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Hartford Life gets out of the long term care insurance business

While other insurers are scrambling to cash in on the long term care insurance boom, Hartford Life Insurance Co. is selling its long term care (LTC) insurance business to MedAmerica for an undisclosed sum.

MedAmerica will acquire more than 70 group accounts from The Hartford.

MedAmerica, a subsidiary of New York's Excellus Health Plan Inc., will acquire more than 70 group accounts from Hartford Life. These 5,000 policies represent more than $5 million in annual premiums.

According to MedAmerica, the company has grown nearly 750 percent since 1994. "This acquisition solidly positions us for continued growth," says MedAmerica President Christopher D. Perna. "The Hartford [transaction] further increases our market share."

Pending regulatory approval, MedAmerica will assume all of Hartford Life's LTC policies, both group and individual. According to MedAmerica spokesperson Deanna DeFrank, premiums and benefits will remain the same "as far as we know today."

Why now?

According to Hartford Life, the company decided to divest itself of its long term care insurance business because LTC was a very small part of its $2 billion annual revenue.

Nationwide, the number of Americans who have purchased long term care insurance over the past decade has more than tripled, from 1.9 million in 1990 to 6.8 million in 1999, according to the Health Insurance Association of America. However, new sales of employer-sponsored long term care insurance policies have actually decreased by 6 percent over the past year. Many blame the drop on an uncertain economy and the rise in health insurance premiums that are forcing employers to scale back their benefit offerings.

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