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LTC Bullet:

Year 2000 Shelton LTC Guide Available

Thursday September 21, 2000


People frequently ask the Center for Long-Term Care Financing to recommend specific insurance policies, carriers, or agents. We understand the public's hunger for LTCI advice, but we can only provide general guidance and information. That's why having a selection of excellent reference books to which we can refer inquirers is so important.

Fitting that bill is the 2000 edition of "Phyllis Shelton's Long-Term Care Planning Guide" (Shelton Marketing Services, Inc., 2000). (See below for information on how to order.) Shelton specializes in agent training and consumer information. Her core message is that getting the most comprehensive LTCI policy one can afford is the best way to preserve financial independence, choice, and dignity throughout retirement and into possible future infirmity. That's a message America needs to hear.

One thing that has always especially impressed us about the Shelton LTC guide is that she faithfully updates it every year. Like clockwork, Center for Long- Term Care Financing President Steve Moses gets an annual call wanting to know "what's new, what's changed?" That kind of effort takes time and discipline, but it helps to explain how this publication remains fresh and current year to year. (By the way, if you have a bone to pick with Phyllis on the TQ/ NTQ issue, please take it up with her, not us. We leave that argument to others.)

Topics in "Phyllis Shelton's Long-Term Care Planning Guide" include "Long-Term Care and Your Financial Security," "Features of a Good Long-Term Care Insurance Policy," "Long-Term Care--The New Employee Benefit," "Alternatives for Financing Long-Term Care" and others. It also includes several appendices and a thorough bibliography.

One of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's central policy concerns--the pitfalls of Medicaid planning --is well-covered in this book, from the ethical morass of asset transfers to the limitations on choice, access and quality when relying on Medicaid funding. For example:

"Here's what it means to be a Medicaid patient in most states:

* "You can't get into strictly private-pay facilities that don't accept Medicaid patients.

* "Medicaid pays very little for home health care so being on Medicaid in most states means being in a nursing home . . . .

* "Medicaid pays less than private pay rates in most states, so the waiting lists are long for Medicaid patients.

* "You have to go wherever there is a bed, which could be hours away from your family.

* "If the facility doesn't accept Medicaid and you run out of your own money, you can be required to move to a facility that accepts Medicaid, and that's a hard situation for families to deal with.

* "Nursing homes that operate with predominantly Medicaid patients don't have as much funding as private-pay facilities to upgrade services, furnishings, etc.

* "You simply don't have as many choices as a private-pay patient--a private room, for example, is not allowed--because as a Medicaid patient, you aren't paying the bill." (pps. 82-83)

Given these drawbacks of Medicaid, it may seem inconsistent for Ms. Shelton to refer her readers on page 103 to "a good elder-law attorney" and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Such advice could lead to artificial impoverishment and welfare institutionalization of an infirm senior otherwise financially able to get care at home or in assisted living. Unfortunately, that's how Medicaid planning attorneys make their livings. On the other hand, she offers this suggestion only as a last resort at the end of a long list of more preferable alternatives for the uninsurable. These alternatives include annuitization, viatical settlements, reverse mortgages and others.

The message throughout this guide is "don't wait for someone to solve this problem for you . . . insure now and gain peace of mind." That's a message everyone would be very wise to heed. Thanks to Phyllis Shelton and others who provide information the public must have to make informed decisions about long-term care. For more information on "Phyllis Shelton's Long-Term Care Planning Guide," contact LTC Consultants, P.O. Box 17526, Nashville, TN, 37217, 1-800-844-4893, or