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Update - Virginia Retirement System Employees LTC Open Season

Virginia Group Long Term Care Insurance Program

The VRS Long Term Care Open Season for active employees has been extended. Originally scheduled to end on October 11, 2019, the special enrollment period will now end Friday, October 25. We strongly encourage you not to wait, and enroll as soon as possible.

“Open Season” does not adequately describe this rare opportunity. The public typically associates an open season with an annual open enrollment period for company benefits; however, these two events are not the same.

Open enrollments occur annually, whereas open seasons are rare and may NEVER happen again

To put this into context, Federal Employees Group Life (FEGLI) has had two open seasons since 2004.

Like the Federal LTC Insurance Plan, this plan does not compensate Mason & Associates in any way if you purchase this coverage. We believe the one thing that can destroy a lifetime of solid financial planning is when a long term care need arises, but the individual is uninsured. Please take immediate action. It costs nothing to apply now and spend the next few weeks crunching the numbers. 



VRS Long Term Care Open Season Details

This is a truly unique opportunity for active employees covered by the Virginia Retirement System.  The open season provides the ability for eligible employees to acquire long term care insurance with minimal underwriting. In fact, in order for an eligible person to obtain long term care insurance during this open season, they must only answer two questions!  Mason & Associates was not able to obtain a copy of the questions but we were able to obtain helpful information during a phone call with Genworth.  Please note, this information is a guide and should encourage further exploration. It is our belief that the two questions asked will be similar to the questions asked on the Federal Long Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP 2.0) abbreviated underwriting application

Who is eligible?

Abbreviated underwriting appears to be available for active employees only. Retirees and certain qualified relatives are also eligible to apply, but will be required to through full underwriting. Eligibility requirements can be found here.

Quality of Coverage

In general, we are very happy with the quality of coverage provided, and believe that the group policy is competitive when compared to federal long term care or individual policies through a company such as Mutual of Omaha. A few coverage highlights from our call:

  1. 90 calendar day elimination period for home health care, assisted living, and nursing home
  • Several LTC policies require 90 service days rather than 90 calendar days. It may take longer than 90 days to acquire 90 service days. We wish there was a zero day elimination period for home health care.
  • The 90 day elimination period must only be satisfied one time during a lifetime.  Although it may not be common, there is potential that one could require care and then their situation improves, making care no longer required.  In this instance, the next time that care is required, the 90 days would not need to be satisfied a second time.
  1. 50% benefit for home health care and community care expenses
  • For example, if one selected a $6,000 monthly benefit only $3,000 would be eligible for home health and community care.We would prefer a 100% benefit for home health care.
  1. Portable - Coverage continues after retirement or separation from VRS
  1. Policies can be eligible for the Virginia Partnership Program if certain policy requirements are met. Designing a policy that qualifies for Virginia Partnership Program is something we’ve done for two decades.
  1. Buy More Later Inflation Option- Monthly benefit amount can be increased every three years

The benefit amount increase is tied to inflation and the new monthly premium will be based on your new age and the increased amount of insurance.The insured must accept or reject the offer. In order to maintain your option to buy more coverage, every other offer must be accepted.If two offers are declined in a row, the insured will forfeit the ability to acquire additional coverage.

What’s the Action

If you are eligible and have considered long term care insurance, we encourage you to apply for before the open season concludes this week.  Long term care insurance policies have a few main variables that must be selected during the application and quote process.

  1. Monthly benefit amount: $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 per month
  • We consider $6,000 per month to be “full” coverage with the caveat that care could definitely be more expensive.  The level of coverage selected should be based on your financial plan, guaranteed income sources (pensions), cash assets, life insurance policies, and etc.
  1. Duration: Two, Three, or Four years
  • We don’t typically recommend policies with coverage less than 3 years.
  1. Inflation: 3% lifetime, 5% Lifetime, or buy more over time

We encourage you to explore these options as well as the details of long term care insurance on the Genworth website. If you’re an existing client of Mason & Associates, please contact us immediately with any questions and allow us to help you select the variables that fit with your specific financial plan. If you’re not a client, we encourage you to apply for a policy with rich benefits and then promptly review your decisions with a qualified financial planning team.