LTC Bullet: Cleveland Area Providers Take Charge of Future
Thursday November 15, 2001
Long-term care providers should actively promote private financing of long-term care. It's in their own best interest to do so and it helps preserve our Medicaid safety-net for the truly needy. That's a core theme of the Center for LTC Financing's ongoing "LTC Triathlon" project. All too often, however, we hear from providers that active promotion of private financing is just not a priority with so many immediate problems to address. (Ironically, many pressing problems faced by providers are a direct result of insufficient private dollars to offset inadequate public reimbursement.) Yet, as the old adage warns, "Failing to plan is a plan to fail." The Menorah Park Center for Senior Living and Montefiore, two providers located near Cleveland, Ohio, understand this reality and are actually doing something about it.
Go to www.centerltc.org/ltc_grant.htm to read Menorah Parks and Montefiores joint press release announcing a two-year project to educate the local community on responsible long-term care planning options with a specific focus on long-term care insurance. You should also view the two attention-grabbing ads developed so far to promote awareness of this public education effort. These ads in .pdf format can be viewed at www.centerltc.org/teacup.pdf and www.centerltc.org/house_sale.pdf.
According to Steven Raichilson, Executive Director of Menorah Park, "Given the reimbursement uncertainties in health care today, coupled with the political realities that shape reimbursement and the scope of coverage, it would be irresponsible for our organizations to sit back and do nothing . . . ." Further, according to the press release, "By changing attitudes about long-term care insurance and ultimately providing the impetus for adults to purchase a product that meets their needs, this program would improve the choices those individuals will have about the types of services they can access when their health fails. The more far-reaching goal of helping lessen dependency on government financing for the communitys nursing home residents and therefore providing more financial stability to the organizations is an important by-product of the program." The press release also acknowledges that "families who want to bequeath their money to their children and grandchildren can do so through ethical planning. When such families opt for Medicaid planning through gifting instead of by true financial planning for long-term care through insurance, the community, the care providers and the taxpayers all lose."
The press release quotes the Center for LTC Financing to underscore the challenge of motivating the public to plan ahead. "In America today, people can and do ignore the risk of long-term care, avoid private insurance premiums, wait to see if they ever need institutional care, and transfer any catastrophic long-term care costs to the taxpayers if and when the dreaded event occurs . . . . Because this is true, most people hesitate to pay long-term care insurance premiums for protection the government is giving away."
We applaud Menorah Park Center for Senior Living and Montefiore for their openness and forthrightness about the problems associated with Medicaid planning, the limitations of relying too heavily on public financing, and the benefits to all involved of planning ahead to pay privately whenever possible. All long-term care providers should follow the lead of these two visionary organizations. How? Contact Tamara Strom at Menorah Park (216-839-6678 or email@example.com) for more information about this project and for tips on how to plan something similar in your community.