Bullet: "Nursing Home Care Virtually Free For Life"
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
What follows is a transcription of excerpts from a
professionally produced and mass-distributed videotape.
The tape is an advertisement for a man and his company who promise
"nursing home care virtually free for life."
This financial miracle worker proudly proclaims that he is not an
attorney, a financial planner, nor, perish the thought, an insurance agent.
His video explains the cost and risk of long-term care in
stark terms. It tugs at the
viewer's heartstrings, dramatizing numerous sad stories of families stricken by
the emotional and financial strain of a long-term chronic illness.
The tape presents these stories with ostentatious expressions of
compassion and caring. It uses the same kind of alarming statistics also employed by
government agencies, LTC task forces, and marketers of private insurance to
convey, correctly, the need and urgency for long-term care protection.
Although this videotape never once mentions Medicaid, a
brochure that accompanied it makes clear that the magic wand permitting free
nursing home care for life is the Medicaid program (Medi-Cal in California).
The brochure proudly proclaims the company has "20 years of
experience" and "has helped thousands of families receive virtually
Free [sic] nursing home care and keep their home and savings while getting help
from Medi-Cal." A related
flyer says "We work throughout the USA.
Our services have spanned Florida to Hawaii."
The brochure also claims that this company has
"received numerous civic and professional awards for their work with the
elderly." Staff of the company
have been on the boards of the Alzheimer's Association and other advocacy
organizations. Its "speakers
are in high demand, presenting lectures to Discharge Planners, Social Workers,
and the general public."
We believe that after you read the following excerpts, you
may want to order a copy of this free tape, see for yourself, and perhaps send a
copy to the appropriate authorities. If
hundreds of Bullets readers requested the tape all at once, however, the
purveyor of this material might quickly curtail distribution.
Therefore, for the first few weeks, we will post the contact and ordering
information for this material only on the Center's donor-only zone at http://www.centerltc.com/members/index.htm.
In a month or so, we'll publish the same information for general
consumption in another LTC Bullet. In
the meantime, of course, we will make the information available to any
government officials or investigative bodies who request it.
Now read the following transcription and ask yourself how
and why such a program is allowed to persist.
Then, at the end of this Bullet (but before the boilerplate), read our
LTC Comment that explains why Medicaid charlatanism continues rampant despite
its damaging effects on the poor and in spite of every previous effort to stop
Videotape titled: "How
to Obtain Excellent Nursing Home Care at Minimal Costs"
"You may have been told by facility managers or others
that you have no choice but to pay those nursing home bills 100 percent with
your own savings or through the liquidation of other family assets.
Before you begin depleting your own resources to pay those nursing home
bills, please take the next hour to watch this tape. . . .
"The success record of [company name] has been nearly
100 percent in assisting ill or disabled individuals and families to obtain
ongoing nursing home care for an ill loved one virtually free for life.
In fact, [company name] guarantees its results. . . .
"They offer some excellent options to help you obtain
nursing home care for your ill family member while spending little or no money
out of your own pocket. It may
sound too good to be true, but it is not. . . .
"Did you know that you can own a home, have money in
the bank, and other assets and still be eligible for nursing home care at little
or no ongoing cost for life. . . .
"[Company name] has helped thousands obtain nursing
home care at little or no cost. . . .
"In our worst case scenario, on a respirator . . .,
you could be at $45 or $50 thousand a month for every month you're under that
respirator. You could eat up a
family with a half million or million dollar stake in a matter of less than a
year. . . . A million dollars
doesn't go very far anymore. . . .
"Your living trust won't protect you.
Medicare won't protect you. Supplementary
insurance won't protect you. LONG-TERM
CARE INSURANCE [emphasis added] won't protect you.
Even riches alone won't protect you. . . .
"With our assistance, long term care is available at
minimal or no cost for anyone needing care.
inset on screen]
"[Company name] can assist you in obtaining nursing
care at little or no ongoing cost without continuing to pay for long-term care
"In my opinion, it [LTCI] is not worth the paper it is
written on. . . .
I don't believe in long-term care insurance.
I think for the most part it's worthless. . . .
[Text inset shows amounts saved under pictures of (company
name) clients who saved the money while obtaining "nursing home care
virtually free for life"] "Saved
$199,000. Saved $220,000.
Saved $230,000. Saved
$257,000. Saved $400,000. Saved
$401,200. Saved $418,000." . .
"You don't need to spend thousands of dollars out of
pocket on nursing home care. A vast
number of individuals in skilled nursing care are needlessly spending their life
savings. In the process, their
families face the prospect of staggering bills and financial ruin.
For over twenty years, [company name] has provided customized financial
solutions to the problems in obtaining nursing care at little or no cost to
thousands of families and individuals. Don't
unnecessarily deplete your life savings paying for skilled nursing care.
Instead, have a legacy to pass on to your loved ones. . . .
"We have to have the wherewithal, and the ability, and
the flexibility to take advantage of those rules that are available to us to
protect the home, to protect the income, to protect the savings . . ..
"A single elderly person can get long-term care; they
can have a home; they can have cash, but they have to know how to do that.
Unfortunately, the way the system is designed they're not going to tell
them. If they get the kind of
advice that is generally floating out there, they're going to be told to spend
everything they've got. If they go
to someone else, they'll end up buying that policy for insurance that won't be
of any value. . .."
"What does the asset picture look like.
Do they own a home? Do they
own two homes? . . .
Do they have savings, stocks, bonds?
All of those variables have to be looked at. The portfolios have to be looked at. And the common goal is to get long-term care that is
permanent for that person, permanent meaning one year if you need it for one
year or twelve years if you need it
for twelve years, and still not use the very assets that we started talking
about. . . .
"Most people donít realize that it is never too late
to get help to cover the cost of nursing care.
Even if a loved one is already in a nursing home, or if funds are
currently being spent for their care, you can still get relief from monthly
nursing care bills by contacting [company name] for solutions.
Don't wait until there is nothing left.
[company name] can help you or a loved one obtain nursing home care they
deserve at little or no ongoing cost for life.
We guarantee it. . . .
"Even many professionals in nursing care such as
social workers, registered nurses, attorneys and CPAs call us for assistance and
solutions when a patient is facing a serious and lengthy illness. . . .
Like the professionals do, call [company name] for assistance."
"I WOULD SAY THE BULK OF OUR CLIENTELE IS IN THE $500
TO $900 THOUSAND DOLLAR RANGE [emphasis added]. And then we get a lot of clients in that $100 to $150
thousand dollar range. They have a
home. They have a little bit of
savings. They've worked hard all
their lives. . . .
"Everyone is entitled to and deserves quality nursing
home care at virtually no on-going cost to them.
We can help them. . . .
"People don't ever come walking into our doors and go
'I'll be sick next month.' They
come in after the fact. Everything
is already falling apart and our goal is to get them immediate benefits,
immediate care, which we can do. We
can do it in a week or less."
LTC Comment: Why
do we publicize this information? Won't
people take advantage of it to exploit the system even more?
Of course. The truth is,
however, they already are. How stupid do we think the public is? This information and much more like it is readily available
throughout the United States. People
see it and they use it. That's a
major reason why Medicaid is overwhelmed and so few people buy LTC insurance.
The stranger and more important question is:
why don't public officials, the Medicaid program and long-term care
providers, investors, and insurers do something about egregious Medicaid
planning instead of pretending it does not exist? Why don't the academics, think tanks and foundations study
and document the phenomenon instead of insisting, without study or
documentation, that it is uncommon? The
answer is simple. Everyone has a
stake in the status quo.
* The public
is always susceptible to "something for nothing" sales pitches.
There should be no surprise that people facing long-term care costs for
which they have not prepared are eager to get the government to pay, while
preserving their own savings or inheritances.
homes depend on Medicaid reimbursement. According
to the video, nursing homes sometimes refer prospective residents' families to
Medicaid planners. Taking Medicaid,
even at its low reimbursement rates, is better than losing the business
officials are afraid to discourage Medicaid planning because of the political
sensitivity. What elected official
wants to tell voters they're personally responsible for anything?
Rather, politicians send the message "Don't worry, the government
and I will take care of you."
* Of course
Medicaid planners themselves, whether they purvey lawyerly skills,
insurance-based "Medicaid-friendly" annuities, or the non-professional
advice in this video, make their easy, lucrative livings hawking something for
nothing to an unwitting public.
academics and the governments and foundations that fund them are ideologically
biased in favor of government financing for long-term care and against private
financing and insurance. They tend
to study only subjects that help them promote their political and economic
* But why do
LTC insurance marketers ignore or downplay the impact of widespread Medicaid
planning? Simple, they rely on the
myth of widespread, catastrophic, nursing home spend-down to sell the coverage.
They pretend the problem of Medicaid estate planning is minimal, because
to confront the reality would require difficult public policy work in a
minefield of politically sensitive issues.
In a nutshell, Medicaid planning continues to undermine the Medicaid program's ability to provide quality long-term care to the needy because objecting to Medicaid planning is not "politically correct." But how can a welfare program serve poor and rich alike without failing? It can't. That is why Medicaid is on the verge of collapse and America's long-term care service delivery and financing system is in little better condition. The Center for Long-Term Care Financing has proposed a sensible alternative called LTC Choice. Read our analysis of the problem and our proposed solution at http://www.centerltc.com/pubs/CLTCFReport.pdf.