Tuesday November 2, 1999
The October issue of Mcknight's Long-Term Care News, a leading LTC provider trade journal, contains an excellent review of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's recent white paper: "The Myth of Unaffordability: How Most Americans Should, Could and Would Buy Private Long-Term Care Insurance."
Following are a few notable excerpts from the article entitled "Study: Buy LTC Insurance--Or Face the Consequences":
"'The report explains how easy access to government-financed long-term care services has impeded the market for private insurance, assisted living and home care,' said Stephen Moses, president of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing, Seattle, Washington."
"'The reason the nursing home industry is in its death throes right now is that it has been almost entirely dependent on public financing--Medicare and Medicaid,' Moses said. 'Until the public takes the risk of long-term care seriously, they will not buy the insurance, they will not be able to pay privately and the nursing home industry will continue to collapse."
"'Despite the conventional wisdom that you have to be poor first before the government pays, the reality is that there is no evidence of widespread catastrophic "spend-down" in the United States,' Moses said. 'The average person walks right on to Medicaid if they need long-term care after age 65 and anyone else can be on Medicaid in 30 days.'"
"The Center for Long-Term Care Financing's plan basically presents consumers with an ultimatum. 'Plan now and buy insurance while you are young and healthy and good coverage is inexpensive,' the report said. 'Or, take your chances, hope for the best, accept a dollar for dollar loss to your estate if you ever have to rely on the public program (LTC Choice) and explicitly assume the risk that you may ultimately lose everything, including your home equity, and become dependent on welfare."
[Clarification: LTC Choice gives uninsured seniors cash flow from a line of credit on their estates which assures access to quality home and community-based care while delaying or replacing nursing home institutionalization and Medicaid dependency.]
"Long-term care providers would benefit from LTC Choice, the report said, because their residents, through the loans, would be paying for the full cost of services. Consumers, in return, get to choose the best facility, since the new program--unlike Medicaid--wouldn't limit which facilities they could pick."
"The study found that 72% of couples between the ages of 35 and 44 that earn over $1,963 per month could afford a policy for each spouse. And 56% of couples aged 45 to 54 with incomes over $2,995 could also afford two policies."
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