Hats Off to Feldman, LTC Network, and MDRT
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Does the world really need another book on long-term care financing and insurance? Well . . . we need this one! "When Caring Isn't Enough . . . Meeting the Need for Long-Term Care with Long-Term Care Insurance, " by Samuel Larry Feldman and the National LTC Network, just published by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Center for Productivity, is an educational AND entertaining read. It's full of touching stories balanced by tough love with a good dose of clear thinking and sound advice. The author's personal account of his own family's experience with Medicaid planning versus private long-term care insurance (pps. 205-208) is worth the price of the book all by itself. We recommend "Caring" unqualifiedly.
That's not to say its flawless. The book is disjointed, suffers from a dearth of footnotes, and lacks an index, which makes rediscovering those nuggets you'll find on first reading difficult later. When you understand where this book came from, however, you'll see why those easily fixable shortcomings are quite forgivable. The Million Dollar Round Table, an international sales organization of 23,000 successful life insurance agents, commissioned the book. The National LTC Network, a collective of brokers dedicated to improving private LTC insurance products and agent education, supplied much of the content. Larry Feldman, a Charter Life Underwriter and well-known author and lecturer on LTC financing, provided more of the content and wove together dozens of disparate articles previously published by his colleagues into a credible whole.
In other words, this is a book of, by and for the insurance industry. Some might consider that a criticism, but we mean it as a compliment. Here's incontrovertible evidence that many people in the insurance business think about more than hawking a product and closing a sale. Here's proof that hard-working insurance agents and brokers care enough to feel deeply, think clearly, and write thoughtfully about the private and social challenge of long-term care. Here's testimony to what years of hard work and dedication can achieve. When people who depend on selling a tough conceptual product like LTC insurance pull away from earning a living and give over their time to the difficult tasks of educating and publishing, they deserve our appreciation and encouragement. Furthermore, we can't think of a better reason to recommend this book to a general audience far beyond that of insurance professionals.
You can order the book by contacting MDRT toll free at 1-800-TRY MDRT or 847-692-6378. Orders can be faxed to 847-692-4615. The book can also be purchased through MDRT's web site at http://shopmdrtcfp.org. Price is $24.95. Quantity discounts are available.
As to its contents, "Caring" contains the usual chapters on long-term care risk, cost, insurance, claims, government financing, etc. But here's a short list of some special nuggets you'll find in this book followed by quotes we found particularly well-said.
* A draft "Acknowledgement of Responsibility" and "Waiver of Liability" to get LTC insurance prospects on record that they were offered and chose to decline full protection. These forms put the prospect fully and explicitly on notice of the risk and protect the agent and insurance company from possible legal challenges later. (p. 49)
* Top ten reasons you don't need LTC insurance including "You've always been REAL lucky." (pps. 164-65)
* A whole chapter entitled "Do Not Abandon the Uninsurable!" which refuses to abandon them to Medicaid estate planning and proposes several private financing alternatives. (pps. 193 ff.)
* A long "Appendix" on "Long-Term Care Insurance Around the World" which will open the eyes of short- sighted people who think America faces the challenge of LTC financing alone or that other countries have solved the problem already. (pps. 263 ff.)
* Boilerplate "Specimen Long-Term Care Insurance Plan Board of Directors Resolution" and "Specimen Long-Term Care Insurance Plan Letter to Covered Employee" (pps. 309-311) Good insurance agents know it's best to "sell 'em in bunches like bananas." These tools will help.
"Because of the demographics of aging, Medicaid threatens to break the budget of almost every state in the union. Many people working in the field of private long-term care insurance believe that if they are successful promoting long-term care insurance, the insurance industry can preserve the integrity of the Medicaid systems for the truly needy." (p. 59)
"Many people who become convinced that transferring wealth to become eligible for Medicaid is a good idea ultimately discover that, by protecting their assets for someone else, they have drastically limited their own options and choices for long-term care. For instance, the level of Medicaid reimbursement for Assisted Living facilities and Alzheimer's centers is so low that these types of institutions seldom accept Medicaid residents. Most skilled nursing facilities accept Medicaid recipients now, but may have a limited number of Medicaid beds and may have long waiting lists of people ready to fill them. Those facilities with large numbers of Medicaid residents find they cannot provide an optimum quality of care on Medicaid funding, which is far lower that private pay rates. This often drives privately paying patients to the better facilities where larger numbers of privately paying residents provide funding for better quality care. Sometimes the only Medicaid openings available are some distance from relatives and friends with whom the resident would like to maintain contact. Home care, which is preferred by most people when possible, is difficult to get via our overburdened welfare system. . . . All in all, much of the freedom to choose how and where you will be cared for is lost to people on Medicaid. Medicaid was designed to be a safety net for those who lack the means to provide long-term care for themselves. It was never intended to be an entitlement for a prosperous middle class." (pps. 204-5)
Finally, thanks to Feldman and the LTC Network for this quote:
"The crusade to campaign for preservation of limited long-term care government resources for the most needy, while at the same time encouraging fiscal long- term care responsibility from those who are young, healthy, and affluent enough, has no greater champion than Stephen A. Moses, President of The Center for Long-Term Care Financing. Those wishing to combine the emotional and practical aspects of long-term care and long-term care insurance planning for the immediate events in our lives, advanced in this book, with a scholarly approach of alarming LTC statistical projections into the future, are encouraged to contact the Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 11418 Northeast 19th Street, Bellevue, WA, 98006, (425) 467-6840, or at http://www.centerltc.org." (p. 205, good advice, indeed.)