LTC Bullet:  Medicaid Pushers 

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 

Orlando, FL-- 

LTC Comment:  Another NAELA member offers easy Medicaid LTC and seduces insurance producers with a promise of huge incomes, after the ***news.*** 

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*** ON THE ROAD AGAIN.  I'm on my way to Orlando to speak at a convention of reverse mortgage lenders tomorrow.  Friday I'm in Burlington, Vermont meeting with public and private sector LTC leaders.  Saturday and Sunday, I'm in North Carolina with Harley Gordon and his invitation-only VIP Study Group attendees.  Monday through Friday of the coming week, I'm in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine meeting with State Policy Network think tanks, their members and distinguished invitees, to talk about long-term care planning and public policy.  So, bottom line, expect some LTC Embed Reports from the Policy Front, on the road next week.  *** 

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LTC BULLET:  MEDICAID PUSHERS 

LTC Comment:  How do drug pushers attract gullible new customers?  They make their insidious product look good as candy, offer it seductively with promises too good to be true, and quickly entrap the na´ve and unwary. 

See any parallels with a Medicaid planner who promises government-funded LTC to clients and windfall profits to insurance agents without disclosing the myriad downsides of Medicaid long-term care?  What if the attorney advertises his firm as "The Teddy Bear Lawyers" and offers a 1000 percent guarantee, at least $10 back for every $1 you spend with him? 

Here's the story: 

Two weeks ago, Center member Rick DiLaurenzo, QFP, ChFC, LTCP, CASL, President of Insurance Marketing, Inc. in Montgomeryville, PA, forwarded to me an email invitation he'd received for a "Medicaid Planning Update" webinar. 

I decided to check it out.  You can too.  The program is archived online and I'll tell you where, but first here's a summary of the 45-minute infomercial for self-impoverishment. 

An insurance agent who seeks to sell "Medicaid qualifying annuities" introduces a Medicaid planner who is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  NAELA is the Medicaid planners' national trade association. 

The lawyer laments how awful it is that government welfare programs attempt to require people with income and assets to pay something toward their own long-term care before going on the dole.  So cruel!  So uncaring! 

He then explains how a Medicaid Qualifying Annuity (MQA) can make huge amounts of otherwise countable assets disappear and qualify someone for public assistance immediately.  He gives an example involving $387,000, much of which would have to be spent for long-term care except for the sweet deal he's promoting. 

Graphically he shows Superman changing clothes, but with a big "MQA" on his super-suit, instead of the man of steel's trademark "S." 

So, is a single-premium annuity a good investment for clients?  Heavens no, the lawyer says.  It's a lousy investment and pays very little return.  But it's a great investment, he says, compared to spending your money privately for long-term care. 

And then to insurance agents:  want to sell these magical Medicaid qualifying annuities, get lots of free referrals from attorneys, and double or triple your commissions?  This lawyer has his very own "private label" MQA.  Just come to his training sessions and you could enjoy this easy income too by promoting annuities that put middle class people on public welfare. 

All this and not a word in the whole program about the access and quality problems associated with Medicaid, the institutional bias, the loss of independence and control.  And of course, not a hint of civic responsibility toward preserving Medicaid as a safety net for the truly needy.  Just quick and easy ways to profiteer on the public assistance system and divert its scarce resources to affluent clients and "professionals" of dubious ethics. 

That's about it.  If you need to see this webinar to believe it, go here, register, and watch the archived webinar. 

If you still want more, check out this NAELA lawyer's website at http://www.lawelderlaw.com/.  Here are some examples, extracted from the site on May 28, 2007, of what you'll find there: 

"We know the legal rules to help qualify a loved one for Medicaid and to preserve the maximum amount permissible.  Many of our clients have been told by nursing home intake staff, social workers, Medicaid workers, and others that they do not qualify for Medicaid.  Nonetheless, we regularly save our clients between $100,000 and $500,000 of their life savings." 

"The 1000% Guarantee:  We guarantee that our advice to you will result in a measurable financial and/or care benefit of at least $10 for every $1.00 invested - That's a 1000% Return.  If we are unable to present you with a solution that provides you with $10 of benefits for every $1.00 invested, we will immediately return your check!" 

"Never, ever file a Medicaid application until you are sure that the Medicaid applicant qualifies! 

"Once you apply for Medicaid, you will lose the opportunity to protect your assets.  Do not throw away the flexibility that exists prior to an application!  If your assets show that you have more than the allowable amount, you will be required to spend-down those assets.  Call us first before completing any Medicaid application!  We can tell you within hours and sometimes minutes whether or not we can save you money. You will lose money and flexibility if you file for Medicaid too soon or too late.  Let us calculate the exact date that the Medicaid application should be submitted.  We can usually determine the amount of money that you will save and the appropriate date that the Medicaid application should be filed. . . . 

"We will detail all of the strategies that our clients have used to qualify for governmental benefits while safeguarding assets. . . . 

"We will represent you through the application and all face-to-face meetings with Medicaid caseworkers or higher-level officials." 

LTC Comment:  How can responsible senior financial advisors compete with that kind of shysterism?  Can NAELA claim professional respectability with such members?  Make no mistake.  These are the people making easy money off long-term care even as insurers and LTC providers take all the media criticism.  It isn't fair and the real professionals in the LTC field should rise in protest every time they see this kind of "dope" being peddled.