Ferrand helps LTCG examine claims concerning LTCI-related fraud, waste, and abuse. He claimed that travel difficulties caused by the epidemic had hampered investigators’ capacity to interrogate individuals, get evidence, and place persons suspected of wrongdoing under surveillance. Using virtual interviews instead of in-person interviews has saved investigators money, he added.
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I advocate for federal employees making the best benefit and retirement decisions for their unique situations. After a 25 year career in personal banking I saw a need for financial education and retirement planning for those approaching retirement. In recent years I have focused primarily on federal employee from both the CSRS & FERS systems. These federal employee face challenges in getting the information they need to make the best decisions for creating a successful retirement plan. I assist these individuals in navigating the retirement process.

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