In a fresh reminder that more change is coming to an uncertain long-term care insurance market, MetLife will no longer sell new such policies and discontinue new enrollments into existing group and multi-life LTC plans.

The move will not affect existing coverage as long as premiums are paid on time. Also, the carrier reports that the timing will vary based on existing contractual obligations and that new applications for individual policies will be accepted as long as they arrive on or before December 30, 2010.

MetLife’s decision, which followed an extensive business review, comes on the heels of John Hancock’s suspension of new group LTC policy sales during which time the Manulife Financial Corp. unit will re-evaluate product pricing and plan design in the current economic climate.

LTC sales have shown mixed results across the industry leading up to the phased implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act.

For example, while LIMRA International noted 13% sales growth in the first half of 2010, numbers were down 30% during the same time frame last year compared with 2008. LIMRA also has found that with the exception of a 3% rise in 2007, LTC sales decreased every year since 2002.

Sales opportunities may be greatest among baby boomers, according to a new online survey of 1,073 Americans ages 46 to 64 conducted by Mathew Greenwald & Associates for New York Life. Among those whose parents collected on a policy, 72% described the coverage as a good value.

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