I’m a voracious consumer of long-term care (LTC) and long-term care insurance (LTCI) studies.
For me, the more studies, the better. I can use them to create news articles, features, blogs, infographics and tweets. Once the studies are really old, I can mine them for interesting predictions from the distant past that turned out to be correct, or arrogant, annoying predictions that turned out to be wrong. Totally wrong.
For most people, it’s probably a lot more fun, relaxing and lucrative to create an LTC or LTC funding study than to provide care. A study doesn’t ask the same question over and over or have trouble getting out of a chair.
But, on the other hand: A study can’t provide any long-term care, or money that people can use to pay for long-term care.
Along the same lines: Care coordination is great, and someone needs to set up a website to steer people to the available resources. But, hey: Someone does set up websites and other services that steer people to valuable resources for people who need care and their families. Someone is called AARP. Families that don’t like AARP can call the services funded by the care providers, or try a little Web service called Google.
I see an endless stream of LTC and LTC financing studies out there, and many proposals for expanding federal, state and local elder care information services.
But, the truth is, most of the studies are somewhat hard for me to write about, because the real conclusion could be summarized as follows: “Barring a miracle, a lot of people are going to need care, but we have no idea what to do, because: money. Maybe the insurance companies could do something, but, boy, we hate them. We’re not going to rescue them from the price increase pit they got themselves into.”
If the government took all of the money now going to pay for those dull LTC studies and used it to endow an LTC benefits pool for the babies born this year, maybe, once interest rates recover, the pool would grow enough to pay for actual care for thousands of actual people in 90 years.
We would no longer get comfort from the idea that at least we’re planning for future LTC needs, but maybe that would be better than making the mistake of thinking that empty talk is the same as planning.
See also: LTCI Watch: In the closet