Would Roosevelt Recognize Today’s Social Security?

For a good explanation of how Social Security’s original motives have been subverted, read the April 18, 2012 Washington Post editorial by Robert J. Samuelson. This subversion has caused Social Security to “morph” into an entitlement program, and worse, it has created entitlement expectations that are unsustainable.

Here’s a quote, “What we have is a vast welfare program grafted onto the rhetoric and psychology of a contributory pension. The result is entitlement. Unsurprisingly, AARP’s advertising slogan is “You’ve earned a say” on Social Security. The trouble is that contributions weren’t saved. They went to past beneficiaries. The $2.6 trillion in the Social Security trust fund at year-end 2010 sounds like a lot but equals slightly more than three years of benefits.”

Video of www.3in4needmore.com

Honey Leveen at press conference for www.3i4needmore.com

Majority are concerned about needing care

A 2011 Prudential survey  (Long-Term Care Insurance: A Piece of the Retirement and Estate Planning Puzzle. ©2011, The Prudential Insurance Company of America. 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ) indicates that 71% of us are concerned about possibly needing long-term care.

63% of us are not confident we can pay for long-term care, yet only 17% of us own long-term care insurance (LTCi).

The survey states that most people do not understand how long-term care is paid for. People also overestimate LTCi’s cost and underestimate the probability they might need care.

If you are a consumer over the age of 40, and still don’t own LTCi, the report and my own personal experience indicate that you will be well served by taking the time to learn about long-term care and purchase LTCi now, while you can qualify and find affordable premiums!

Caregiving Boomers Find They Need Care Themselves

Here’s a refreshingly fair and accurate article by Diane Stafford in the April 16, 2011 Kansas City Star, titled Care-giving boomers find they need care themselves. It is about the public’s wide-scale denial of the possibility of needing long-term care. She beautifully describes the disconnect and denial I encounter from well-educated, middle-class and affluent people on an everyday basis.

I hope readers will take Ms. Stafford’s advice to heart. According to www.longtermcare.gov, the US Department of Health and Human Services site, at age 65, there is approximately a 70% chance any of us will need long-term care. I urge you to plan accordingly – NOW. Planning will ensure financial and emotional well-being for both you and your family.

Coping With Caregiving

On April 30, 2011, I was honored to be interviewed by Jacqueline Marcell, author of Coping with Caregiving , speaker and host of the radio show by the same name. Click here to be linked to my interview.

The recent Urban Institute study I blogged about states that only about 10% of us over 55 years of age own LTCi.

Ms. Marcell and I talk about how it is proven that the public has mis-information about LTCi costs and likelihood, and what can be done about this.

I’m biased, but I think our conversation is engaging and useful. I want to encourage you to listen to my interview and share it with those you care about, who still have not planned responsibly for the possibility of needing long-term care.

High Divorce Rate Will Aggravate Dire Need for LTC

Some elders (especially men) may think that if government funds are not available to cover their LTC, their spouses can become their caregivers.  But another trend will make that gamble even riskier!  Recent research http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/us/more-americans-rejecting-marriage-in-50s-and-beyond.html?scp=1&sq=%22Reject%20Marriage%22&st=cse (New York Times, March 2, 2012) documents the rapidly growing separation/divorce rate among Americans over 50.  So if husbands are planning to depend on their wives for care, the odds are growing that their wives will have left them to fend for themselves.

The undeniable fact is that depending on the government or family members to provide LTC is a very bad bet!  So what’s the answer?  The only sure way to ensure dignity & choice and to avoid emotional/physical stress and financial ruin is to purchase LTCi TODAY.

Ducking the Medicare Crisis, a Bitter Pill

In his April 13, 2012 New York Times op-ed piece, Steve Rattner explains how contentious political stalemates, band-aid solutions, and convoluted arithmetic may temporarily appease political constituents but simply cannot avert the rapidly approaching Medicare crisis.

Here’s a quote from the piece, “While the Obama legislation employs cutting-edge ideas for managing Medicare’s outlays, the program can’t be saved just by squeezing reimbursement rates to hospitals, laboratories and the like. In assessing the new law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services warned of exactly these risks.”

It should be obvious to readers that to ensure access to quality long-term care now and in the future, it will be necessary to either pay for it yourself, or own long-term care insurance.