Iowa law could become national model for long-term care insurance disputes

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A new Iowa statute that will take effect Jan. 1 will protect Iowans who are denied long-term care insurance benefits. If successful, it could be used as a model for other states, according to industry experts.

If an insurance company rejects a claim by an elderly,disabled person for long-term care insurance, that person can pay $25 to have an independent medical expert review the case, according to the statute. If that expert makes a decision in favor of the consumer, that decision is final, according to the new rules. Currently in Iowa, the only recourse for those who've had their long-term care insurance claims rejected is a lengthy lawsuit, according to The Des Moines Register.

Some state lawmakers are skeptical about the new measure, noting that insurance companies will pay the majority of medical examiners' bills. This, they say, raises questions as to how independent those examiners can truly be. But most in the state Legislature are adopting a wait-and-see policy.