State Health Commissioner Novello Announces $500,000 Media Campaign to Promote Long Term Care Insurance

NYS's Partnership Plan Enrollment Has Increased 66 Percent Since 1997

Albany, April 4, 2001 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr.Ph. today announced that the State Health Department has mounted a $500,000 statewide media campaign to enhance New Yorkers' awareness of the need for long–term care planning, and to increase their knowledge of the New York State Partnership for Long–Term Care.

"It's essential for New Yorkers to prepare for the future and for their future health care needs. New York's Long Term Care Partnership program can help people who are looking to prepare for the future; both financially and for their long–term health," Governor George E. Pataki said. "Here in New York, we have seen the number of people participating in the Partnership program increase by 66 percent since 1997. I urge those New Yorkers who want to prepare responsibly for the future, so that they have the resources to pay for their long–term care, to look into this important health insurance program."

State Senator Kemp Hannon said, "New York has been at the forefront in providing an affordable long–term care product for our residents. Through the Partnership, we can confidently plan for our care needs as we grow older."

Dr. Novello said, "Thanks to the support of Governor Pataki and Senator Hannon, we are earmarking $500,000 for radio and television spots and newspaper advertising in New York City and major upstate media markets. We are developing Spanish, Chinese and Russian versions of Partnership materials and developing web–based training modules for financial planners and insurance agents."

The Partnership, which is administered by the State Health Department, represents a unique collaboration of state government agencies and the insurance industry. By linking private insurance policy benefits with special eligibility for the Medicaid program, which allows total asset protection for program participants, the Partnership provides lifetime coverage for long–term care beyond the private policy term, if needed.

According to a recent report by the New York State Insurance Department, more New Yorkers than ever before are planning for their future security by purchasing long–term care insurance policies. According to industry figures reported to the Insurance Department, the total number of long–term care policies in New York State increased by 63 percent between 1997 and 1999, from 96,076 to 156,929.

Through the Partnership plan, New Yorkers can finance their long–term care without impoverishing themselves or opting to sign over their life's savings to qualify for Medicaid. In addition, most Partnership policies are afforded favorable tax treatment under both federal and State tax laws. Between 1997 and 1999, the number of Partnership polices increased by 66 percent, from 14,888 to 24,723. Partnership insurance coverage now represents 21 percent of all long–term care insurance policies owned by New Yorkers aged 55–74.

"We are especially pleased that the New York State Partnership for Long–Term Care has played a prominent role in the growth of long–term care policies in New York State," said Dr. Novello.

Dr. Novello said that the Partnership has been successfully promoting its long–term care insurance program through widespread outreach and educational efforts throughout the state. Numerous presentations, interviews, participation in health fairs and financial planning conferences, and ongoing responses to inquiries have helped to increase public awareness for the need to plan for potential long–term care financing costs.

The media campaign announced today, including television, radio and newspaper ads, will serve to further promote public awareness of the issue of long–term care and the availability of the NYS Partnership Program to help address this critical need.

More comprehensive outreach efforts are being developed to help train and support the thousands of insurance agents who sell long–term care insurance. This is being done to ensure that consumers receive the best possible information as they consider purchasing long–term care insurance. This effort is being supported through the development of an Internet training program that presents a complete review of this significant State–sponsored insurance program to the agents.

The Partnership Plan will not only benefit New York residents, but it will also help the long–term care industry by assuring that residents have the ability to pay for their care.

For more information about this special program, ask your insurance agent or financial advisor, or contact the New York State Partnership for Long–Term Care, by telephone, at 1–888–NYSPLTC (697–7582); or at its web site, www.nyspltc.org.

4/4/01–31 OPA