LTC Bullet:  Shelton on LTCI

Friday, April 19, 2013

Augusta, Maine—

LTC Comment:  Phyllis Shelton’s new book on long-term care insurance is a tour de force.  Reviewed after the ***news.***

***  MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERIES:  I’m working on a study of Medicaid estate recoveries in Maine.  Last week I interviewed experts by phone in six states that do Medicaid recoveries especially well.  This week I visited a model program in Des Moines, Iowa and now I’m drilling down with Medicaid staff in Maine searching for ways to enhance their program.  Why estate recoveries?  It’s how a program like Medicaid, intended as a safety net for the poor, can also help middle class people who’ve failed to plan.  By collecting from estates Medicaid can allow program recipients to retain some income and assets, such as a home, which they’d otherwise have to liquidate when stricken by long-term chronic illness.  In the absence of estate recoveries, which federal law made mandatory in 1993, Medicaid operates as free inheritance insurance indemnifying heirs and desensitizing baby boomer consumers to the risk and cost of LTC.  Maine does a good job with estate recoveries already, but we hope to help the state find ways to do even better. Watch for a full report in next week’s LTC Bullet. ***

*** CRITICAL ILLNESS.  "According to the American Association for Critical Illness, 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy this year – 60 percent of them due to medical bills (a 50% increase over the last six years). Surprisingly, 78 percent of them have health insurance, but are still unable to meet the high cost of deductibles, co-payments, and daily living expenses. A new educational platform,, has been launched to help consumers better understand the benefits of supplemental solutions like Critical Illness Insurance to help fill the gaps."  Read more here. ***

*** SPOTLIGHT ON:  Medicaid and Medicare Key Numbers

Need the latest Medicaid and Medicare numbers? Your Center for Long-Term Care Reform has you covered. We have current data, updated annually, all the way back to the early 1990s. In this feature you not only have a historical archive of essential Medicaid and Medicare numbers, you have access to the current numbers as soon as they are released. Our Medicaid and Medicare Key Numbers feature is located in our Members-Only Zone website. If you need your user name and password, or are not yet a member and would like to join, click here or simply contact Damon (206-283-7036 / Zone in today and you’ll find a wealth of useful resources! ***  



LTC Comment:  Phyllis Shelton’s latest volume on LTCI covers this topical moving target admirably.  So much is changing in the field of long-term care planning, yet this book is comprehensive, up to date through the start of 2013 and (mostly) accurate.  I could quibble with a few points about Medicaid, but they’re minor and, if you’re concerned about that morass of complexity, you’d probably better consult your local welfare agency anyhow.

Protecting Your Family with Long-Term Care Insurance:  A Complete Guide to Long-Term Care Planning including traditional and hybrid policies and alternative funding options!, by Phyllis Shelton, LTCi Publishing, Henderson, Tennessee, 2013 is presented in eight chapters.  They cover the usual obligatory material such as LTC risk, cost, planning, coverage, and options.  I’ll focus on a couple of things I thought the book did especially well.

Phyllis Shelton has been a thoughtful analyst and passionate advocate of private long-term care insurance for over 25 years.  She weaves her background and experience into nearly every page of the book.  You’ll find personal stories from her own family and from her thousands of clients.  These anecdotes ground the needfully complex details and theory in practical and emotional reality.  Readers will take this journey of discovery with a guide who’s been around the block more than most experts.

One key area of LTC planning that usually gets short shrift is “what do you do if you can’t qualify for LTC insurance?”  Shelton does a particularly good job with this subject. 

“Chapter 7:  People Who Do Not Qualify for LTC Insurance” covers Life Insurance or Annuities, Life Settlements, Reverse Mortgages, LTC Immediate Annuities (medically underwritten), Short-Term Care Products, and Medicaid.  “Chapter 6:  Alternatives to LTC Insurance” covers some of the same subjects from a different perspective.

The author’s own flyleaf caveat says what the prospective consumer needs to know about this book:  “You’re not sure LTC insurance is the best solution for you?  No problem.  After you read this book, you will know enough to make an informed decision and I will have done my job.  However, I caution you to not procrastinate on this decision.  The long-term care insurance market is changing rapidly.  And you, dear friend, could become uninsurable with your next heartbeat.” 

My own dust jacket blurb for the book sums it up:  “The name Phyllis Shelton is synonymous with long-term care education.  Who better to guide you through the shoals of LTC planning in this time of rapid change and elevated risk?” 

Find promotional details and where to order the book here: