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Bills protecting seniors take effect in September

September marks the start of football, more temperate weather and various laws passed by the Texas Legislature that should help seniors.

Earlier this year, AARP Texas worked with lawmakers to create new protections around certain investment products, like annuities, as well as Medicare related products and long-term care policies.  These new protections will ensure that insurance agents are better prepared to represent complex insurance products, stem growing fees associated with annuities and require long term care insurance rates to be reviewed and approved by state regulators. Following are some of the laws that became effective on September 1, 2009 or thereafter:

HB 739 (Quintanilla/Ellis) will place additional continuing education requirements on insurance agents that sell Medicare-related products (except for Medicare supplemental policies).  The bill is effective September 1, 2009, but doesn’t apply for agent license issue or renewal until April 1, 2010.

HB 1294 (Eiland/Ellis) will require insurance agents to receive additional hours of training to sell annuities in Texas.  The bill also bans the misleading use of “senior specific” designations.  The bill becomes effective September 1, 2009, but the agent training will not apply to license issue or renewal until April 1, 2010.  The senior specific designation ban will become enforceable January 1. 2010.

HB 2456 (Eiland/Watson) will give TDI the ability to develop certification and education programs/requirement for agents selling complex insurance products.  The bill becomes effective September 1, 2009.

HB 1919 (Kent/Ellis) will ban the sale of certain annuities that have maturity dates beyond 10 years after purchase or 70 years of age of the annuitant, whichever is later.  The bill becomes effective September 1, 2009.  However, the new requirement will be made on annuities purchased on or after June 1, 2010.

SB 963 (Smithee/Ellis) will require all long term care insurance rates to be filed with and approved by TDI.  The bill becomes effective September 1, 2009.

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