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OPM to federal workers: Opt out of LTC program with care

How important is long-term care insurance? Private financial planners would likely agree that LTC insurance is a "must have" item, if you can get your hands on it. It's not as widely available as it used to be, but the value of LTC coverage is highlighted by the fact that there is a program for protecting federal workers in Texas and across the United States.

That said, just because coverage is available doesn't mean it is affordable. Indeed, the costs of premiums are going up whether you are in the private or public sector. However, as was recently announced by the Office of Personnel Management, there is a feature in the federal program that could allow a large number of employees to opt out of the premiums while retaining some of the benefits. The question to ask, says OPM, is "Is it worth it?"

The way the OPM explains it, rates on average for 60 percent of employees are going to increase an average of about 83 percent in November. However, there's a little-known provision in the program that could help. Those who qualify for what's called the "contingent benefit upon lapse" provision can stop paying premiums. Alternatively, could choose to maintain premiums at current levels. In either of those cases, the benefits would be reduced accordingly.

Coverage under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program provides for care delivered at home, in a nursing home and other forms of care that a recipient might need. The premiums are paid fully by the employee and vary depending on when the person enrolled in the coverage.

No one ever said working for the federal government was easy. Still, OPM says it's prepared to field questions any worker might have. If you feel, though, that you have already been wrongly denied benefits you are due, consulting an attorney should be considered.

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