LTCI carriers mostly stayed on the sidelines as a panel mapped out an attack on a major enemy. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

The drafters of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease don’t say much about private long-term care insurance (LTCI) in the final version of the plan.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today posted the 69-page final version of the National Plan on the Web.

The plan describes 5 efforts the United States is supposed to make to deal with Alzheimer’s disease and related causes of dementia. One component describes how the country will try to develop effective methods for preventing and treating dementia by 2025.

Representatives from the LTCI carriers and LTCI broker community appeared to be playing little, if any, role in National Plan development proceedings, even though Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are major drivers of LTCI claims.

Mentions of private LTCI appear in the same two places in the final version where they appeared in an earlier draft Alzheimer’s plan.

NAPA

Congress included the provisions creating the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services — an arm of HHS – in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act of 2011 (NAPA).

The council was supposed to help HHS come up with a plan for preventing and curing Alzheimer’s, and for improving support for people with dementia and their relatives.

The 5 core goals the council lists in the National Plan call for HHS and others to work to:

  • Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025.
  • Optimize Care Quality and Efficiency.
  • Expand Supports for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Their Families.
  • Enhance Public Awareness and Engagement.
  • Track Progress and Drive Improvement.

THE PLAN

Plan drafters refer to private LTCI in a section on supporting families affected by dementia and in a section on helping families prepare for the possibility that they might be affected by dementia.

“The vast majority of people do not think about or plan for the long-term services and supports they will need until they experience a disability or [Alzheimer's disease],” according to the plan section on helping the families of patients with dementia. “Many Americans incorrectly believe that Medicare will cover most of the costs of these supportive services. Unfortunately, by the time care is needed, it is difficult to get coverage in the private long-term care insurance market, and options are limited. Educating people about their potential need for long-term services and supports and the significant advantages of planning ahead for these services encourages timely preparation.”

The section on planning calls for HHS and others to look at awareness of long-term care (LTC) needs and barriers to LTC planning.

HHS will conduct a national survey to examine attitudes about LTC and barriers to LTC planning, according to the plan.

“Preparing to access long-term services and supports requires planning ahead,” drafters say elsewhere in the plan. ”For individuals without a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, this may include planning for a potential need for long-term services and supports, as part of retirement planning, through personal savings, long-term care insurance or legal documentation.”