LTC Bullet: Hang Together or Separately

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


LTC Comment: Consumer Reports' cheap shot at reverse mortgages extends a shabby series that previously targeted LTC insurance and nursing homes. More after the ***news.***

*** LTCI SALES SUFFER, BUT SO DO LIFE SALES. Financial Planning Daily reports "Life Insurance Sales Nosedive; Worst Drop in 67 Years." McKnight's Daily Update says "U.S. life expectancy rises to new record in 2007." So, we're living so long we don't need life insurance anymore? Seems like we'd need LTC insurance more than ever. Could it be the entitlement mentality engendered by decades of unfunded promises by government has put the public to sleep on both issues, life and LTC? ***

*** BONUS WEBSITE DEAL IS BETTER THAN EVER. All you have to do to have your very own LTC website designed by LTC Connection is join the Center for Long-Term Care Reform. That's right, join the Center for $150 per year, get all our publications and access to The Zone, including our "Almanac of Long-Term Care," and on top of that LTC Connection will design your website, waive their usual $59 set up fee, and give you three months of the $37 monthly maintenance fee for free. That's a total savings of $170 on your website. And you get the Center membership too! So, what do you have to do? Just contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or, join the Center, pay your membership fee, and say "I want my website." He'll give you a "promo code" you can use to get your website from LTC Connection for no additional charge until your fourth month of site maintenance. Already a member of the Center but want your free website? No problem. Renew your annual membership early and get the same deal. ***

*** MY MOM n POP. In case you missed yesterday's "LTC E-Alert #9-101: LTC Resource: My Mom n' Pop," be sure to check out for a wellspring of valuable content--including many videos--about coping with aging and long-term care. This could be a source of client referrals as well so look carefully. ***



LTC Comment: Today is 9/9/9. Well, at least it's not 666!

Anyway, remember all those poorly researched, ideologically biased broadsides against private long-term care insurance that Consumer Reports published over the years?

To spark your memory, here are two of our LTC Bullets taking the magazine to task for its sloppy work on LTCI:

LTC Bullet: Consumer Reports Targets LTCI, Hits Self, Wednesday, October 15, 2003:

LTC Bullet: More Bad Advice from Consumer Reports, Monday, November 15, 1999:

But LTCI isn't the only subject on which Consumer Reports has failed to report responsibly. They took on the nursing home industry too with the same kind of yellow journalism. We covered that miscarriage of editorial justice here:

LTC E-Alert #4-048--Can You Trust Consumer Reports About Nursing Homes?, Friday, October 8, 2004: (premium content; user name and password required)

Now it's the reverse mortgage industry's turn in the barrel. Consumer Reports' current issue (September 2009) contains a piece titled "Reversals of fortune: The next financial fiasco? It could be reverse mortgages." Read it here.

If you don't know much about reverse mortgages, CR's diatribe sounds pretty credible. But the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) takes the consumer magazine's article apart piece by piece, expending 3500 words to correct the deficiencies in the 490-word original.

Read their rebuttal, titled "NRMLA Questions Validity of Consumer Reports Piece on Reverse Mortgages: Old, No Longer Applicable Stories Used to Validate Scathing Attack; Recent Changes in Product Ignored," here.

I guess I find it hard to get too worked up about CR's unfair criticism of reverse mortgages. Most of the reverse mortgage industry seemed to accept the magazine's equally unfair condemnation of long-term care insurance as valid without challenge or review. Advocates of reverse mortgages rarely favor their use to supplement income so more people could afford LTCI premiums.

It just goes to show you. What goes around, comes around. Long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and long-term care providers are natural allies. Providers desperately need private funding sources, such as LTCI and RMs, to supplement the grossly inadequate reimbursement they receive from public programs like Medicaid.

It makes so much sense for these three long-term care stakeholders to work together, understand objectively their mutual pros and cons, and present a solid front in opposition to the likes of Consumer Reports, bureaucrats, and politicians who seek to expand government financing and control of long-term care.

But alas, as we explained in "The LTC Triathlon: Long-Term Care's Race for Survival," these natural allies rarely hang together.

So, as Ben Franklin warned the Founders a couple centuries ago, they most assuredly will hang separately.