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LONG TERM CARE: Groups Sue Insurance Commish For Failing To Enforce Law

      Two consumer advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against Insurance Commissioner Charles Quackenbush's office, charging he "hasn't done enough to protect ... Californians against profit- driven insurers selling long term care coverage." The AP/Capitol Alert reports that Consumers for Quality Care and the Congress of California Seniors filed suit yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that Quackenbush failed to "enforce laws against replacement policies that offer less protection than the original coverage" and "failed to adequately keep track of long term care policies, complaints and issues and report those statistics to the Legislature." CQC's Gina Calabrese said, "The worst thing is the failure to define adequate replacement coverage. He has to do that, otherwise unscrupulous agents and profiteering insurance companies might provide policies for seniors that are not as good as the ones they already have." The Department of Insurance's Amy Zajac says that the groups have misinterpreted the law: she said "state efforts to cut red tape have reduced reporting to the Legislature," and that the office "closely tracks replacement policies" and has the "discretion to act" where needed. She added, "Clearly, if there was a need to have regulations in this area, we'd be the first person to step up to the plate" (Howard, 1/8).

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