CBS Reports: Is Long-Term Care Insurance Right For Your Family?

“Less than 8 percent of Americans have long-term care insurance policies. What most people don’t know is that their private insurance and even government programs, like Medicare, don’t pick up the tab for long-term care, whether it’s for a chronic condition like dementia, or for someone who can no longer care for themselves.” These two sentences are from a recent article by award-winning journalist, TV anchor and radio host Esme Murphy. Reporting from WCCO-TV (CBS – Minnesota), Murphy’s article, Is Long-Term Care Insurance Right For Your Family?, paints a picture of what many families face when long term care is needed.

Why aren’t the newspapers, magazines, and online journalists reporting on this important topic?

We all know the media truism “If it bleeds, it leads.” Put another way, bad news trumps good news the vast majority of the time. So, it’s no surprise that if there’s a negative angle about any topic (whether it be weather, celebrities, or long term care insurance), it’s that point of view that’s likely to dominate the media.

Another media truism according to the experts is this: visual stories – those that can be accompanied by an interesting photo that will grab readers’ interest – prevail. This preference for color visuals is a problem for the topic of insurance in general; it’s hard to show a photograph of an intangible product. The visual depictions that do come to mind are photos of people who need assistance with activities of daily living or are cognitively impaired. Not the kinds of photos that grab readers or viewers attention and appreciation.

The last truism is that today, attention spans are shorter. Complex topics, full of variables and nuance, are rarely covered in mainstream media. Long term care planning and the role of long term care insurance is exactly one of those topics. Consider this fact in conjunction with the truisms above, and it’s a miracle when a reporter gives this topic a try.

So, we were heartened to read so much good information in the short piece by Murphy. In the article we meet Kay Anderson, recounting how she is struggling to pay the long term care bills of her now-deceased mother. Bills she was surprised to find were not covered by Medicare. “It hits you like a brick that, first of all, you have come up with $6,000 dollars up front,” she said. Anderson, age 56 and single, says “I am exploring the options of long-term care insurance, because I don’t see any other way for myself to be taken care of,” she said.

The best advice offered in the article? Delaying planning for care can be a costly mistake. That advice may not ‘bleed,’ it’s not a compelling visual, and planning does require attention. However, as millions of families whose loved ones did not plan for long term care can attest, long term care planning today might be the smartest move you could make.

The article can be found at this link: