One of the program’s most useful contributions was the exploration of long-term care insurance as a solution. Scott Simon interviewed Robyn Stone, a long-term care expert who worked in the Clinton White House and is now executive director of the Leading Age: Center for Applied Research. The market for long-term care insurance has not grown substantially, Stone said. “It’s not a solution for all of us in the United States.”
Why not? It’s too expensive for most families. And people with certain health conditions, like dementia, wouldn’t qualify anyway.
Ned and Lynn are paying about $7,000 for long-term care policies for both of them. Stone pointed out that while the top one percent is rich enough to self-insure, people with low and moderate incomes couldn’t afford the premiums. Those in the upper middle class should think carefully how they want to use their assets, Stone advised.
In case you think covering long-term care is depressing, the program ended on an upbeat note, and it showed journalists how they might give a more positive spin to this dilemma. It reported on an innovative government program in Rhode Island that pays family members to take care of their loved ones, meanwhile saving money for the state. Reporters wanting to follow Need to Know’s lead might investigate special government programs in their states.
The piece is a timely contribution that comes at a moment when the prevailing narrative about the elderly is a narrow one, which the press can help expand.
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