Wednesday January 19, 2000
"Long-Term Care Insurance Made Simple" is a new primer by attorney Les Abromovitz. The book was published last year by Health Information Press of Los Angeles. It is well and thoughtfully written. You’ll find it in bookstores and on amazon.com for $14.95.
Inasmuch as the facts and merits of private long-term care insurance are moot if people don’t think they need it, we chose the following excerpts debunking Medicaid planning as a sample of the book’s content. The remainder of the volume contains nothing new for the knowledgeable, but provides a good introduction for anyone, such as friends, relatives or prospects, who are starting from scratch.
"Transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid creates an ethical problem for many people. In addition, many individuals feel there is a stigma attached to Medicaid. They view it as welfare and are reluctant to use the program." (p. 46)
"Despite the possibility of criminal penalties, there are attorneys who advertise they can help people qualify for Medicaid without losing all of their assets. They utilize Medicaid loopholes to transfer assets to relatives without violating the law. Many question the ethics of those maneuvers, saying that they are defrauding a program which was designed to help the poor. Some argue that Medicaid rewards people who could have bought long-term care insurance but did not." (p. 47)
"You should realize that transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid is dangerous for other reasons. By doing so, you may be cheating yourself out of receiving the best long-term care that is available. There is no guarantee that any money you turn over to your family members will be used to improve your quality of life. While the desire to not lose everything is understandable, it is your money, and you should be able to use it to make your final years as good as they can be."
"Another very real problem is that many facilities do not even accept Medicaid patients or seek to get rid of the ones they have." (p. 47)
"It is doubtful that Medicare or Medicaid benefits will be expanded in the near future. In fact, many legislators are advocating reductions in these benefits. As baby boomers age, there will be additional strain upon the system, making it unlikely that coverage for long-term care will broaden." (p. 48)
"Too many people think they have a safety net to fall back upon should the time come when long-term care is necessary. It is clear that the answer for most people is not Medicare, medigap policies or Medicaid. [O]ne safety net that can help a lot of people is long-term care insurance." (p. 48)
You can contact the book's author, Les Abromovitz, at Hedles@aol.com