Inside Track ERIC P. HARDING
Musings on Time
I JUST HAD A BIRTHDAY. I mention this not to solicit belated well-wishes (thank you all the same), but
rather to explain my current contemplative mood. I find myself meditating on time—how it passes, how we
perceive it (or don’t), and the uniquely relative nature of that slippery commodity.
That last point comes up frequently. My 4¾-year-old son al-
ready has a well-defined lens through which he examines time.
Ten minutes to clean his room, or else he loses his Legos for a
day? “That’s too quick!” Ten minutes until we leave for the zoo?
“But that’s so looong!”
I had something of an epiphany when he asked when his
birthday was, and why it was “still so far away.” When we’re 4
years old, 1 year is 25 percent of life as we have perceived it—so
the time until our next birthday seems interminable. Add a zero
to that achieved age and the percentage of life lived is much
smaller … which helps explain why time seems to speed up as
we grow older.
Time is certainly a central theme in our cover story. In “Past,
Present, Future” (Page 18), Paul Forte investigates the private
long-term care insurance marketplace—from its inception in
the 1960s, to its heyday in the mid-‘90s, to the tightening of the
market today … and what of tomorrow? Forte argues that private LTCI remains a vital part of many coverage options and
suggests methods for making them sustainable for issuers and
And as time moves inexorably forward, and as more Baby
Boomers enter retirement, thoughtful approaches to financing
our social insurance programs become ever more critical. In his
feature, “Look to the North for a Better Approach to Financ-
ing Social Security” (Page 36), Ken Steiner lays out the problem
ahead—if we don’t address the looming funding shortfall, Social
Security faces insolvency. But, Steiner, notes, we still have time
to fix the problem, and our neighbors to the north may have
some ideas about how to do so.
Our aging population requires a clear-eyed examination of
how we’re going to care for those in need. In “Medicaid and the
ACA” (Page 40), Robert Damler and Marlene Howard consider
a Medicaid provision in the Affordable Care Act that could mean
big changes for home and community-based care services, and
who’s eligible to receive them. The feature illustrates how one
state chose to move forward under the new provision, offering
useful findings that other states can consider as they address
their unique needs.
And finally, in his second feature on business strategy, “The
Connection Between Military & Business Strategies” (Page 28),
Carlos Fuentes and Tom Maki examines how the precepts of
military strategy have been applied—and misapplied—to business
contexts. In their zeal to satisfy a nascent demand, business consultants reached for tried-and-true military precepts from history
and adapted them to the contemporary workplace, with mixed
results. But that doesn’t mean military strategy has no analogue in
the business space, Fuentes argues—just that the strategic thinker
needs to consider specific challenges when doing so.
This issue we say farewell to one of our puzzlers. Lenny
Shteyman has delighted us with his puzzles for more than two
years. I thank him for services—and for his help in finding his
replacements, who begin next issue.
And thank you for reading Contingencies. I hope you find it
time well spent.
Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, the Up to Code article in the March/April issue of
Contingencies erroneously suggested that a directory listing of an actuarial association is sufficient
to indicate compliance with continuing education requirements for signing statements of actuarial
opinion, and that the ABCD can recommend public reprimand to the Joint Disciplinary Council.
Neither is the case. A corrected version online clarifies these points. We regret the error.