By Ross Schriftman, RHU, LUTCF, ACBC, MSAA
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified under oath before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on February 15th and lied when she defended the need for a government run long term care program called the Class Act and attacked private long term care insurance by saying this:
“One of the challenges right now is that in the private sector right now there isn’t such a product. There are residential services available as an addendum to a long term care policy. But the ability to buy really just home health services that would allow people to stay and age in place are really not available in the private sector market right now.”
Notice that she uses the word really twice which indicates to me she is trying to get the Senators to believe what she wants them to believe is real. What is real is that I cared for my own Mom in her own home to the day she died and her long term care policy helped pay for her care.
See video of her presentation here (Find the statement between 7:33 and 7:56 minutes)
This is an appalling, harmful and untruthful statement. It isn’t that Sebelius misunderstands how private long term care insurance works. After all she was Insurance Commissioner of Kansas and President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC). During her years heading NAIC she oversaw model regulations that dealt with long term care insurance. She is purposely promoting the Class Act provision contained in ObamaCare by making stuff up and doing so under oath. Since the beginning, promoters of the Class Act have tried to diminish and attack the value of private long term care insurance in order to say that their government designed and administered solution was needed. Sebelius statement is just another in a series of incorrect statements. In her position as our top official on healthcare she knows better.
Her false statement is harmful to the American people. If someone is considering purchasing this valuable kind of insurance to protect themselves and their family and take her words as truth, they may forgo getting covered thinking home care benefits are not available. The truth is that almost all long term care insurance being sold today contains home care benefits including home modification, care giver training, care management services and in home professional care through licensed home health agencies. The policies have fully incorporated home and community care benefits; not some kind of addendum as her dismissive statement indicates. According to the American Association of Long Term Care 49% of all new long term care insurance claims are for home care services and 21% are for Assisted Living benefits in the community. Only 30% are for Nursing Home care. In my State of Pennsylvania the law REQUIRES that only comprehensive policies be sold and therefore that those policies include home care benefits.
Secretary Sebelius must apologize and provide an immediate and public retraction of her statement. Anything less should be investigated by Congress.