LTC Bullet:  LTC Un-Awareness Month

Friday, October 16, 2015


LTC Comment:  After years of “LTC Awareness Months,” why does LTC denial still prevail?  We explain after the ***news.***

*** LTC AWARENESS MONTH began in 2001 as “LTC Awareness Week” promoted by Jesse Slome and the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  In 2004 or 2005, the week dedicated to awakening the public about LTC risk and cost grew to a month.  This campaign of education and marketing aimed at cracking through the seemingly impenetrable wall of LTC ignorance and denial continues unabated.  Kudos to Jesse and AALTCI for their hard work and unflagging commitment to this mission. ***

*** LTC CLIPPING SAMPLE:  Every day we send LTC Clippings subscribers real time news they need to know about LTC services and financing with our comments.  Contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or to subscribe by upgrading your membership to “Premier” ($250 per year).  That’s just an extra $100 for most Center members and only a little more than $20 per month for new subscribers.

10/14/2015, “Caregiver Thought Leader Interview: Dr. Samuel Henderson,” by Gary Barg, Today’s Caregiver

Quote:  “It has been 12 years since any new compounds have been advanced for Alzheimer’s disease. I think that reflects our fundamental misunderstanding of the disease. As you know, the primary hypothesis for Alzheimer’s disease is what is called an amyloid cascade hypothesis. Unfortunately, all of the large phase, (what are called Phase Three efficacy trials), have failed. I think the field is really struggling now with what really does cause Alzheimer’s disease and how we can tackle that best.”

LTC Comment:  This interview is one of the most interesting things I’ve read recently on Alzheimer’s Disease. ***



LTC Comment:  We’d like to thank Center Bronze corporate sponsor United Security Assurance for commissioning the following article.  Despite the heroic efforts of so many for so long, LTC awareness still trails our hopes and expectations.  Redoubling our efforts may help, but recognizing the cause of the problem and solving it is the permanent solution.  Toward that end, we offer . . . 

“LTC Un-Awareness Month”
Stephen A. Moses

You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.  Yeah.  It’s nuts.

Yet, come November 1 every year, that’s what we continue to do.  We lament the public’s denial of long-term care risk and cost.  We repeat all the reasons to plan early and responsibly.  We urge government to educate, advocate and incentivize LTCI.  We implore consumers to buy the product.

What has it gotten us? 

Private long-term care insurance sales are down precipitously and neither the federal nor the state governments have lifted a finger lately to help.

What challenges do the “AMGs” (altruistic, masochistic geniuses) who still sell private LTC insurance face?  To name a few . . .

  • A public that thinks Medicare pays for LTC

  • Prominent carriers leaving the market

  • Rising premiums

  • Increasing underwriting declines

  • A shortage of good leads

  • A demographic sweet spot (40 to 50 year olds) that isn’t

But those are only the symptoms of LTCI’s malaise.  As it is for the medical profession, so it is for insurance:  if you treat the symptoms of disease instead of its underlying cause, you run the risk of making the ailment worse instead of better.

What is the cause of LTCI’s disorder?  Easy to explain; much harder to fix.

Government (Medicaid and Medicare) has paid for most expensive long-term care since 1965, not only for the poor, but also for the middle class and even the affluent when they take advantage of “Medicaid planning.”

Easy access to government financing after the insurable event occurred desensitized consumers to the risk and cost of long-term care thus enabling widespread denial that on the face of it seems irrational, but isn’t because of the Medicaid safety net.

Overspending on social engineering including LTC financing landed the state and federal governments in a financial morass of overspending, overpromising, burgeoning debt and unfunded liabilities leaving few resources to promote private LTC planning.

Futile monetary efforts to boost the economy by pushing interest rates down to nothing undercut profitable distribution of any insurance product based on building reserves, including private LTC insurance.

Do you see the connection between the symptoms and the causes? 

  • The public still mistakenly thinks Medicare pays for LTC because the fact that Medicaid actually does pay has anesthetized generations to the risk and cost of LTC.

  • Prominent carriers left the market because government fiscal and monetary policy crowded out demand for LTC insurance and shrank the product’s profitability.

  • Raising premiums was the responsible private-sector reaction to government-induced, artificially low interest rates that obviated lower premiums.

  • Increasing underwriting declines were another way to shore up LTCI’s financial viability in the face of negative public policy.

  • The shortage of good leads and the lack of interest among 40 to 50 year olds are just another way of saying the public has been duped into a false sense of security.

So what should we do about this problem?  Will attacking the symptoms with more studies, education and importuning the government for tax subsidies succeed?  Decades of trying those measures have fallen flat.

So how can we tackle the real cause?  I recommend two approaches.

  1. LTCI producers need to address the causes, not just the symptoms of consumers’ denial.  Learn to understand why the public is in denial about LTC risk and cost.  Show them why ignorance isn’t bliss.  Explain why going bare and hoping for the best is a plan to fail, not just a failure to plan.  To make those arguments, you’ll need to know why, how and to what extent the social safety net for long-term care is vulnerable and untrustworthy.  Find the answers at and in our LTC Bullets, LTC E-Alerts and LTC Clippings.

  2. LTCI carriers need to shift some of their resources toward effective public policy advocacy.  Beseeching the federal and state governments for tax incentives, education programs, and all forms of rent-seeking is fruitless.  Show instead how targeting scarce public LTC resources to the truly needy will save taxpayers money and simultaneously redirect the middle class and affluent to save, invest and insure privately for long-term care.

Easier said than done you say?  Well, yeah!  We’ve been pursuing those approaches at the Center for Long-Term Care Reform since 1998.  No one knows better than we do how difficult the mission is.  But we’ve had major successes before, as when the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 tightened Medicaid financial eligibility and unfettered the LTC Partnership Program.  We can have more and bigger successes in the future as the government’s ability to fund programs that discourage private LTC planning becomes less and less viable.

In the meantime, your Center for Long-Term Care Reform is fighting the good fight for responsible LTC planning and rational LTC public policy.  We bring you critical information, trenchant analysis, and best practices every week in LTC Bullets, LTC E-Alerts and LTC Clippings.  If you’re not a member, join.  If you are a member, keep the faith.

We can and will prevail.  Failure is not an option.  Too much is at stake.  When we confront the causes of the LTC financing crisis, not just the symptoms, we will get the desired result.