Viewpoint: Langley listens, learns and leads 

By Carroll E. Harper 

It is hard to believe that nine years have passed since the emergency enactment of LD 891, “An Act To Create Uniform Claims Paying Practices in Long Term Care Insurance Policies.” 

Prior to this law, many of Maine’s seniors and boomers who filed for long-term care insurance benefits would wait sometimes up to five or six months before they would receive their claim benefits. It was a most frustrating time for those who had to pay out of pocket and wait months to get reimbursed and as a result it caused unnecessary angst and frustration to many. As a general agency that provided the claim service for many of these policyholders, we found it equally troublesome, and after several years of observing how certain insurance companies used various methods to delay benefits, we decided enough was enough. 

We contacted Brian Langley and shared the financial hardship that was wrongfully being imposed on our elderly and as a result he introduced the bill that became LD 891. Several of our office staff and myself took the time to appear and testify in Augusta before the Maine legislative body and the bill was supported by the Maine Bureau of Insurance and as a result after testimony, the bill was moved to a workshop session.  

I might add that there were several long-term care insurance company representatives present that opposed the bill and several were at the workshop session.  

Present at the workshop were the superintendent of insurance, the Bureau of Insurance actuary, staff attorneys, insurance company claims representatives and others. My staff and Brian Langley were also present, and I questioned several there as to how long they had claims pending – 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, more? They answered in the affirmative and it was obvious from the workshop dialogue that something had to be done and done quickly to remedy this reckless and insensitive delay of benefit payments to Maine’s elderly.  

For the most part, Senator Langley had been quiet throughout the session, but after an hour of listening, he remarks, “It sounds to me like we have two issues going on here – one that is of a frivolous nature and another of substantive nature.” At this point, most agreed and the meeting quicky came to an end, with the Legislature handing down a unanimous ought to pass.  

In summary, a long-term care insurer can no longer delay payments of benefits for frivolous issues, only substantive. The foundation of the amendment to Chapter 278 had been made in a single sentence from a senator who listened, learned and led us to a positive outcome. Thank you, Brian Langley. Because of you, Maine long-term care insurance payments are now timely. 

This fall, you will have a choice to elect proven leadership, someone who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. I ask your vote for Brian Langley for state Senate. 

Carroll E. Harper is the owner of Caroll Harper & Associates Inc. of Southwest Harbor. 

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