Last week, I was looking at a press release from a company that helps clients qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits by putting their assets in a trust.
The firm was describing private long-term care insurance (LTCI) as a rip-off.
Whoever wrote the original version of the release (this was over the holidays; let’s be charitable and assume it was a holiday fill-in) couldn’t tell Medicare from Medicaid. The author of the release said older Americans prefer to arrange their assets so that they can rely on Medicare to pay their nursing home bills when they get older.
Of course, all of this is complicated. Medicare is actually paying for plenty of home care and some nursing home care these days, and who knows what it will do 20 or 30 years from now.
And secretly, I’m a wild optimist. I personally think the solution will be that scientists will soon come up with effective cures for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. I think we’ll either have dramatic, tush-saving improvements in health care or starve to death in caves. I can’t imagine a middle ground where we’ll live in a reasonable level of general comfort and still have a lot of Alzheimer’s.
But that’s just me daydreaming. Hard-headed planners have to assume that curing Alzheimer’s will take some time.
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The people looking at the products of the private LTCI issuers and pointing to cracks in the hull of the LTCI rowboat clearly have a point. Very low interest rates have let smelly water seep through gaps that might have been a minor annoyance if rates were better, but, sure, the cracks are there.
But, then, think of the alternatives as camping gear.