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Conseco Extends Deadline for Home Health Care Policyholders to Make Important Choices


TALLAHASSEE - Conseco Senior Health Insurance Company policyholders who are part of a class-action lawsuit and whose annual policy renewal dates fell on or before September 17, 2002, now have more time to make important decisions regarding their home health care policies, according to the Department of Insurance.

Consumers who were notified by Conseco about the class-action settlement options were told they must decide by today whether to keep their policies with an increase in cost or opt for a non-forfeiture benefit option. However, Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher asked Conseco to extend the deadline an additional 30 days. Affected consumers now have until October 17, 2002, to notify Conseco which option they have selected. Additionally, consumers who faced a scheduled 45 percent rate increase will not have the rate imposed until the next premium payment date following October 17, 2002.

Under the settlement, policyholders can choose the non-forfeiture benefit, which is an account made up of the premiums paid minus any claims paid out to the policyholder. This option would require no additional premiums, but the benefits would be exhausted once the total amount contained in the account has been paid out in claims.

Even if consumers have already selected an option based on the earlier notification from Conseco, the company will still allow policyholders to change their decision between now and October 17, 2002.

Beyond the class-action settlement options, Conseco will allow policyholders to reduce coverage limits in exchange for a comparable reduction in premium. For example, a policyholder who currently has coverage equal to $100 per day could reduce coverage to $50 per day for a corresponding decrease in premium. Consumers should be aware, however, that if they select this option, they may not be able to increase their coverage in the future.

Additional Conseco policyholders, who are part of the class-action lawsuit but whose renewal dates fall in the coming months, will be notified by Conseco of their options and given 60 days to make a decision. Not all Conseco policyholders are affected by the class-action settlement and as a result are not eligible for the special options.

For more information, consumers may call the department's toll-free consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762.