LTC Bullet:  OPM on LTCI

Thursday, April 11, 2002


*** New donor-zone content in the "LTC Week in Review" feature includes LTC E-Alerts #s 107 to 111:  "Trust the Trustees?," "AALTCI Announces New LTCI Professional Designation," "Mandate LTCI Like Car Insurance?," "State News--OR, NJ, NY, IA, and KY," "Impending Medicare Cuts Threaten Nursing Homes."  As soon as you "Zone In," you can read these and the other 106 LTC E-Alerts.  For details, go to or email  She'll have you in The Zone in a jiffy. ***

*** The LTC Graduate Seminar near Baltimore Washington International Airport on April 22 is filling fast.  Reserve a spot:  We're firming up LTC Grad Seminars for Dallas and New Orleans in June; somewhere in the Northeast in July (possibly New York and/or Boston); Seattle and Portland, Oregon in August; possibly Atlanta in September; and Florida in October or November.  Let us know if you have any preferences.  Once you've expressed interest to, she'll keep you personally posted as our plans firm up.  For all the details on the LTC Graduate Seminar, go to  ***


Kay Coles James, currently the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, recently published an excellent op-ed piece on long-term care insurance in the Washington Times.  We'll provide a few excerpts below, but you can read the whole article at 

LTC Comment:  We first encountered Kay James at a National Press Club Forum on long-term care in 1998.  Her presentation followed the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's at that event.  She had the LTC issue nailed.  Her remarks were especially good on the problem of Medicaid planning and its chilling effect on the marketability of private insurance.  Back then, Ms. James was Dean of the Regent University School of Government.  So, how did she know so much about Medicaid and long-term care?  She learned at the college of hard knocks!  She ran a state Medicaid program as Secretary of Health and Human Resources in Virginia and she oversaw the national Medicaid program as Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Kay Coles James is a powerful force for rational long-term care policy in a key position to influence the Federal long-term care insurance program.

Excerpts from:  Kay Coles James, "New Federal Benefits With Responsibilities," Washington Times, April 3, 2002.

"We buy homeowners insurance, though thankfully most of us will probably never experience major damage from a house fire.  We buy car insurance, though most will never experience more than a minor fender bender and shopping cart dings.

"We recognize potential hazards and we act accordingly to be prepared for the unforeseen accidents that may lie ahead.

"But what about long-term care insurance?  I would guess you, like many, do not have this type of insurance, even though statistically there is a much higher probability you will need long-term care at some point in your life." . . .

"Fiscal responsibility and compassion demand that we make purchasing long-term care insurance as convenient as possible.  Without long-term care coverage, many of us will find ourselves on the road to publicly funded health care through Medicaid, the program designed to meet basic medical and long-term care needs of the impoverished.  When faced with the costs of long-term care, many who were never offered long-term care insurance policies as employees must turn to Medicaid as a last resort.

"Sadly, all too many of us know someone who has spent down and given away the assets they accumulated over a life of hard work in order to impoverish themselves to be eligible for government assistance when faced with the need for long-term care.  After a lifetime of careful planning and responsible behavior, they are forced to give up a piece of their dignity, their independence, their individuality, and their privacy as they move to dependence on government welfare programs.  There is a better way." . . .

"Individuals who purchase insurance to cover their long-term care immediately increase the options they have regarding the care they receive.  Many nursing homes accept only a limited number of Medicaid patients, so space may not be available when care is needed.  Additionally, the setting in which Medicaid pays for care is often not what we might prefer, such as adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, or the comfort of our own homes.  If individuals take advantage of the opportunity to purchase the right insurance, such as the coverage being sponsored by OPM, they will allow themselves greater control over where and how they receive their care."