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Watch your backside, Joe Q. Public

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November 4-10 is Long-Term Care Awareness Week, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more aware of LTCI than I am right now.

This is a market that seems poised to explode in the coming decade as throngs of baby boomers hit 60 every day. At least it had better explode, or the country will be in big trouble, according to some of the industry leaders who make up our LTCI Power List (see “The Power List: Who’s Who in LTCI 2007″).

Gail Holubinka calls the crisis in LTC funding “the greatest societal challenge of at least the first half of the 21st century,” while Stephen Moses says, “it’s probably too late now for private insurance to prevent a major catastrophe when baby boomers need LTC.”

Moses’ comments are part of an additional companion piece to the Power List, available only at our Web site ( Moses goes on to say that the poor will suffer with worse care than government provides today while boomers will be forced to use their home equity as the only way to obtain decent care. At that point, he says the next generation will start to buy LTCI when they see their inheritances consumed by their boomer parents’ LTC costs.

This is not a pretty picture, but it is a very real possibility considering the current level of public malaise about LTC. It just doesn’t seem like this particular problem really concerns Joe Q. Public until it comes up and bites him on the posterior. Wake up, Joe. It can and likely will happen to you.

Fortunately, we have professionals like the ones on the Power List who are passionate and articulate about LTCI. They are working hard to educate not only consumers, but perhaps more importantly, to train agents in effective methods to sell the need for a product traditionally seen as being too complex for the average person to grasp.

Increasing public awareness about the looming LTC crisis is no doubt a crucial first step in getting more at-risk people covered. But to actually get them covered, we’re going to need a lot more competent LTCI specialists to convince Joe Q. Public why he has to have it.

If you aren’t going to be one of them, might want to seriously consider partnering with someone who is.

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