Life and health insurers helped win the war against tuberculosis in the United States. They helped promote the need for childhood vacinnations and to keep people from smoking.

They and legions of wellness firms and benefits consulting firms with wellness divisions are now helping to lead the fight against obesity and for efforts to control high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels.

For the past few months, a panel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been meeting to develp a National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, and the insurance industry mostly seemed to stay away.

One consumer wrote to say that having private long-term care insurance (LTCI) had helped her family deal with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on their parents, and another consumer wrote to say his LTCI coverage had not been nearly as helpful as he had expected.

It looks as if one other comment might have come from an LTCI broker, but it’s not all that clear.

I might have missed some industry letters, but, as far as I can tell, any letters that the industry did submit were outnumbered by letters from people who, to be blunt, seem to be crackpots.

Maybe the apathy is a sign that LTCI carriers, and maybe the acute health care insurance carriers, are suffering badly from the effects of the weak economy, the problems plaguing the commercial LTCI  market, and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) lobbying fatigue.

But it sounds as if one part of the plan calls for HHS to look into why consumers do such a poor job of planning for long-term care needs. Maybe the LTCI community can brush off the kryptonite, wrub its collective eyes, wake up and make its voice heard when efforts to develop that assessment process start.