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LTC Bullet:

LTC Rising

Monday July 26, 1999

Seattle--

Kudos to Robin Toner and the New York Times for today's (7/26/99) front page coverage of long-term care financing. LTC Bullets encourages our 2000 plus readers to buy the paper or visit www.nytimes.com to read "As Parents Age, the Personal Becomes the Political."

Reporter Toner observes that politicians like House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Representative Nancy Johnson of Connecticut and Senator Patty Murray of Washington are confronting the challenges of long-term care with their own parents and have become personally and politically sensitized to this critical issue.

She writes: "On Capitol Hill, as in workplaces around the country, more and more families are dealing with elderly parents who need help because of chronic illness or disability. And as it was with child care, the personal is becoming political. Measures to help with the cost of long-term care for the elderly and disabled, primarily through tax credits and deductions, are being advanced by both parties in Congress this year…. The Republican tax bill passed by the House last week includes a phased-in, 100 percent deduction for long-term-care insurance premiums and an additional personal exemption for taxpayers caring for elderly family members at home."

The article warns, however, that private long-term-care insurance is not a panacea and "has not filled the gap, largely because of cost, many analysts say. A basic policy bought at age 65 cost an average of $980 a year in 1996, although it varied widely depending on locale and could be double that in a major city, according to the Health Insurance Association of America."

The alleged unaffordability of long-term care insurance is a subject that the Center for Long-Term Care Financing has been researching for months. Our new white paper--The Myth of Unaffordability: How Most Americans Should, Could and Would Buy Private Long-Term Care Insurance--will be published September 1, 1999. We will make a copy of this report available to Ms. Toner and her colleagues in the media immediately upon its public release. (To pre-order a copy [$34.95] contact Nadia Morgen at 206-447-1340 or simply click here to order.)

In the meantime, we agree completely with Congresswoman Nancy Johnson's comment as cited in the Times' article: "We have to look systemically at our tax code, systemically at our workplace policies, systemically at the current subsidy structure, both to reduce the cost of supporting the elderly in their frail years, and to make the support more appropriate to their needs and wants."
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