LTC Bullet:  The Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care, 2nd Edition:  A Book Review

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seattle—

LTC Comment:  Should you pony up almost $100 for this new guide to long-term care financing and insurance?  Answers and a review after the ***news.***

*** HARLEY GORDON (CLTC) AND JONAS ROESER (3IN4 NEED MORE) are joining forces in a new venture they call “Agent Review.”  Check it out here:  www.agentreview.net.  They say “Agent Review will offer non-biased guidance for consumers looking for core insurance products on the Internet, resulting in an opportunity for agents to increase their visibility and credibility.  For the first time consumers will have a dedicated resource to find agents whose credentials have been independently verified.  Consumers will then be given the option of rating their agent experience to help others make informed decisions.”  Want to learn more?  Watch their video.  Want to join them?  Go to their Kickstarter page to pledge.  Based on their professional reputations, their valuable contributions to the LTC insurance market, and the merits of this initiative, the Center for Long-Term Care Reform supports it.  We’ll publish an LTC Bullet about Agent Review soon. ***

*** LTC CLIPPING:  We highlight the following “clipping” sent to our LTC Clippings subscribers last week because it comes from the lead author of the book we’re reviewing in today’s LTC Bullet.  To subscribe to LTC Clippings, contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or damon@centerltc.com.

11/11/2014, “Your Next Sales Idea from LTCA:  ‘The Noblest Profession,” by Stephen D. Forman of Long Term Care Associates

Quote:  “I’ve grown up around them since I was a child, and have met and known thousands. To me, there’s something unique about the LTCI Specialist which sets him or her apart from the other professions—and I mean no disrespect to our distinguished colleagues. But it’s this: most have chosen this path because of a personal experience with long-term care, and have become agents in order to spare others the emotional, physical, psychological and financial heartache they’ve experienced firsthand.

LTC Comment:  Center corporate member, LTC advocate and author Steve Forman’s paean to LTCI specialists is an inspiring read for you “AMGs” out there during Long-Term Care Awareness Month. ***

 

LTC BULLET:  THE ADVISOR’S GUIDE TO LONG-TERM CARE, 2ND EDITION:  A BOOK REVIEW

LTC Comment:  The Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care, 2nd Edition, by Stephen D. Forman, CLTC (lead author) and Jeff Sadler, CLTC is a 2014 publication of the well-regarded National Underwriter Company, which also publishes LifeHealthPRO and BenefitsPRO.

There are a lot of good books on long-term care services, financing, and insurance.  Do you really need another one in your library especially with a hefty price tag? 

Short answer:  Not necessarily.  But you do need access to this volume for reasons that will become clear as you read this review.  So, if you’re one of those “AMG’s” referenced in the clipping above and you’re struggling to make ends meet as a long-term care specialist, maybe you just encourage the carriers or distributors you work with to buy this book and make it available to you.  Or better yet, ask your local library to purchase the guide and make it available to the general public, which should also read it to become well-informed consumers.  But if you’re in a financial position to purchase the volume outright, here’s good news:  access the order form through the banner on the Center for LTC Reform’s website (a couple clicks down and on the left) and you’ll automatically receive $10 off the $106 cost of the print or e-book edition.  If you want both the print and electronic versions, you’ll get the same $10 discount off the combined price of $132.50 making the total cost $122.50, plus shipping and tax of course.

Full disclosure:  Steve Forman, the lead author, is a friend, colleague and, with his brothers and through their company Long Term Care Associates, a corporate supporter of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform.  He references the Center’s publications frequently in this book.  We’ve also admired co-author Jeff Sadler’s work, including the first edition of this volume, for many years.

The Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care, 2nd Edition consists of four parts: 

“Part1:  Current Trends in Long-Term Care” covers LTC Partnership programs, Medicaid LTC, combo products, worksite plans, and other trends and issues.  I always scrutinize books on long-term care by looking at their chapter on Medicaid first.  This one passes muster.

“Part 2:  A Short History of Long-Term Care Insurance” takes the reader back to the beginning and right up to the present, a fascinating journey even if you’ve lived through it yourself as I have.

“Part 3:  Who Should Consider Long-Term Care Insurance” explains why boomers, Generation X, the Medicare generation and both employers and employees should be planning for long-term care and considering private LTC insurance.

“Part 4:  Which Long-Term Care Insurance Products and Plans Work Best?” examines the elements of a long-term care insurance plan in general and then focuses on combination products, the traditional individual product and alternatives to LTCI including reverse mortgages, life settlements, and longevity annuities.

LTC Comment:  President Lincoln said “If we could first know where we are and wither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it.” (House Divided Speech, 1858)  He might have added “how we got there.”  Failure to examine the history of how long-term care service delivery and financing became so messed up in the USA is the main reason analysts and LTC commissions fail to find workable solutions.  One of the best things about this book is its focus on the history of long-term care and LTC insurance.  Its first part on “trends” and its second part on historical background give the reader invaluable context to understand why, as I’ve written elsewhere, “we have a welfare-financed, nursing-home-based long-term care system in the wealthiest country in the world where no one wants to go to a nursing home yet few plan for LTC or purchase LTC insurance.”

Check out “Chapter 5:  Recent Trends in the Long-Term Care Industry” for the latest developments.  It covers gender-based rates; underwriting innovations; research initiatives like the National Commission on Long-Term Care, the Society of Actuaries’ “Land This Plane” effort, and the new Bipartisan Policy Center.  My favorite part of this chapter was the section on “Language,” which dissects the neologism “long-term services and supports.”  LTSS is elitist code for “we don’t like long-term care because it implies warehousing old people in nursing homes.”  The irony is that the academics and advocates using the LTSS euphemism are the same people whose demand that government programs cover most, and steadily more and more long-term care, caused the very institutional bias in the system they’re now trying to reverse without addressing the real problem—excessive dependency on public financing and Medicaid’s crowd out of private financing alternatives. 

The rest of the book is a thoughtful roadmap through the thicket of rules, regulations and considerations that go into making sound recommendations for suitable products to meet the needs of consumers.  Unfortunately, making smart decisions about long-term care planning options requires a guide through this tangled web of mostly government-imposed obstacles.  If you wake prospects up to the risk and cost of long-term care; overcome their denial and belief that somebody must already pay for LTC (Medicaid, Medicare, Make-a-Wish); crack through the affordability and premium-increase problems caused by Fed policy to force interest rates to zero; convince them that even if it won’t happen to them, as of course it won’t, still what would happen to their families and loved ones if it did? (thank you Harley Gordon for this insight as both authors are graduates of the CLTC certification program); even if you make it through all of this, you still have to show the client a wide array of product options from a narrowing range of carrier “manufacturers” designed to meet the perceived needs of people who really don’t want to be bothered by this worrisome topic.

Negotiating that maze is what the Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care will very ably help you do.  And in the course of reading the book, you’ll come across many anecdotes and quips that leaven the dryer topics with humor and sometimes, side-ways insights.  My advice:  buy the book or borrow it, but read it.  You’ll be doing yourself, but especially your prospects and clients, a favor.