Volume 6, Issue 5 May 2015


Our monthly newsletter addresses consumer insurance topics as well as timely information on issues affecting senior citizens in Louisiana.


To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to: consumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov

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Find Medicare Help Near You

The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) with the Department of Insurance has recently launched two online resources to assist Medicare beneficiaries in finding the right coverage and staying informed about their options.

The 2015 Medicare Supplement Comparison Guide is now available in the Senior Health publication section and contains information on cost and benefits offered by various companies writing Medicare Supplement Insurance in Louisiana. Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is private health insurance designed to supplement Original Medicare benefits, which do not pay all of a beneficiary's medical expenses.

The Comparison Guide includes an outline of the benefits provided by Medicare, a glossary of commonly used terms, buyer's tips and rate quotes from the companies who chose to participate in the guide. Those with Original Medicare may purchase or change their Supplement Plan at any time.

The Senior Health Insurance Information Program has also released a new online tool to aid beneficiaries in finding answers to their Medicare questions. The SHIIP Partners page includes an interactive map of Louisiana from which beneficiaries can select the area of the state in which they live and get a list of SHIIP Partners located close to home. SHIIP has partnered with agencies across the state that have trained Medicare counselors who can provide free assistance with making Medicare decisions and information on saving money on Medicare costs and prescription drugs.

The Department of Insurance and SHIIP are proud to release these valuable online tools as Medicare is celebrating its50th anniversary this year.

Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance: Is it right for you?

Americans are living longer than ever. As life expectancy increases so does the number of people requiring long-term care during their later years in life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 12 million of the nation's senior citizens will require long-term care by 2020.

The cost of long-term care can be a financial strain, therefore long-term care insurance may make sense as part of your financial planning strategy. Below are some tips and information provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to help you determine if long-term care insurance is right for you.

The low-down...

Long-term care refers to a wide range of medical, personal and social services. Oftentimes, someone with a prolonged physical illness, disability or a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's needs specialized care. Long-term care insurance is designed to help cover long-term services such as help with daily activities, home health, respite or hospice care, adult day care, or a move to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Long-term care insurance will pay for or reimburse policyholders an amount for qualified services. Policies normally pay benefits by the day, week or month. You may choose a benefit period that is a specific number of days, months or years. A maximum benefit period can range from one year to the remainder of your lifetime.

Remember: Different policies cover various benefits and types of care. Most policies have limits on how long or the total amount they will pay.

The cost...

Much like any other type of insurance, you pay a premium for long-term care insurance and then the policy pays for covered services when you need them, up to limits in your policy. The cost depends on the type and amount of care you need and where you get it. Long-term care can be expensive and your premium may increase depending on services. Here are some other factors the cost of your policy can be impacted by:

  • Your age when you buy the policy.
  • The maximum amount the policy will pay per day.
  • The maximum number of days or years the policy will cover.
  • The lifetime maximum amount the policy will pay. (Determined by the amount per day times the number of days over the life of the policy.)
  • Any optional benefits you choose, such as benefits that increase with inflation.

The partnership...

Louisiana is one of the many states in the country that offer a partnership program to help make long-term care more affordable. The Louisiana Long-Term Care Partnership Program offers individuals a way to protect their assets if they ever need to apply for Medicaid services. The initiative encourages citizens to partner with the state-based program as they purchase qualified private long-term care insurance policies. For more information or If you would like to see a list of companies in Louisiana selling LTC Partnership policies, contact the Department of Insurance Long-Term Care Section at 1-800-259-5300.

Navigating the Risks of Home-Sharing Rentals

With the rise of the online sharing economy, home rental sites have proved a popular way for people to earn extra income by renting rooms or their entire home to paying guests. But serious insurance coverage questions arise when an insurer expects a home to be used in one way, and later discovers that conditions have changed.

Most homeowners policies provide coverage if a home visitor falls and is injured. However, that is likely not the case if a paying guest falls in your home. Homeowners policies usually exclude or provide very limited coverage for homeowners who are running a business in their home - and once you begin earning income from renting out your home or a room, you may be considered a home-based business.

To make sure you're protected, talk to your agent about your situation and participation in this activity. If you only occasionally rent a room or your house, your current homeowners insurer might be willing to provide an endorsement to protect you. However, if you plan to frequently rent out a room or the whole house, then you may want to consider purchasing a landlord policy (also known as landlord property insurance or rental coverage for landlords). A landlord insurance policy may be an option to cover your home, structures on the property, property contents that you own (such as appliances and furniture), lost rental income due to building damage, legal fees and liability protection. Your agent can provide guidance on the best type of coverage for your needs.

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Office of Consumer Advocacy
(225) 219-0619 or (800) 259-5300

P.O Box 94214

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214