Florida bills could shield LTCI policies

Elaine Schwartz has introduced the bill in the state House; Dwight Bullard, in the Senate. (AP photo: J. Pat Carter) Elaine Schwartz has introduced the bill in the state House; Dwight Bullard, in the Senate. (AP photo: J. Pat Carter)

Two Florida bills could help long-term care insurance (LTCI) policyholders who lose lawsuits or run into financial problems.

The bills would protect the LTCI policyholders by providing an exemption from "attachment, garnishment or other legal processor" for a debtor's interest in an LTCI policy.

If implemented as written, the statute based on the bills would take effect July 1.

State Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, Fla., has introduced the state House version, H.B. 1227.

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, Fla., has introduced the Senate version, S.B. 1714.

S.B. 1714 is under the jurisdiction of the Banking and Insurance Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee in the Senate.

In the House, H.B. 1227 is under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee insurance and civil justice subcommittees.

Members of the civil justice subcommittee moved earlier this week to support the bill with a 12-0 vote.

A House staff analyst suggested in a review of the bill that it could have a positive effect on state government finances, by reducing the likelihood that private LTCI holders will end up using Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.

Florida has a "partnership" program that encourages state residents to buy private LTCI coverage, by coordinating Medicaid benefits with private LTCI benefits, the analyst said.

"This bill has the effect of promoting the stated legislative purposes of the long-term insurance partnership, by protecting interests of debtors who require long-term care," the analyst said.

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