Believe-it-or-not, not everything you hear on the radio is true! I’ve just mailed the following letter to Diane Rehm, who recently aired a show on Long-Term Care insurance (LTCi) that contained many inaccuracies.
I’ve been specializing exclusively in sales and support of LTCi for over 22 years. Sadly, I can still only dream of the day that long-term care insurance will be truthfully and accurately covered by the media.
June 21, 2012
Dear Ms. Rehm:
I enjoy listening to your show whenever I can.
As an expert who has specialized in the placement of long-term care insurance (LTCi) policies for over 22 years, I took great interest in your May 29, 2012 program.
I have just listened to this show again online, this time isolating many inaccuracies.
Not a single one of your panelists represented the LTCi industry! One is a journalist, three are academics and or work at a non-profit. None are insurance licensed or have direct experience selling LTCi.
This was not a program on long-term care insurance. This show was about exploring how and why the government needs to pay for long-term care. This show could or should have more aptly been called “Options for Publicly Paid LTC” or “How to Fix Long-Term Care,” or “Why Publicly Paid LTC Needs Re-vamping.” This is Mr. Gleckman’s area of expertise and you spent a lot of on air time with him. Mr. Gleckman is unqualified to answer many of the questions you asked about LTCi, however, as were your other panelists.
I know how strongly you must feel about helping your listeners, but this program has hurt them. I understand this was inadvertent, but because your guests attempted to address questions they were unqualified to answer, LTCi was unfairly disparaged.
On the following pages I have identified just a few specific instances where false on-air statements and/or answers were given, resulting or the unwarranted disparagement of LTCi.
Your listeners deserve to know the truth about LTCi. Studies show that over 95% of all LTCi claims are paid and that LTCi policyholders are very satisfied at claim time. The reasons that claims are rejected are straightforward and should have been clearly explained to your listeners.
LTCi premiums do not have to be expensive. What can be expensive is needing LTC for a lengthy amount of time and not owning LTCi.
LTCi is about making sure that people have the dignity, options and choices they’ve been accustomed to throughout their entire life, including at the end of life, when the cost of healthcare is most likely to be catastrophically high. You did not emphasize this, yet this is what should have been highlighted. In addition, LTCi preserves wealth. Most people buy LTCi for the first reason and consider wealth preservation to be a secondary benefit. (This is why people with high net worth AND people with barely any net worth often buy LTCi.)
The primary reason why more people do not own LTCi is because they are simply unwilling to discuss or imagine a future in which they might require long-term care, not because premiums are high.
Mr. Gleckman’s goals for public LTC financing sound great in theory, but in light of practical issues like today’s political environment and huge budget shortfalls, LTCi policyholders do not and will not count on this. And neither should Americans without LTCi.
Currently, the majority of LTC in the USis paid for with government dollars. Few things in life are easier to demonstrate than the already inferior quality of government-paid nursing homes, and this is before the deluge of Baby Boomers starts overwhelming this system.
This program has hurt your listeners badly. You would do your listeners a true service if you would invite some guests who are actually experts on LTCi onto your program. I would be happy to help you identify such individuals.
Please see the following pages for examples of falsehoods aired on your program.
Documentation of May 29, 2012 Diane Rehm Show LTCi disparagment
Ms Langford states that Lifetime benefits are “extraordinarily expensive,” which is false and disparaging of LTCi.
Ms. Langford states that built-in 5% compounding is what has driven recent Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCi) rate hikes. This is patently false. The primary reasons are: higher than anticipated persistency and artificially protracted, low interest rates on the sizeable reserves that insurance companies are required by law to maintain to cover claims. For more information on the causes of recent LTCi rate hikes, read the article National LTC Events, found at
Ms. Langford quotes the average cost of care as $238/day. This is the average cost of nursing home care. People who own LTCi are highly unlikely to receive care in nursing homes because LTCi enables them to afford preferable options like assisted living and home health care. However, people who do not own LTCi and spend down their life’s savings until they qualify for Medicaid will likely wind up in nursing homes. It is wrong to peg the average cost of care for a LTCi policyholder at $238/day.
Mr. A states that LTCi is for the relatively affluent, this is false.
Repeatedly, points are made about LTCi preserving wealth. LTCi is primarily about preserving dignity and options, then wealth. I did not hear discussion of how much choice LTCi offers at all. This was a very large omission.
LTCi is not just for the top 15%, it predominantly for the middle class, who are most exposed. Very affluent people, as well as those with little net worth, also purchase it. Virtually all my policy holders want to ensure their dignity by having options and to reduce and/or avoid family arguments about money. LTCi is a solution that can be reasonably priced for almost anyone insurable, if they willing to learn about it.
Ms. Langford states the Lifetime benefit periods have driven recent LTCi rate hikes. Again, consult the brief article National LTC Events at
for the correct explanation of recent rate hikes. Ms. Langford also stated that Lifetime benefit periods and 5% compounding have caused recent LTCi market contraction. The cause of LTCi market contraction is the same cause as the recent LTCi rate hikes: higher than anticipated persistency and artificially protracted, low interest rates.
The discussion was on nursing home care. This is not where most LTCi policyholders get their care. People who own LTCi can normally get care at home or in an assisted living facility.
Mention was made that LTCi premiums are too high for moderate income people. This is false! What a disservice to your listeners! The panelist further discourages purchase of LTCi by stating that it is not a product for the broad middle class. This is false. LTCi can be made very affordable. The conversation was steered towards the use of Medicaid for LTC provision. This is economically irrational and unsustainable, and what about the quality of Medicaid-paid LTC? What is your preference? To be marooned in a Medicaid LTC facility, or would you prefer to receive your LTC at home or in an assisted living facility? The quality of Medicaid-paid LTC is a subject that was simply not addressed by your panelists. Furthermore, they are unqualified to answer your in-depth questions about LTCi and came to you with a clear anti-LTCi bias.
There was discussion of the stability of LTCi carriers. If you’d had actual LTCi experts on, they would have explained how and why LTCi carriers are enormously stable, and in fact a lot more trustworthy and capable of paying for LTC than the government is. What a pity LTCi was again disparaged.
A comment was made about the “disarray” of the LTCi industry, I believe by you. This is an inflammatory, false, and disparaging comment. The LTCi industry is in a state of contraction, not disarray. This comment was not useful to the public who are eager to actually learn about LTCi. Instead, throughout this program, the public was dissuaded from carefully evaluating LTCi. This was a true disservice.
Mention of LTCi’s high cost was made. LTCi can be made very affordable. What’s not affordable is needing LTC for a lengthy amount of time and not owning LTCi. If your panelists were qualified to talk about LTCi, they would have said this.
Minute 30:50 and again at minute 51:40
There was discussion of “surprise” rate hikes. LTCi rate hikes are unusual. LTCi rate hikes are neither arbitrary nor easy to get, due to strict government regulation. Disclosure of the possibility and carriers history of rate hikes is made obvious in all LTCi sales materials. Agents are carefully trained to explain this possibility and can be sanctioned if they don’t. All clients should understand this can happen when they place their applications.