Will Your Senior Clients Be Harmed When Obamacare Is Repealed?

Will Your Senior Clients Be Harmed When Obamacare Is Repealed?

The short answer is “yes”, unless every one of them is high net worth. For those who are very wealthy, there will be no effect as they will pay out of pocket. However for any client who lives long enough to spend down everything and to get low on funds the effect will be palpable. Though neither party is talking about what happens to seniors of modest means with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act here’s the hidden truth.

Low income seniors who could not afford the high cost of long term care had no choice when they ran out of money except a nursing home. Until Congress passed legislation called Community First Choice (CFC), that is. This is a bipartisan supported program that is optional for states. It gives seniors and disabled people a choice to remain at home and supports family caregivers. If a state adopts CFC, it receives extra federal funding (6%) to pay for personal attendant services. This funding is critical. States who want CFC must make the initial investment in home and community-based services before they see savings over the long run.

According to the National Council on Aging, eight states have adopted it so far and at least four more are applying for it or are considering applying. With our growing senior population it is right to give elders a choice of not having to go to a nursing home, a fate many dread and fear.

Even though care at home is normally cheaper and better than nursing home care, there is still a bias in our Federal law that compels states to pay for nursing home care, but not home care. It makes no sense. The CFC is an effort to eliminate the bias in the law favoring nursing home care and promote doing what is better for our elders: allowing them a way to pay for home care using family to provide it with financial support.

Repealing the ACA will de-fund this successful CFC program.

The Republican Platform states: “Our aging population must have access to safe and affordable care. Because most seniors desire to age at home, we will make homecare a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse.”

Really? If this is a priority, how has a helpful program for seniors been ignored in the dialog about the necessity repeal Obamacare? And what about the millions of people ages 55-64 who need health insurance and can’t afford it? Expanded Medicaid and subsidies help them now. Those programs are on the chopping block in the oncoming rush to “cut government spending”.

The elder and disabled adults who need Community First Choice funding and all community based efforts to keep them out of nursing homes are not marching in the streets. They need total care or help to maintain themselves at home. They are not in the news. They are a population without a voice except by aging organizations who fought for CFC in the first place. Any client who spends a fortune on long term care over years and depletes her assets could end up needing Medicaid. Those are the most at risk folks. No matter how skilled you are no one can make money last forever for those who are less than high net worth.

Do not be fooled into thinking that those who relish the idea of quickly trashing Obamacare really are concerned about what happens to low income seniors. These seniors comprise a significant part of our population. The elders with modest means and modest savings who need long term care can’t pay for it. They are the ones being forced to go to a place they don’t want to be.

The Money Follows the Person Program, which assists states in making home and community-based services more widely available expired in October 2016. If Congress is throwing out all things related to the Affordable Care Act, what are the chances of renewing this program?

If you have aging clients who might live long enough to run out of funds, this will directly affect what happens with them. If you are planning for them for lifelong financial safety, consider that much of what formerly was in place to keep them out of nursing homes will likely be gone should they live to be 100 and are no longer wealthy. Be sure to keep in mind that nursing homes are about three times the cost of staying at home with care in place there.

Dr. Mikol Davis. Ed.D
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Dr. Mikol Davis, Ed.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in geriatrics and the emotional challenges of aging. He has been a mental health provider for 40 years, ... Click for full bio

Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds

Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds

Written by: Yazann Romahi, Chief Investment Officer of Quantitative Beta Strategies, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

A quiet revolution is taking place in the alternatives world. The idea of alpha/beta separation has finally made its way from traditional to alternative investing. This development brings with it a more transparent, liquid and cost-effective approach to accessing the “alternative beta” component of hedge fund return and a new means for benchmarking hedge fund managers.

The good news for investors is that the separation of hedge fund return into its components—rules-based alternative beta and active manager alpha—has the potential to shift investing as we know it. These advancements could democratize hedge funds and, at long last, make what are essentially hedge fund strategies available to all investors—even those who aren’t willing to hand over the hefty fees often associated with hedge fund investing.

A benchmark for alternatives


With respect to traditional equity investing, we have long accepted the idea that there is a market return, or beta—but this hasn’t always been the case. Investors used to assume that to make money in the stock markets, one needed to buy the right stocks and avoid the wrong ones. The idea of a market return independent of skilled stock selection seemed ridiculous to most market participants. Yet today, we would never invest in an active manager’s strategy without benchmarking it against its respective beta.

Interestingly, hedge fund managers have been held to a different standard. Investors have been much more willing to accept the notion that hedge fund strategy returns are pure alpha, and that their investment returns are based entirely on the skill of the fund manager. That notion explains why investors have been willing to accept a “two and twenty” fee structure just to access what has been perceived as one of the most sophisticated and powerful investment vehicles available.

In thinking about the concept of beta, consider its precise definition—the return achievable by taking on a systematic exposure to an economically compensated risk. In traditional long only equity investing, the traditional market beta has been further refined as a number of other risks have been identified that are commonly referred to as “strategic beta.” These include factors such as value, momentum, quality and size. But no one ever said that these risk factors must be long-only.

Over the past decade, as more hedge fund data became available, academics began to disaggregate hedge fund return into two components: compensation for a systematic exposure to a long/short type of risk (alternative beta), and an unexplained “manager alpha.” What they found is that a significant portion of hedge fund return can be attributed to alternative beta. That fact has turned the tables on how we look at hedge fund return. With the introduction of the alternative beta concept, hedge fund managers will have to state their results, not just in terms of total return, but also as excess return over an alternative beta benchmark.

Merger arbitrage—an alternative beta example


The merger arbitrage hedge fund style can be used to illustrate the alternative beta concept. In the case of merger arbitrage, the beta strategy would be the systematic process of going long every target company, while shorting its acquirer. There is an inherent return to this strategy because the target stock price typically does not immediately rise to the offer price upon the deal’s announcement. This creates an opportunity to purchase the stock at a discount prior to the deal’s completion. The premium that remains is compensation to the investor for bearing the risk that the deal may fail.

Active merger arbitrage managers can add value by choosing to invest in some deals while avoiding others. Therefore, their benchmark should be the “enter every deal” strategy, not cash. In fact, the beta strategy explains the majority of the return to the average merger arbitrage hedge fund. And it doesn’t stop there. Other hedge fund styles that can be explained using alternative beta include equity long/short, global macro, and event driven. Note that the beta strategy invests in the same securities, using the same long/short techniques as the hedge fund strategy. The difference is that the beta strategy is a rules-based version that can become the benchmark for the hedge fund strategy. After all, if a hedge fund strategy cannot beat its respective rules-based benchmark (net of fees), an investor may be wiser to stick to the beta strategy.

Implications for investors


What does all this mean for the end investor? Hedge funds have traditionally been the domain of sophisticated investors willing to pay high fees and sacrifice liquidity. Alpha/beta separation in the hedge fund world means that investors can finally choose whether to buy the active version of the hedge fund strategy or opt for the passive (beta) version. Hedge fund strategies can be effective portfolio diversifiers. Now, through alternative beta, virtually all investors can access what are essentially hedge fund strategies in a low cost, liquid, and fully transparent form. For investors who haven’t had prior access to hedge funds, this could be welcome news. Not only can investors look at an active hedge fund manager’s strategy and determine how it has done compared to the systematic beta equivalent, they can also invest in ETFs that encapsulate these systematic strategies.

When looking at one’s traditional balanced portfolio today, there are plenty of questions around whether the fixed income portion will achieve the same level of diversification it has provided in the past. After all, with yields still low, there is little income return. Additionally, the capital gains that came from interest rate declines are likely to reverse. With fixed income unlikely to adequately fulfill its traditional role in portfolios, there is a need to find an alternative source of diversification. This is where alternative strategies may help. For investors seeking to access diversifying strategies in liquid and low-cost vehicles, alternative beta strategies in ETF form are one option.

Looking for an alternative to enhance diversification in your portfolio?


For investors looking to further diversify their overall portfolio, JPMorgan Diversified Alternatives ETF (JPHF) seeks to increase diversification and reduce overall portfolio volatility through direct, diversified exposure to hedge fund strategies using a bottom-up, rules-based approach.

Learn more about JPHF and J.P. Morgan’s suite of ETFs here

DISCLOSURE

Call 1-844-4JPM-ETF or visit www.jpmorganetfs.com to obtain a prospectus. Carefully consider the investment objectives and risks as well as charges and expenses of the ETF before investing. The summary and full prospectuses contain this and other information about the ETF. Read them carefully before investing.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
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See how ETFs differ from other investment vehicles, learn how to evaluate them, and discover how ETFs can be used effectively to achieve a diversity of investment strategies. ... Click for full bio