I am more optimistic about the future of LTCI – and 2011 sales – than I have been in a while.

Some people will always be in denial about their probable need for care, as survey after survey has proven. This hasn’t changed, and won’t change that much.

What has changed is that LTCI is getting far more publicity than I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been working with it. What’s even more exciting is the change in the type of publicity. The tenor of today’s LTCI publicity is now positive – and this has happened almost abruptly.

Does anyone remember several years ago, when the few articles about LTCI were largely critical? Our small army of LTCI “crusaders” was often moved to write letters refuting the media’s abundant misinformation. Today, rather than portraying LTCI as a rip-off – out to get you, limited, restrictive, and too expensive – recent articles speak more about how much we need it, despite all its flaws. In some cases, the media is actually wooing us.

On what am I basing my statements? Some very unusual events have happened to me within a very short time.

Yesterday, I got a call from a local Fox TV news reporter who was referred to me by two or three colleagues. While I was disappointed that she didn’t locate me soon enough to book me as her on-air “expert,” I was able to provide her with a connection to a friend who spoke eloquently and from the heart about her husband’s long, expensive decline and how they didn’t obtain LTCI soon enough for him. The resulting piece on long term care is beautiful, factual, and positive.

Then, the following day, CNBC aired another wonderful piece encouraging people to buy LTCI; the subject happens to be my friend and client, Jane Seger.

And finally, just a couple of weeks ago, Good Morning America aired another very positive piece on LTCI.

Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), said that the consumer news media is interviewing him for 60 to 90 minutes each day on the topic of long term care insurance. If you’re not already a member, please visit the AALTCI website and join. This organization clearly works hard for us, and has had a lot to do with the reversal of the media’s negative perspective on LTCI.

It looks like LTCI may finally be turning the corner in the public’s mind. If so, these are historic and exciting times for LTCI. Those of us who have been around for a while have waited for this moment for a long time – so here’s to a 2011 filled with lots of LTCI sales!

Honey Leveen has been an LTCI specialist for 19 years and blogs regularly on industry trends at www.honeyleveen.com. She can be reached at honey@honeyleveen.com.