Trio of Mass. Agencies Agree to Provide Long-Term Care Disclosures to Residents

July 13, 2004

Three Massachusetts insurance agencies have agreed to each pay $2,500 in civil penalties and provide legally required information about long-term care insurance, under the terms of three separate assurances of discontinuances, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.

The assurances, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, allege that Clower Insurance and Financial Strategies Inc., of Medfield, Eisenberg Associates of Newton, and Ronald P. Miles Insurance Agency LLC of Stoneham, failed to provide potential long-term care insurance customers with required information, which is a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.

Long term care insurance provides benefits to cover some of the costs of services people need who develop a chronic illness or cognitive impairment. Depending on the policy, covered services may be provided in a variety of locations, including a nursing home, assisted living facility, Alzheimer’s facility, rest home, in the community, or in an insured’s home. Many consumers pay premiums for several years before submitting claims to their insurance provider.

Under state Division of Insurance regulations aimed at protecting consumers and helping them to make informed decisions, insurance agents are required to “provide for full and fair disclosure of the provisions of long-term care insurance policies.” The regulations outline the information that agents must provide to consumers at various stages in the application process.

For example, agents must provide a copy of Your Options for Financial Long-Term Care: A Massachusetts Guide at a time that is “no later than the first face-to-face contact between the potential insured and the agent.” The guide, which is available on DOI’s Web site, provides consumers with information on a wide range of topics including costs, financing options and alternatives to long-term care insurance.

The agencies named in these assurances all deny unlawful or wrongful conduct or unfair or deceptive business practices.

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