LTC Bullet: Season's Greetings and a Holiday Policy Gift

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Seattle--

LTC Comment: A challenging but rewarding year ends with real progress in New York, Nebraska, and elsewhere. Santa's bringing a prize for taxpayers and the needy, but a lump of coal for Medicaid planners. Let the ***news*** follow a message today. Happy Holidays!

The Center for Long-Term Care Financing wishes you a wonderful holiday season and a terrific new year. We look forward to continuing our work with you on behalf of America's seniors, their families, and long-term care professionals--all of whom are struggling in the face of so many challenges. Great progress lies ahead if we persevere in the fight for rational and fiscally sound LTC public policy reform. So let's rest, relax, refresh and rejoin the battle reinvigorated. "LTC Bullets" and our donor-only zone content (LTC E-Alerts, Readers and Data Bases) will resume in January.

In the meantime, according to Kiplinger's magazine, "one of the easiest ways to increase your tax deductions is to open your heart and your wallet and contribute to your favorite charities." We couldn't agree more! This year has been an unprecedented challenge for the Center for Long-Term Care Financing as we've described in previous LTC Bullets. We would greatly appreciate your year-end tax-deductible donation to help us begin 2004 with renewed dedication, strength and support. If your company matches charitable gifts by employees, please take advantage and let us know. It's a great way to leverage your gift! Your $150 contribution still brings a year of LTC Bullets and donor-only zone content and access. Mail your contribution to the Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, WA 98109 or contribute online at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm .

Thank you for being there for the Center and for the mission: to ensure access to quality long-term care for all Americans.

*** SURPRISE HOLIDAY POLICY GIFT. News today is that Senator Raymond A. Meier and the New York Senate are moving forward with plans to target Medicaid to the needy and encourage private LTC financing. Here are links to and excerpts from the major stories:

New York Times, December 23, 2003: "Medicaid Plan Would Restrict Nursing Homes to Truly Poor,"
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/23/nyregion/23MEDI.html?pagewanted=print&position=

"Leaders of the State Senate yesterday proposed far-reaching revisions of Medicaid, the health plan for the poor that has become a crippling burden on New York's state and local governments."

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The Associated Press, December 23, 2003, "Medicaid Cost Restraints Proposed,"
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/today/localnews/stories/lo122303s6_p.shtml

"Because of the typical $200-a-day cost of caring for a person in a nursing home, families often take advantage of current statutes that allow non-institutionalized spouses to pour assets into exempted categories, such as a house or car. Families, citing limited cash assets, then apply for Medicaid to assume the cost of nursing home care for the institutionalized spouse.

"Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, said it 'isn't fair or equitable' for families to try to preserve large estates to give to their children when a family member is receiving tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of Medicaid-covered care.

"In addition to limiting asset transfers and lowering family asset limits, the Senate proposed extending the 'look-back' period to bring more of a family's assets into play for purposes of considering a Medicaid coverage application for long-term care."

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The Business Review, December 23, 2003, "Senate Task Force Recommends Ways to Save Medicaid Expenses," http://albany.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2003/12/22/daily10.html?jst=b_ln_hl

"Laws that allow wealthy and middle class families to hide assets so that Medicaid winds up caring for their elderly relatives must be changed, a report released Dec. 22 by the state Senate said."

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For an excellent and detailed report backing up the State Senate's action, including dozens of recommendations to improve Medicaid and expand private LTC financing in New York, see "Preserving Long Term Care for the Long Term Future: A Report of the NYAHSA Medicaid Reform Task Force," December 2003, by the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging at http://www.nyahsa.org/documents/pdf_files/32212307.pdf

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We can't claim credit for these developments, but the Center for Long-Term Care Financing did play a role. Early last year in New York, Center President Steve Moses presented the case for targeting Medicaid to the needy and encouraging responsible LTC planning and private financing for others. MedAmerica, the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA) and the NY Association of Counties sponsored a conference called "The Medicaid Monologues" designed to help New York legislators and policy makers see the value of saving Medicaid by encouraging private LTC financing. After the conference, our meeting with New York State Senator Raymond A. Meier presented recommendations on ways to utilize Medicaid LTC funds more effectively and encourage private financing alternatives.

New York's responsible actions, combined with hopeful moves by CMS and NCOA toward home equity conversion, forward-looking waiver requests to expand Medicaid eligibility controls in MA, MN, and CT, and the Center's new study for the Nebraska State Legislature ( http://www.centerltc.com/pubs/Nebraska.pdf ) show that 2003 is closing with many promising developments. Let's hope 2004 will be the breakthrough year to save Medicaid for the needy by protecting the middle class from long-term care risk. ***

*** Read Steve Moses' latest article, titled "On the Lack of True Marketing of Long-Term Care Insurance," online in the December 2003 issue of Health Insurance Underwriter: http://nahu.timberlakepublishing.com/article.asp?article=805

The lead: "Lured by promising demographics, dozens of long-term care insurance carriers, hundreds of brokers and thousands of agents have tried to sell long-term care insurance only to give up and exit the market. Most of those who continue to sell the product are less than thrilled by the return on their investment."

Pull quote: "Like the Marines, LTCI agents are expected to do the difficult immediately and the impossible over time." ***

*** Final appeal: Around this time of year, we count our blessings. We also write checks to organizations whose work we want to support. The Center for Long-Term Care Financing fights for rational LTC policy to help seniors obtain quality long-term care. We encourage private financing of LTC to relieve the burden on public programs needed by the less fortunate. The Center is often the only organization battling against Medicaid planning, which profiteers off public assistance and turns the middle class against responsible long-term care planning. Please support the Center with a generous contribution. Join the mission to save Medicaid for the needy by preparing everyone else to pay privately for long-term care. Please send your tax deductible donation to Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, Washington 98109. You may also contribute online at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm . Many thanks and Happy Holidays. ***

*** LATEST DONOR-ONLY ZONE CONTENT: Here's the latest Zone content followed by instructions on how to subscribe so you can receive these critical epistles daily by email.

LTC E-Alert #3-066--Message from Medicare is You're on Your Own (Forget about Medicaid and Medicare for adult day care.)

The LTC Reader #3-052--LTCI in Europe (Whad'ya know? Private LTCI is getting traction in Europe.)

Don't miss our "virtual visits" to major LTC industry conferences in The Zone. You'll find our comparison of the conferences, session summaries, interviews and pictures at http://www.centerltc.com/members/index.htm .

Individual donors of $150 or more and corporate donors to the Center for Long-Term Care Financing receive our daily email LTC Bullets, LTC E-Alerts, LTC Readers, and LTC Data Updates for a full year. You'll also get access to the donor-only zone where these publications are archived along with other donor-only features. If you already qualify for The Zone, you can click the following link, enter your user name and password, and go directly to the latest donor zone content and archives: http://www.centerltc.com/members/index.htm . If you do not already qualify for The Zone, mail your tax-deductible contribution of $150 or more to the Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, WA 98109. Then email mailto:damon@centerltc.org your preferred user name and password (up to 10 characters each). You can also contribute online by credit card or direct withdrawal at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm . ***