Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

All topics about cryopreservation costs, membership dues, etc.
MaximusPeto
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Re: Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

Post by MaximusPeto » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:23 pm

cr1776 wrote:
Hi Max,

Thanks for that nice long posting.
Sure! I'm glad it was appreciated! :) Thanks for the feedback, and your thoughts and comments, Chris. Assuming you read it all, I imagine it was quite a doozy ;)

I think that the service Alcor provides is *enormously* valuable (assuming it results in reanimation at some later time), which is why I spent as much time thinking and writing about this topic as I did.

To Chris:

Re: (1) I'm glad we're in agreement. I also agree with your estimation of the increase in risk (i.e. that it's fairly low) to shift from 90 days to 6 month notice, when you said:
cr1776 wrote:
I do not believe an extra 90 days would greatly increase the risk to Alcor, particularly if the planning to increase minimums occurred over the longer term. (e.g. Alcor doesn't wake up one morning and say "we need to raise minimums" but has to have been considering it for some time. Just raise them three months sooner.)
Re: (2) Thanks for clarifying this a bit. I'm familiar with some important aspects of contracts, having had a few law courses which required a considerable amount of analysis of contracts. But I've not had much experience with very large, complex contracts, so hadn't explicitly known this was something to consider.

Re: (3) I'd like to reply to your comment:
cr1776 wrote:
Alcor's acknowledgement of past de facto grandfathering does not seem worthwhile from an organizational standpoint and as an attorney, I'd advise them that they should not do so. I do not think it adds anything to their decision going forward.
While I agree that there needs nothing explicitly stated in the cryo-agreement about ceasing grandfathering, I'm highly confident that a public statement of admission and regret would go a *long* way in the organizations long term reputation. Consider the following observation (from my experience):

The value of admitting guilt with regard to earning forgiveness not only applies to Alcor in this situation, but more generally to *any* similar interaction with any human. That is: if a person openly expresses sincere regret, and communicates a strong desire to act better in the future (including describing exactly *how* one intends to act "better"), forgiveness and understanding by others is much more likely than in any other possible scenario I can think of.

I think that, after reading such an admission from Alcor, reasonable people will conclude that Alcor is fully aware of mistakes that were made, and are proactively and responsibly addressing them, which is exactly how I *want* others (including myself) to judge Alcor.

I understand that doing so may be complicated by how some (immature, IMO) people, after reading such an admission, would point and scream: "See! They *did* screw up! They're bad, bad, bad!" This is my perception of much of the posturing in the U.S. (and other) political systems. But I suspect (and could be wrong) that the small proportion of people who are currently, and will soon be, Members w/ Alcor are more reasonable than the "average" person (if there is such a thing), and appealing to *those*, more reasonable people (i.e. those more likely to join Alcor early, and increase the awareness about, and popularity of, cryopreservation) is highly important (in my estimation).

In other words: I suspect that 10 or 20 years from the point in time Alcor makes this public admission (if it does), most people will not even be aware of it, and if they are, they'll likely reflect on it and say: "boy, that was a responsible thing for them to say and do".

So the real question to answer regarding this is: "will a public admission *now* make people *less likely* to consider becoming Alcor members"? My estimation is that it will *not*, and will, on the contrary, tend to cause (these more rational) people to be *more* likely to consider becoming a Member.

Further regarding (3): I'm glad we're in agreement that at least a little rewording of the agreement for clarity would be beneficial.

Re: (4) I'm highly pleased that you think I "hit the nail on the head". I have very limited experience in the cryonics field, and limited knowledge of its history. My conjecture was based largely on abstract reasoning and intuition. Assuming you've been involved in, and knowledgeable of, cryonics much longer and more than I have, it's very good to hear that I had the right idea here.

Further re: (4) I may end up preferring the "one-stop shop" at Alcor regarding CMS, if the cost-savings and CMS discussions yield considerable decreases in the annual fees. I mean, it's true that this service could in theory be absolutely life-saving and of ultimate importance to sustaining one's life. But my current cryopreservation fees are my 4th or 5th highest cost item in my budget (after rent, food, property taxes, and whole life insurance for my cyropreservation, the *fees* are #5 - When #'s 4 and 5 are combined, they exceed everything else except my rent, which is so high at this time only because I live in Silicon Valley).

Here's a short description of these top five items in my budget:

#1 Rent ~$11,400/yr
#2 Food ~$ 1,825/yr
#3 Prop taxes (Toledo, Ohio): $1,050/yr
#4 Whole life ins. for Alcor whole-body ~$1,080/yr
#5 Alcor fees ~$800

When I lived in Toledo (where I own a house), my comparable "rent" was ~$400/yr (which included only insurance on the house, as taxes are a separate line-item above, although it would be reasonable to lump those together to compare to "rent", which would still only be ~$1,450/yr vs. $1,880 for all Alcor-related expenses, although I'm very near converting to term-insurance and becoming a neuro).

Chris, I'm also encouraged by your comment:
cr1776 wrote:
Paul, Kitty, you, RM and others have added a lot of detailed analysis to the discussions here, I believe the Board will look at them all.
And from what Brian Wowk said (thanks Brian for the note here on the forum! More on that below):
bwowk wrote:
Your post did come to the board's attention.
That's a relief! :)

I was concerned, when writing my "essay", that the more I wrote, the less likely someone would read it all ;) I was also concerned it was so close to the decision deadline that it wouldn't be known of until after-the-fact.

So I'm glad to hear my post was known of to the board, and to hear thanks from Chris and Brian.

Brian, you said:
bwowk wrote:
Without stipulating to any inadequacy of the Cryopreservation Agreement wording in the strictly legal sense, it is agreed that the wording could be made clearer. Pursuant to the comments here, I believe it will be changed in the near future.


That, too, is good to hear. I think that'll clarify this point to all current and future members.
bwowk wrote:
With respect to the broader question of the Underfunding Proposal (Option #10) and modifications thereof, there has been some very vigorous board discussion about it,"


This is encouraging, too, that it's being "vigorously" discussed. Thanks for sharing, Brian. :)

--Max

TDK
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Re: Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

Post by TDK » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:33 pm

MaximusPeto wrote:
Here's a short description of these top five items in my budget:

#1 Rent ~$11,400/yr
#2 Food ~$ 1,825/yr
#3 Prop taxes (Toledo, Ohio): $1,050/yr
#4 Whole life ins. for Alcor whole-body ~$1,080/yr
#5 Alcor fees ~$800
Glad to see someone else pointing out this problem with overall cost.
I have great concern that when I am older, and on a fixed income, and more
in need of Alcor's services, that I will not be able to afford it.

Michael R Seidl
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Re: Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

Post by Michael R Seidl » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:36 pm

MaximusPeto wrote:

Here's a short description of these top five items in my budget:

#1 Rent ~$11,400/yr
#2 Food ~$ 1,825/yr
#3 Prop taxes (Toledo, Ohio): $1,050/yr
#4 Whole life ins. for Alcor whole-body ~$1,080/yr
#5 Alcor fees ~$800



Glad to see someone else pointing out this problem with overall cost.
I have great concern that when I am older, and on a fixed income, and more
in need of Alcor's services, that I will not be able to afford it.
Yes, it's useful to see costs in connection with certain budget items. It would be a more useful comparison, perhaps, to see how Alcor fees and insurance policy costs compare to what a member pays for healthcare. Healthcare is expensive and a big part of many people's budgets (if it's paid for by your employer, it may be an invisible cost to you, but you're paying it in the sense that your're getting that rather than additional salary). If I add together my health and dental and vision insurance premiums together with what I have to go out of pocket for that's not covered by my health, dental, and vision insurance, it's probably 5 or 6 times what I pay in Alcor fees and suspension policy premiums. Alcor is end of life healthcare, and it's a mistake to think it should be remarkably cheaper than your day to day healthcare.

Long-short, a better examplar than rent or groceries is what you pay for healthcare.

People should also note that the rate of inflation for health care costs is wildly higher than the rate of general inflation, and we ought to expect Alcor's costs to more closely track inflation for healthcare than other commodities.

Ultimately, we ought to be focused not on whether a particular cost is high but whether it ought to be high and if there's anything we can do to bring it down. Some things cost a lot, and rightfully so.

Michael R. Seidl, Alcor member and member of the board of directors; my comments should be understood as made in my individual capacity and do not reflect the opinion of the board and are not the policy of Alcor.

paulwakfer

Re: Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

Post by paulwakfer » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:20 am

I am posting to this thread because the immediate cause of my post is most related to this thread, and because I do not agree that anything should be posted to the private forum (what has Alcor got to hide?) where sits a new thread about Saturday's Board meeting (3/17/2012).

I and Kitty attended Saturday's Board meeting and were highly dissatisfied to hear Ralph Merkle's summary of the elements of the underfunding problem (due to previous grandfathering - but that was not even acknowledged, much less any organizational fault admitted) with which Board members were currently in agreement. The reason for our disappointment was that we could not detect any difference in Ralph's summary from the original proposal #10, which I and several others on these Forums have cogently argued with multiple reasons is unethical, impractical, unfair and likely to result in the loss of many members. We have also given viable alternative solutions to the problem, the advantage of which over any of their initial proposals the Board is still refusing to acknowledge ("If it ain't invented by us, then it can't be of any value").

This will probably be my last post to these Forums, because I have no further wish to waste my time on a Board heavily populated with lawyers (3 of 8 Directors) who appear to care only about legality, little about ethics and fairness, and have very little business experience or sense. In fact, it is highly reflective of Alcor's operations, that not one person on the Board has any experience with the management of a medium-sized medical service based company (which Alcor should be compared to and managed like, even though it may be legally a non-profit member organization). Saul Kent is the closest person to having such experience, but Bill Faloon has always been the actual LEF business manager and the other companies that Saul funds (through LEF) are all managed by someone with experience in such positions. Until Alcor gets a member-elected board that is fully responsive to members, hires a CEO who has sufficient business experience to run the organization in a "lean" and efficient manner (Max More would be fine as a titular President and public relations representative), and allows the CEO to actually manage the organization rather than constantly micro-managing every aspect of its operation (as has now been made even clearer and stronger by the Board's proposal at Saturday's meeting - unanimously passed - to have subcommittees of Board Directors and member advisors for oversight and reporting of each and every major aspect of Alcor's operations to the Board), I have no interest in trying to further help this organization.

Apart from one exception (see below), I and Kitty will return to spending all our extra time on the much more important (to us) and accomplishable work of pursuing the scientific literature to find, develop and implement practical methods by which we can greatly extend our healthspan and longevity. Perhaps in another 40 years of existence, Alcor will have corrected its operations sufficiently to be a viable and responsive business and we will then again become "members in good standing" (earlier if it stops charging these unreasonable yearly "readiness" fees). And if it has not sufficiently changed, I expect by that time (hopefully much sooner) some other organization which will have replaced it. In the meantime, I and Kitty will keep all our funding and signed documentation "at the ready", just in case we should need to be cryopreserved by Alcor (currently still better than any other destination for us at time of legal death).

The one exception relates to the fact that I have sufficient physics/engineering expertise, creative and analysis competence, that I am certain I can enormously reduce Alcor's costs for liquid nitrogen for its patient's long-term care (which expertise and analytical abilities have been shown before - published on Cryonet and in CryoCare Report - and are, in fact, currently being used by Alcor to lower their liquid nitrogen costs, even though I have never received any credit or value for my ideas from Alcor). This relates to two specific areas of the liquid nitrogen usage:
1) There are definitely (low cost) modifications that could be made to the dewars as they stand now, which would significantly reduce the boiloff (likely by an additional 10%, but perhaps more if the full set of modifications were done).
2) I am in the middle of a discussion with a vendor (who is responding extremely slowly for some reason) about the feasibility, capital cost and yearly cost of a system that would use a "cold finger" (this vendor's term is "cold head") above the liquid nitrogen of each dewar to reliquefy the nitrogen gas as it boils off so than none would be lost. There are many problems inherent in this possibility that need to be solved even before it can be decided whether or not this alternative to continuing purchase of liquid nitrogen (except for patient cooldown) is financially viable. But it is an interesting technical problem (as opposed to a generally impossible people-persuasion problem) and so I plan to continue it for some time yet. I will be communicating with Brian Wowk about it as I get some feedback from the vendor, since Brian also has knowledge in this area and is someone that I have found receptive to the logic of my ideas.

Note that I have made this post partly because I think that an explanation of my leaving is the only forthright approach, rather than simply disappearing and leaving other participants guessing because of no clear knowledge of why I left. Note also that I am speaking for Kitty who has read, edited this message and fully agrees with it.

immortality
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Re: Grandfathered Underfunding Solution Thread

Post by immortality » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:05 am

my input on this may be simplistic but given that there is a potential shortfall of millions of dollars Alcor needs to get creative and flexible to find any kind of collective and/or individual solution to this problem.The easy answer is to increase ones level of insurance cover to the highest level that one can afford given that inflation will generally only increase over time therefore preservation costs will almost certainly contiue to rise untill such time as the proceedure can become so automated that costs will decrease in relative to today terms.I suspect that this is some time away yet so if one is expecting to still live for some decades then one should overfund oneself as much as possible.Alcor should encourage this by advising members that any funds leftover at preservation will be put into a trust fund to assist in the members reanimation costs if this need arises in future or put into a future wealth fund for use upon revival.The big problems arise when one has reached an age and/or financial situation where increasing ones insurance levels are no longer feasable.If the member took out insurance cover to a level(or above)which according to Alcors advise at the time they considered to be adequate to fund their preservation and now find themselves in a shortfall situation then Alcor must acknowledge their legal/moral contribution to the creation of this situation.The best way it can show its good faith to the members caught in this situation and at the same time prevent members leaving thru dissatisfaction and/or financial inability is to show its initiative by helping these members to upgrade their cover any way it can be done ie if one is part of creating the problem one should do ones best to be part of the solution.To do this some rules may have to be bent or changed.I dont have a problem with this as from my perspective I beleive that all members would feel that having as many members as fully funded as possible has got to be good for all of us.So if an underfunded member can come up with a creative idea to top up or guarantee their funding upon their passing then it should be done. I can think of 2 quick ideas a.a bequest guarantee in their will for whatever the balance owing might be.particularly good if they are asset rich but cash flow poor.b.your house.Who is going to live in it when your dead.Will it(or trust fund it)to Alcor who will sell it or rent it out after your are preserved.Imagine how financially strong Alcor could become with a large ever increasing investment property portfolio.Only problem if your Alcor member spouse still living in it.Then Alcor would have to wait awhile to collect.No problem.Hope this in some way positively contributes to the discussion.

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