LTC Bullet: How to Cure LTC

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Memphis, TN (LTC Tour Mile 9,425, State #10)

LTC Comment: "Three Cures for What's Ailing Long-Term Care," after the ***news.***

*** FEEDBACK from Steve Moses's 2-hour LTC Graduate Seminar presented yesterday to the Central Arkansas Health Underwriters Association:

"I have never sold LTC coverage but your presentation convinced me there is a need! In fact, I need to buy myself and family members should buy also!" Alanna Scheffer

"What an eye-opening presentation. You are obviously an expert in the field. Thank you for taking the message across the country." Helen Todd

"Very enlightening. I had no idea how this all came about!" Maxine Fricioni

"Thanks for turning on the head lights as we look out the windshield [and not the rear-view mirror] of the LTC car." Michael Ferguson ***

*** GET THE SAME COURSE FOR YOUR MEMBERS. Thanks to the financial support of our LTC Tour coordinating sponsors, we're able to make the 2-hour LTC graduate seminar available free of charge to NAHU and NAIFA chapters all across the country. Check with Damon at 206-283-7036 or damon@centerltc.com to schedule your event. Pick a date when the Silver Bullet of Long-Term Care (and I) will be in your area. Consult the LTC Tour's calendar, schedule and itinerary at the top of www.centerltc.com, specifically http://www.centerltc.com/TourCalendar/General.htm#April. Scroll through the months until you find your state (listed by region right below the month). Then look for an open date that fits within the dates and locations already scheduled. ***

*** GET THE FULL DOSE. Alternatively, you can sign up for the full eight-hour LTC Graduate Seminar and watch it online at your leisure. First, watch a free 30-minute Webinar that describes the course at http://www.centerltc.com/WebinarAnnouncingLTCGradSem.wmv. Allow a couple minutes to download. Learn even more about the new online LTC Graduate Seminar at http://www.centerltc.com/LTC_Grad_Seminar/online.htm. Questions or comments? Contact the Center for Long-Term Care Reform at info@centerltc.com or 206-283-7036. You can get the full LTC Graduate Seminar webinar AND a whole year of membership in the Center for Long-Term Care Reform for only $225. Based on the feedback from past attendees and Center members, that is an investment you should recoup very quickly as you help many more people protect themselves against the risk and cost of LTC. ***

 

LTC BULLET: HOW TO CURE LTC

LTC Comment: Want to read a succinct report that sums up the problem with long-term care financing policy and proposes the right solutions? Here's your chance.

Lewis Andrews and Natalie Kindred of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in Hartford, Connecticut delivered the goods.

Read their April 2008 report "Three Cures for What's Ailing Long-Term Care" at http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/files/pdf/82463_Yankee_Three_Cure_Study.pdf.

The "Executive Summary" follows, but here's the bottom line. To fix LTC: (1) give Medicaid back to the poor; (2) promote private LTC insurance; and (3) encourage the use of home equity to fund LTC. Right on!

Thanks to Center member and supporter Tony Stratidis of Marsh PCLIS for bringing the published report to our attention.

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Executive Summary of "Three Cures for What's Ailing Long-Term Care" by Lewis Andrews and Natalie Kindred of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in Hartford, Connecticut (www.yankeeinstitute.com)

Already spiraling toward financial crisis, Medicaid is facing a challenge of unprecedented proportions in the years ahead. Because of the tremendous cost of long term health care (LTC) and Medicaid's porous eligibility structure, too many citizens obtain full coverage for their institutional long term care. The financial strain this practice imposes on Medicaid threatens the very future of the program.

That one must literally become poor in order to be eligible for Medicaid is a misconception. People can become eligible for nursing home care under Medicaid as long as their income falls under the cost of nursing home care. In fact, they can retain an unlimited number of exempt assets, including their homes.

Because Medicaid reimbursement rates usually fall below the actual cost of care, the poor, who rely solely on Medicaid for their long term care, receive a reduced quality of care.

As long as Medicaid's eligibility loopholes allow people to feel insulated from the often staggering costs of long term care, which can total hundreds of thousands of dollars, individuals have no incentive to prepare for long term care financing.

Aging baby boomers represent a massive uptick in long term care demand, expected to test the limits of Medicaid in the decades to come. This is especially true in Connecticut because of the state's disproportionate number of older citizens. Demand for long term health care services in Connecticut is expected to jump 30 percent by 2030.

The consequences of Medicaid overuse will only balloon as baby boomers enter retirement and beyond. Now is the time to reform Medicaid and to offer solutions to the long term care conundrum.

This study describes the problems posed by long term health care financing to both individuals and the Connecticut economy as a whole. Three practical solutions are proposed:

1. First and foremost, the disincentives to taking personal responsibility for long term care financing must be eliminated. To do so, policymakers must reform Medicaid eligibility to prevent overuse by citizens for whom this program is not intended.

2. Once Medicaid eligibility is tightened, individuals will inevitably seek alternative methods of long term care financing. For those who are able, long term care insurance represents an affordable and viable solution to preparing for long term care. Policymakers and private insurance companies should publicize and promote information on long term health care insurance.

3. Converting home equity into a source of long term health care financing is another option available to consumers. Using reverse mortgages, long term care consumers may remain in their homes (health permitting) while enjoying an adequate flow of funding for their expensive health needs.