Long-Term Care Insurance: Carrier Interest in the Federal Program, Changes to Its Actuarial Assumptions, and OPM Oversight

GAO-11-630 Published: Jul 11, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 2011.
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Since 2002, the federal government has offered long-term care insurance to its employees, retirees, and certain others through the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Enrollees pay the full cost of their premiums. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) oversees the program. OPM has held two competitive processes to select contractors to insure enrollees and administer FLTCIP, although interest in and competition for these contracts has been limited. In 2009, soon after OPM's award of FLTCIP's second 7-year contract to John Hancock Life Insurance Company (John Hancock), 66 percent of enrollees were notified that their premiums would increase up to 25 percent in order to compensate for how the actuarial assumptions used to set premiums differed from the program's experience. GAO was asked to review FLTCIP. In this report, GAO describes (1) factors affecting carriers' interest in FLTCIP, (2) how the actuarial assumptions used to set FLTCIP premiums have changed since the program's inception, and (3) OPM's oversight of actuarial assumptions and experience and program communications. To do so, GAO interviewed officials from six carriers that in 2009 insured over 60 percent of all long-term care insurance policyholders. GAO also interviewed officials from OPM and John Hancock and reviewed program documentation, including FLTCIP contracts.

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