Tuesday April 13, 1999
The following is a press release from the newly formed "Americans for Long-Term Care Security":
INSURANCE, ELDER, CARE PROVIDER GROUPS FORM COALITION TO PROMOTE LONG-TERM CARE SECURITY; PRAISES REP. SHAYS FOR LTC RESOLUTION
Washington, D.C. (March 25, 1999) The newly-formed coalition Americans for Long-Term Care Security (ALTCS) today praised Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) for introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives to promote public education about long-term care issues.
Among other things, the resolution--which has 66 co-sponsors from both parties--urges the federal government to:
* inform the public about the financial risks posed by rapidly increasing long-term care costs and about the need for families to plan for their long-term care needs;
* inform the public that Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs and that Medicaid only does so when the beneficiary has exhausted his or her assets, and
* encourage both working-aged Americans and older citizens to purchase long-term care insurance, either through their employers or on their own.
Most Americans believe--incorrectly--that Medicare will pay for their long-term care needs.
"It is imperative that Congress take steps to raise awareness about the costs of long term care and to encourage all Americans to plan ahead for potential long-term care needs," Shays said. "The role of private long-term care insurance is critical in meeting this challenge."
A resolution identical to Shays's was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) earlier this week. In January, President Clinton announced his own $6.2 billion long-term care initiative, which includes a thousand-dollar tax credit for those already receiving long-term care and their caregivers, enhanced public education, and making private long-term care insurance available as a self-funded benefit to federal employees, retirees and their families.
The White House initiative and a variety of legislative proposals making their way through Congress recognize that "long-term care insurance plays a vital role in helping the elderly and disabled, as well as baby boomers, pay for what all too often are the devastating costs of nursing home stays and of home care," said ALTCS Executive Director Robert Blancato.
"As the debate evolves, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both houses of Congress recognize that assuming personal responsibility for long-term care is a crucial aspect in Americans' planning for their long-term care security," Blancato said.
The ALTCS is a broad-based network of organizations that was formed to educate policy makers, the media and the general public about the rapidly rising costs of long-term care, the importance of planning ahead for eventual long-term care needs and the value of private sector products for meeting those needs.
"The government must continue to provide a safety net for the truly needy," Blancato said. "At the same time, the government should provide incentives for private sector solutions, such as long-term care insurance.
"When state and federal legislative opportunities arise to advocate private sector options such as tax incentives, members of this coalition will encourage swift passage through a variety of means," Blancato said.
To reach the general public, the ALTCS has established a World Wide Web site at http://www.LTCWEB.org
The founding members of the Americans for Long-Term Care Security
are: the Health Insurance Association of America; the American
Council of Life Insurance; the Association of Health Insurance
Agents; Citizens for a Sound Economy; the National Association
of Life Underwriters; the Assisted Living Federation of America;
the Independent Insurance Agents of America; Boomers-USA; the
National Association of Health Underwriters; the National Association
of Professional Insurance Agents; 60 Plus Association; The Seniors
Coalition; the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, and the
United Seniors Association.