On April 12, the California Bankers Association, one of America’s largest state banking trade organizations, announced a long-term care benefit for employees of member banks throughout the state. The initiative is one of the first of its kind for any large U.S. association, and could be a bellwether for the financial field and beyond. 

Similar moves could follow in many states and industries, prompted by the growing need for long-term care required by today’s longer-living workforce. 

The new CBA program

The LTC benefit will be an optional add-on to the benefits packages of CBA’s nearly 200 member banks and savings associations. Now bank employees and managers can opt for more than health and dental plans. They can secure help with the tasks of daily living in case of longer-lasting disabilities.

The benefit is being introduced through an endorsed strategic partnership between CBA and LTC Partners & Insurance Services LLC, one of California’s largest long-term care insurance agencies. (The company is known outside California as LTC Financial Partners LLC.)

Might there be an impact in whole communities?

When one considers that most individual and commercial banking clients have or will have an LTC need, it is tempting to imagine increasing interest outside of banking hubs. 

Such interest is long overdue, many believe. The LTC field is one of growing importance as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age and the care needs of an aging population are magnified. About 70% of Americans over 65 will need long-term care services at some point, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This can hit families hard; the average annual cost for nursing home care in the U.S. now exceeds $90,000, according to a MetLife survey. 

And the need for care can affect company bottom lines, too. The lack of funds for care forces millions of valuable employees to become default caregivers, reducing their productivity or removing them from the workforce entirely.

Ripple effect across America?

A single initiative, such as the CBA’s, can lead to quick, widespread replication. Possibilities include:

  • Similar moves by other banking associations. There are member organizations like CBA in all 50 states.
  • LTC benefit adoption by individual banks. An association can smooth the way, but any organization may of course act on its own.
  • Chambers of commerce getting into the act. Like banks, they too serve as hubs for local business, with community links.
  • Replication by trade associations of many types. There are more than 7,000 national trade associations in America, many more regional ones.
  • Bottom line. As the American workforce continues to age, more and more organizations, not just banks, may be “banking” on LTC insurance.

CBA’s membership includes the majority of California’s commercial, industrial and community banks and savings associations. For more information, visit www.calbankers.com. For more information about LTC Partners, visit www.ltcfp.com.

Samson is director of the EraNova Institute and director of the Long Term Care Insurance Guild. He helped create the "3 in 4 Need More" LTC planning education campaign.

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