Producer Alert: Illinois Makes Changes to LTC Training Requirement

New rules published last week by the Illinois Department of Insurance have made subtle yet significant changes to the training requirements for producers who sell long-term care coverage. Those same rules also provide some long-awaited guidance for insurance carriers who are interested in offering LTC policies in conjunction with the state’s somewhat mysterious Long Term Care Partnership Program.

Are There Changes to Licensing Requirements?
For producers wanting to sell LTC products, the basics of the licensing and training requirements remain the same: An individual who wishes to sell LTC insurance in the state must first have a health insurance license and complete an 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” training course. Then, in order to continue selling the insurance, the licensee must complete an additional 4 hours of LTC training every 2 years.

What’s The New LTC Training Deadline?
Until now, the 2-year deadline for completing the 4 hours of additional training was tied to the date of the producer’s most recent LTC course completion and not to the producer’s license expiration date. As a result, producers could only ensure compliance with their 4-hour requirement if they could remember the completion date of their initial 8-hour course and all of their subsequent 4-hour completion dates.
Effective immediately, the deadline for completing the additional 4 hours of training is identical to a producer’s license expiration date.

What If I Miss The Deadline?
In another change to the training requirements, the department has implemented a 12-month grace period for producers who fail to complete 4 hours of additional training. Producers who miss their 4-hour deadline will be able to complete their training during the grace period without having to repeat an 8-hour training course again. Be aware, however, that this grace period doesn’t exempt producers from having to complete 24 hours of continuing education (LTC training or otherwise) prior to renewing their license. Selling LTC insurance without the proper license or prior to completing the required 8-hour or 4-hour training continues to be a licensing violation.

What’s New With LTC Partnership Policies?
Besides the changes to producer training, the department’s new rules contain a list of requirements for Long Term Care Partnership policies. Already popular in other states, Partnership policies might allow beneficiaries to qualify for Medicaid without having to “spend down” practically all of their savings. For each dollar received in benefits from an Illinois Partnership policy, the recipient can shield one dollar of assets. Changes to the Illinois rules reflect model language from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

For help with any of your Illinois insurance CE needs, visit us online or call (800) 289-4310.

What Every Illinois Long Term Care Insurance Agent Needs to Know

Due in large part to their experiences with elderly family members, consumers are becoming more aware of long-term care (LTC) insurance. Depending on a person’s assets and financial goals, this insurance can be a valuable way of covering bills from nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or at-home nursing providers. But the rules for agents who want to sell LTC insurance in Illinois have confused many licensees. We’ve contacted high-ranking officials at the Illinois Department of Insurance in order to clear up some common misunderstandings.

An individual who wishes to sell LTC insurance in Illinois must first have a health insurance license and complete an 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” training course. Then, in order to continue selling the insurance, the licensee must complete an additional 4 hours of LTC training every 2 years. If a producer misses the deadline for completing 4 hours of additional training, the 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” course must be repeated.

Unfortunately, several LTC producers—and even some insurance schools—don’t understand how the deadline for the 4-hour requirement is calculated. Many mistakenly believe that the due date for the additional training is the same as their license renewal date. Others assume that the deadline is forever tied to the date when they completed the 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” course. This, too, is incorrect.

If you sell LTC insurance in Illinois, your deadline for completing your next 4 hours of LTC training is 2 years from the date of your most recent LTC course completion. Let’s illustrate how this works with a hypothetical example.

Paul Producer took the 8-hour “Long Term Care (Partnership)” course on April 1, 2009. Paul had until April 1, 2011, to complete 4 hours of additional LTC training, but he chose to complete it a bit earlier on March 25, 2011. Based on his most recent LTC course completion date, Paul’s next 4 hours of LTC training must be completed by March 25, 2013.

Be aware that the deadline mentioned here applies only to LTC training requirements. The deadline for completing 24 hours of continuing education (including 3 hours of live ethics training) continues to be tied to a producer’s license expiration date. Also, deadlines are dependent on state rules and departmental interpretations. If we become aware of any changes, we’ll report about them on this blog.

Real Estate Institute offers insurance education approved by the Illinois Department of Insurance..Approved provider #102877.  To learn about our LTC courses, click the following: 8-hr LTC (Partnership) and 4-hr LTC.