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Klobuchar offers three health care bills


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced three health care bills today aimed at helping seniors and their families.

The first bill deals with long-term care insurance and would require that insurance companies provide consumers with “an easy-to-understand one-page, standardized disclosure form” on their long-term policies.

The second bill calls for the creation of an independent third-party review board to address “the denial of appropriate and timely benefits by insurance companies” involving consumers who have already purchased long-term health care insurance.

“Currently, those who are denied benefits must go to court, which is expensive and time-consuming when people are most vulnerable and in need,” Klobuchar said in a statement.  “While some 8 million Americans have already purchased long-term care insurance policies, there have been growing complaints about the refusal of insurance companies to pay claims.”

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The third bill would provide some financial assistance for family caregivers. The legislation would allow families who are caring for an aging or ailing relative to qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,200 per year.

This measure would also establish a National Caregiving Resource Center that would act as a central clearinghouse where families, public agencies and private organizations can come together.

“Families continue to be the main providers of care for aging or ailing relatives,” Klobuchar said. “It’s important that they get the support they need, so seniors are able to live independently and stay in their own homes as long as possible.”

The bills are co-sponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. The senators will seek to have the proposal included in the larger health-care reform bill pending in the House and Senate.