Code Section

Insurance Code - INS

DIVISION 2. CLASSES OF INSURANCE [1880 - 12880.5]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )
  

PART 2. LIFE AND DISABILITY INSURANCE [10110 - 11549]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )
  

CHAPTER 2.6. Long-Term Care Insurance [10231 - 10237.6]

  ( Chapter 2.6 added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1342, Sec. 1. )
  

ARTICLE 3. General Provisions [10232 - 10233.7]
  ( Article 3 added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1342, Sec. 1. )

  
10232.8.  

(a) In every long-term care policy or certificate that is not intended to be a federally qualified long-term care insurance contract and provides home care benefits, the threshold establishing eligibility for home care benefits shall be at least as permissive as a provision that the insured will qualify if either one of two criteria are met:

(1) Impairment in two out of seven activities of daily living.

(2) Impairment of cognitive ability.

The policy or certificate may provide for lesser but not greater eligibility criteria. The commissioner, at his or her discretion, may approve other criteria or combinations of criteria to be substituted, if the insurer demonstrates that the interest of the insured is better served.

“Activities of daily living” in every policy or certificate that is not intended to be a federally qualified long-term care insurance contract and provides home care benefits shall include eating, bathing, dressing, ambulating, transferring, toileting, and continence; “impairment” means that the insured needs human assistance, or needs continual substantial supervision; and “impairment of cognitive ability” means deterioration or loss of intellectual capacity due to organic mental disease, including Alzheimer’s disease or related illnesses, that requires continual supervision to protect oneself or others.

(b) In every long-term care policy approved or certificate issued after the effective date of the act adding this section, that is intended to be a federally qualified long-term care insurance contract as described in subdivision (a) of Section 10232.1, the threshold establishing eligibility for home care benefits shall provide that a chronically ill insured will qualify if either one of two criteria are met or if a third criterion, as provided by this subdivision, is met:

(1) Impairment in two out of six activities of daily living.

(2) Impairment of cognitive ability.

Other criteria shall be used in establishing eligibility for benefits if federal law or regulations allow other types of disability to be used applicable to eligibility for benefits under a long-term care insurance policy. If federal law or regulations allow other types of disability to be used, the commissioner shall promulgate emergency regulations to add those other criteria as a third threshold to establish eligibility for benefits. Insurers shall submit policies for approval within 60 days of the effective date of the regulations. With respect to policies previously approved, the department is authorized to review only the changes made to the policy. All new policies approved and certificates issued after the effective date of the regulation shall include the third criterion. A policy shall not be sold unless the policy includes the third criterion after one year beyond the effective date of the regulations. An insured meeting this third criterion shall be eligible for benefits regardless of whether the individual meets the impairment requirements in paragraph (1) or (2) regarding activities of daily living and cognitive ability.

(c) A licensed health care practitioner, independent of the insurer, shall certify that the insured meets the definition of “chronically ill individual” as defined under Public Law 104-191. For the purposes of long-term care insurance as defined in Section 10231.2, an insurer shall not impose a certification requirement of longer than 90 days. The policy or certificate shall explain paragraphs (1) through (5) and comply with all of the following:

(1) An insured has the option of submitting a certification to the insurer or submitting a notice of claim and requesting that the insurer conduct the assessment. If the insured requests that the insurer conduct the assessment, the insurer shall provide an independent licensed health care practitioner to conduct the assessment. If a health care practitioner makes a determination, pursuant to this section, that an insured does not meet the definition of “chronically ill individual,” the insurer shall notify the insured that the insured shall be entitled to a second assessment by a licensed health care practitioner, upon request, who shall personally examine the insured. The requirement for a second assessment shall not apply if the initial assessment was performed by a practitioner who otherwise meets the requirements of this section and who personally examined the insured.

(2) The assessments conducted pursuant to this section shall be performed promptly with the certification completed as quickly as possible to ensure that an insured’s benefits are not delayed. The written certification shall be renewed every 12 months.

(3) A licensed health care practitioner shall develop a written plan of care after personally examining the insured.

(4) The costs to have a licensed health care practitioner certify that an insured meets, or continues to meet, the definition of “chronically ill individual,” or to prepare written plans of care shall not count against the lifetime maximum of the policy or certificate.

(5) In order to be considered “independent of the insurer,” a licensed health care practitioner shall not be an employee of the insurer and shall not be compensated in any manner that is linked to the outcome of the certification.

(6) It is the intent of this subdivision that the practitioner’s assessments be unhindered by financial considerations.

(7) This subdivision shall apply only to a policy or certificate intended to be a federally qualified long-term care insurance contract.

(d) “Activities of daily living” in every policy or certificate intended to be a federally qualified long-term care insurance contract as provided by Public Law 104-191 shall include eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, and continence; “impairment in activities of daily living” means the insured needs “substantial assistance” either in the form of “hands-on assistance” or “standby assistance,” due to a loss of functional capacity to perform the activity; “impairment of cognitive ability” means the insured needs substantial supervision due to severe cognitive impairment; “licensed health care practitioner” means a physician, registered nurse, licensed social worker, or other individual whom the United States Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe by regulation; and “plan of care” means a written description of the insured’s needs and a specification of the type, frequency, and providers of all formal and informal long-term care services required by the insured, and the cost, if any.

(e) Until the time that these definitions may be superseded by federal law or regulation, the terms “substantial assistance,” “hands-on assistance,” “standby assistance,” “severe cognitive impairment,” and “substantial supervision” shall be defined according to the safe-harbor definitions contained in Internal Revenue Service Notice 97-31, issued May 6, 1997.

(f) The definitions of “activities of daily living” to be used in policies and certificates that are intended to be federally qualified long-term care insurance shall be the following until the time that these definitions may be superseded by federal law or regulations:

(1) Eating, which shall mean feeding oneself by getting food in the body from a receptacle (such as a plate, cup, or table) or by a feeding tube or intravenously.

(2) Bathing, which shall mean washing oneself by sponge bath or in either a tub or shower, including the act of getting into or out of a tub or shower.

(3) Continence, which shall mean the ability to maintain control of bowel and bladder function; or when unable to maintain control of bowel or bladder function, the ability to perform associated personal hygiene (including caring for a catheter or colostomy bag).

(4) Dressing, which shall mean putting on and taking off all items of clothing and any necessary braces, fasteners, or artificial limbs.

(5) Toileting, which shall mean getting to and from the toilet, getting on or off the toilet, and performing associated personal hygiene.

(6) Transferring, which shall mean the ability to move into or out of bed, a chair, or wheelchair.

The commissioner may approve the use of definitions of “activities of daily living” that differ from the verbatim definitions of this subdivision if these definitions would result in more policy or certificate holders qualifying for long-term care benefits than would occur by the use of the verbatim definitions of this subdivision. In addition, the following definitions may be used without the approval of the commissioner: (1) the verbatim definitions of eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and continence in subdivision (g); or (2) the verbatim definitions of eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and continence in this subdivision and a substitute, verbatim definition of “transferring” as follows: “transferring,” which shall mean the ability to move into and out of a bed, a chair, or wheelchair, or ability to walk or move around inside or outside the home, regardless of the use of a cane, crutches, or braces.

The definitions to be used in policies and certificates for impairment in activities of daily living, “impairment in cognitive ability,” and any third eligibility criterion adopted by regulation pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be the verbatim definitions of these benefit eligibility triggers allowed by federal regulations. In addition to the verbatim definitions, the commissioner may approve additional descriptive language to be added to the definitions, if the additional language is (1) warranted based on federal or state laws, federal or state regulations, or other relevant federal decision, and (2) strictly limited to that language that is necessary to ensure that the definitions required by this section are not misleading to the insured.

(g) The definitions of “activities of daily living” to be used verbatim in policies and certificates that are not intended to qualify for favorable tax treatment under Public Law 104-191 shall be the following:

(1) Eating, which shall mean reaching for, picking up, and grasping a utensil and cup; getting food on a utensil, and bringing food, utensil, and cup to mouth; manipulating food on plate; and cleaning face and hands as necessary following meals.

(2) Bathing, which shall mean cleaning the body using a tub, shower, or sponge bath, including getting a basin of water, managing faucets, getting in and out of tub or shower, and reaching head and body parts for soaping, rinsing, and drying.

(3) Dressing, which shall mean putting on, taking off, fastening, and unfastening garments and undergarments and special devices such as back or leg braces, corsets, elastic stockings or garments, and artificial limbs or splints.

(4) Toileting, which shall mean getting on and off a toilet or commode and emptying a commode, managing clothing and wiping and cleaning the body after toileting, and using and emptying a bedpan and urinal.

(5) Transferring, which shall mean moving from one sitting or lying position to another sitting or lying position; for example, from bed to or from a wheelchair or sofa, coming to a standing position, or repositioning to promote circulation and prevent skin breakdown.

(6) Continence, which shall mean the ability to control bowel and bladder as well as use ostomy or catheter receptacles, and apply diapers and disposable barrier pads.

(7) Ambulating, which shall mean walking or moving around inside or outside the home regardless of the use of a cane, crutches, or braces.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 98, Sec. 3. (AB 2180) Effective January 1, 2019.)