KIRKLAND, Wash. /eNewsChannels/ — As part of health reform, American companies are required to enable their employees to participate in the public option for long-term care insurance, known as the Community Living Assistance and Supports (CLASS) program. Now being fleshed out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CLASS — though postponed until 2013 — calls for employees to be automatically enrolled, with payroll deductions, unless they opt out. This development, good for employees, comes with a headache for management, according to Todd Grove and Ed Jette, co-directors of the Worksite Academy, a newly-formed division of LTC Financial Partners, LLC (LTCFP), one of the nation’s largest long-term care insurance agencies.
“There’s a big roadblock to compliance,” says Grove. “The roadblock has three parts, all involving lack of information for making a complex decision.”
* First, management must develop an educational program to help employees decide if they should opt out of CLASS or let the payroll deductions begin. “But most organizations don’t have the internal know-how to do this,” says Jette.
* Second, the existence of CLASS gives companies the opportunity to offer their people private long-term care insurance alternatives. “But hardly any organizations have experience with LTCI as an employee benefit,” Grove points out.
* Third, most large companies rely on benefit brokers to help them decide on and implement their benefit packages. “This would not be a problem,” says Jette, “if the brokers knew all about CLASS and the many private policy options, but they don’t.” Grove adds that most private LTCI policies are placed by specialists. “LTCI is so complex – with so many carriers, features, regulations, and financial considerations – that it requires dedicated individuals who focus on nothing else.”
The three-part roadblock is the reason for Grove’s and Jette’s new organization. “We’ve developed a simple solution,” says Grove. “As LTCI specialists with years of worksite experience, we have the resources to educate employees on CLASS as well as the private alternatives; but we’re not competing with benefit brokers. We’re partnering with them.”
Benefit brokers, some already aligned, will call upon the Academy to offer their clients in-company presentations, workshops, and literature pertaining to CLASS and private LTCI. “This will free the brokers to focus on the benefit areas they’re familiar with,” says Jette. “They will also get commissions on all LTCI sales.”
The Academy’s specialized assistance will enable thousands of companies to offer the new benefits to millions of employees rapidly. “There’s relatively little time left,” says Grove. “On our own we just couldn’t do it before CLASS gets going. But as adjuncts to the benefit brokers, who already have the corporate relationships, we can.”
The Worksite Academy welcomes inquiries from benefit brokers in all states, and is currently recruiting people to work with the brokers and deliver the in-company education. More information is available at www.worksiteacademy.com .
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