Some members of Congress and federal employee organizations are calling for hearings into the recently announced premium increases in the FLTCIP long term care insurance program—although with Congress in recess through Labor Day, there will be little time for a close examination, much less any kind of action, before the September 30 end of the “enrollee decision period.” During that period, those affected by premium increases–averaging 83 percent and ranging up to 126 percent, according to OPM—can choose to reduce their benefits to soften or cancel out the increase, or, in most cases, switch to a paid-up option which requires no further premiums but which provides only a much lower potential benefit. Other changes in elections also are allowed, although underwriting would apply to any increase. Those who make no choice will keep their current coverage, by default when the higher rates kick in November 1. The increases affect all but a few percent of enrollees, primarily those enrolling starting last August. Those enrollees currently are paying at higher rates than those who enrolled before, at the same age and for the same coverage options. But once the premium increases hit the pre-August 2015 enrollment group, that group will be paying more. In both cases, the increases were blamed on higher than projected outlays—due to factors including increasing longevity—and lower than projected income from the plan’s investment of its reserves.
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