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Be An LTC Media Queen . .  King
by Phyllis Shelton

Radio and television interviews are some of the most effective ways to market  long-term care insurance. My philosophy has always been to make myself famous so people will call me. I made three cold calls my first day on the job as a long-term care insurance agent and I swore they would be the last three cold  calls I would ever make! To make that happen, I did lots of seminars in my community, wrote articles for local publications, and ultimately did a number of radio and television interviews.

For maximum results, it is essential to provide the interviewer with a list of questions to ask you. I didn't do that when I interviewed with CNN-fn and the reporter wanted to discuss her relationship with a doctor at Vanderbilt! Bad time to forget my own advice, right?

I was very fortunate recently to participate in eight major media interviews in the Big Apple. The Business Week interview turned into a video as well and overall was my favorite because of the topic. The reporter is a woman's editor and asked me to help her develop the theme of long-term care as a huge issue for women. What a great opportunity! In addition to providing her with a list of general questions, I also volunteered to develop a list of ten reasons why LTC is such a woman's issue. In fact, you may have seen it referred to as  "the caregiver's glass ceiling". I shared that phrase with her and she said it  was exactly what she was looking for.

We dwell so much on the financial aspects of LTC insurance and emphasize asset preservation constantly. The number one purchasing reason is to preserve independence and choice, and I'm finally starting to see that in insurance company literature and in other articles. So let's broaden the circle once again and look at the many other complex issues surrounding long-term care, and the "women as caregivers" angle is a perfect place to start.

I encourage you to book some interviews in your community with your local media, and to help you, I'm giving you the same information I gave the Business Week reporter. The more of us spreading the word, the more value people will see in the product, and the more policies we all will sell.

Key Questions for a Long-Term Care Insurance Interview

1) What is LTC?

ANSWER: Extended chronic care for either physical or cognitive reason(s) and less than 15% is in a nursing home . . .the real health care crisis in America.

2) How much does it cost?

ANSWER: Current costs are $54,000 national average ($110,000 for high cost area like NYC). This would be for 10 hours of home health care or semi-private  nursing home care with drugs and care-related supplies. Costs are expected to triple in 20 years (I use 5.8% - higher than most of the industry uses but I  base it on projections from the General Accounting Office and HCFA. I also have cost surveys from 1990 when care averaged $60 a day.)

3) Who pays now?

ANSWER: 2/3 is paid by Medicaid and out-of-pocket, and the tradeoff with Medicaid is extremely limited choices for care.

4) What is the role of LTC insurance?

ANSWER: LTC insurance may be the only thing that keeps you out of a nursing  home by giving you money for home care, assisted living and adult day care. Even  when neither spouse works outside the home, the caregiving spouse has to sleep.  An 8, 10 or 12 hour shift of home health care may be the only thing that gives the healthy spouse enough REST to keep the spouse in need of care at home.

5) Why is long-term care such a women's issue?


  • 2/3 of caregivers are  women

  • 19% of intense caregivers  quit a job and another 19% get a second job (1999 John Hancock study)

  • women own 38% of all businesses and one out of 3 small businesses. (between 1994 and 1998, companies  with 20 or less employees generated nearly 9 million jobs - about 80% of new  jobs created). Women employ 27 million people.

Things have never been better for women, but caregiving may be the greatest threat to everything women  have accomplished in the last century for financial independence.


1) Career Opportunities -  Brandeis University's National Center of Women and Aging documented the results of 55 intense caregivers and reported an average of $659,000 in lost wages, lost Social Security and pension contributions due to time off, and reduced opportunities for promotions, training, and desirable job assignments. This study also supports the figure that informal, home-based care represents 80% of all LTC in the U.S., far outstripping the number of people cared for in nursing  homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care.

2) Future Opportunities: Arthur Anderson/Mass Mutual 1997 study said that leadership of more than one/third of the nation's family-run businesses will be changing hands in the next five years. These are not tiny companies. The median company has 50  employees and generates annual revenues of $9 million. About 5% of family businesses have a woman at the helm today, but 1/4 of the respondents think their next CEO will be a woman. This means that many more family-run business  leaders of the future will be women - UNLESS a primary caregiving role disrupts  that plan!

A subset point is that 1/3 of all women-owned businesses are in CA, TX, NY and FL -- all heavy centers for caregiving! In fact, more than one-third of baby boomers live in these states  plus PA and in 2030 nearly 30% of 65 and older population will live in these  five states. (This demographic probably plays a substantial role in the fact that these states are in the top states for LTC insurance sales, as well.)

3) Financial: finding the  time to keep a job and finding money to help pay for a parent's care, as there  are many, many more expenses besides the actual cost of care. One-quarter of families who help older relatives use money allocated for retirement and 12% use college funds.

4) Emotional: the stress of  being divided between multiple family members (an agent I met last week in Atlanta cited his grandmother who is caring for her husband with Alzheimer's,  her 50-year-old daughter disabled from a stroke, and 3 grandchildren. Her mother is still alive in another state.) Women are projected to spend more years caring for aging family members than children, and the number of long-distance caregivers is doubling in15 years. How many marriages can withstand 8, 10, 12  years or more of caregiving?

5) Relationship between caregiver and care recipient -- the role reversal is so traumatic and  functioning as primary caregiver sometimes destroys the mother/daughter (father/daughter, etc.) relationship. When there are other caregivers in the  picture, you can still enjoy the quality of the relationship -- with the person who needs care AND with other family members who stand to suffer from neglect if  your focus is on the care recipient. (My mother and I had a horrible  relationship which we were able to resolve because there were caregivers in the picture and I didn't have to be the primary caregiver. This was a tremendous blessing to me.)

6) Underwriting - two conditions can really hurt women's chances for qualifying for LTC insurance  (urinary incontinence and osteoporosis) Point is to apply as young as possible.

7) Forcing children into adult roles at early ages due to the need for help with caregiving.

8) Extended caregiving results in serious health problems for the caregiver, so a women needs to think  about the effect on her own health when she is contemplating becoming a primary  caregiver. A recent study in the April, 2000 issue of The Gerontologist pointed out that women caregivers are definitely more prone to clinical depression and to report a lower quality of life than male caregivers. Men tend to bow out of the caregiving when it becomes necessary to do personal care, whereas women just stick it out, at great physical and emotional sacrifice.  Women who are planners will be sure spouses, parents, in-laws, etc. have LTC insurance to ensure they (the women) have enough help if they are cast into the  role of caregiver.

9) Women, more so than men,  don't want to be a burden on their own children and they need long term care insurance if they are not going to wind up that way.

10) DREAMS -- of "my turn" - whatever that may be -- going back to school, going for a big promotion, starting our own business - all the things we dream about while raising small  children, etc. "My turn" remains a dream when a primary caregiving situation  develops with a parent or spouse. Even when a parent has money to pay for care  (i.e. "self-insures"), SOMEONE has to manage the care and make sure everything runs smoothly 24 hrs. a day. Care coordination benefits in an LTC policy can mean the difference between having a life and not having a life for the  responsible adult child.

I can tell you that the  representatives from the well-known consumer publications that I met with appear  to have very little current knowledge about LTC insurance. They are operating  with old information and that hurts everyone. My 2000 book is on the market now,  and you will want to get a copy to update yourself on the newest policy features and alternate funding ideas for long-term care with linked benefit products,  reverse mortgages, and life settlements. (The sources for the information in  this article are documented there as well.) Call 800-844-4893 for our 2000 materials and our 2000 training schedule.

I especially urge you to call for a brochure on our LTC All-Stars meeting on July 25-27 in Nashville - 20 speakers who represent some of the most successful LTC salespeople today will  cover NINE different LTC marketing areas. Three different music events . . . one  every night, of course! Don't wait - this is the top SALES meeting of the year, not an industry meeting, not a regulatory meeting, not a legislation meeting, but a SALES meeting! So CALL TODAY for your registration form or hit our web site at www.ltcshelton.com.

Spread the word and keep on sellin'.

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