Bipartisan Commission Reports Long-Term Care Costs Rising Faster Than Inflation

The cost of long-term health care services is rising faster than the inflation rate according to a new report. Increasing demand for care and higher labor costs will place more financial burden on American families.

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Bipartisan Commission Reports Long-Term Care Costs Rising Faster Than Inflation
5 Min Read September 21st, 2021

For the first time since 2004, long-term care services, including in-home care and nursing home care, have increased in costs faster than the rate of inflation. Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, DC-based think tank, said in a new report that long-term care providers saw significant cost increases from 2019 to 2020 with increased demand for care and higher labor costs as there were shortages of caregivers.

The Bipartisan Policy Center was formed by Democrat Tom Daschle and Republican Bill Frist, former Senate Majority leaders; former Secretary of Health and Human Services and Gov. Tommy Thompson (R); and others.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current 2021 national averages ranging from $19,861 a year for adult day care centers to $106,488 for nursing home care.

The report cites several challenges for those who need long-term care services that impact both families and finances. The increasing cost of care services along with the shortage of caregivers relative to increasing demand will make it difficult today and in the coming years.

Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Means Higher Costs

The Bipartisan Policy Center cites a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that says about half of the 65-year-olds will need long-term care services and supports at some point in their lifetime. The need for long-term care should grow as Generation X and the Late-Boomers follow the remaining baby boomers in getting older and needing a significant amount of help and assistance. 

Long-term care is help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, or dressing, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as medication management or meal preparation. The growing number of people with dementia will also mean more people will require supervision due to their cognitive decline.

Health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will only pay a very small amount of skilled care services, and most long-term health care is not covered at all. Medicaid will pay for long-term care services but only if a person has little or no income and assets. The Medicaid program covers 43% of total long-term health care costs in the calendar year 2019.

American Families Face Enormous Challenges

The challenges long-term care places on American families is hard to fathom as about 21.3% of American adults (53 million) were unpaid caregivers in 2020 - Unpaid Family Caregivers Now Total 53 Million People | LTC News.

Almost 80% of unpaid caregivers reported having out-of-pocket expenses in helping provide care for a loved one. This spending is about, on average, a quarter of the caregiver's income on caregiving activities. Of course, the job of a family caregiver is physically and emotionally demanding, creating a burden on the caregivers and their families.

According to National Health Expenditure Account data, the total amount of spending on long-term health care in the United States continues to grow, reaching $426.1 billion in 2019.

Long-Term Services and Supports Spending in Billions, by Payer, 2019

Total LTSS Spending.

Note: This analysis of data also includes Medicare post-acute care spending in an expanded definition of long-term care spending.

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), August 2021.

Older Adult Demographics Growing

The population is getting older, and with about half of all Americans who reach the age of 65 needing long-term health care, the impact on families, finances, and the taxpayer will increase in the years to come.

Older adults will make up a more significant portion of the U.S. population through 2050. The Congressional Budget Office projects that long-term health care spending for those ages 65 and older will more than double from 1.3% of the gross domestic product in 2010 to 3% in 2050.

Keep in mind that a growing number of people under age 65 require long-term care services as advances in medical science allow people to survive health problems and accidents more than ever before. However, if an individual does not recover - but does not die - long-term health care will be required. 

Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance

The report said the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program, authorized by the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, attempted to incentivize the purchase of qualified Long-Term Care Insurance by providing dollar-for-dollar asset protection - What is a Long-Term Care Partnership Policy? | LTC News.

There are also federal tax incentives and, in some states, state tax incentives in place. Recently, Washington State instituted a tax on income on any person aged 18 and over who did not own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Several states are now reviewing whether to follow Washington State's lead by instituting a punitive incentive for the purchase of private Long-Term Care Insurance.

Congress is considering several proposals to authorize some type of federal long-term care program, but most observers say there is little chance that any of these will become law anytime soon. 

President Biden has proposed additional federal tax incentives for Long-Term Care Insurance, but no details have been released. There is also a proposal to allow penalty-free withdraws from IRAs to pay for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Some People Still Deny Risk of Needing Future Care

Many financial specialists recommend some planning for long-term health care. However, many people fail to consider Long-Term Care Insurance because they feel they will never need care or because they think the insurance is too expensive.

Recent Boston College research says that only one in five adults aged 65 and older will avoid needing any care, with an additional one in five requiring only a minimum amount of care - Only 1 in 5 Adults 65+ Will Avoid Needing LTC | LTC News.

While the perception is that Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive, most people purchase the insurance when they are younger (in their 50s) when premiums are much lower. Premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies for similar benefits. 

There are several types of policies available, so there are many choices for consumers. Specialists can review the many options that are available Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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Editor's Note

The need for long-term health care will either happen or not. If it does, how will the costs and related burdens on your loved ones change your life - and their life?

Aging happens, and we can't get around that. Our health will change, and our bodies get more fragile and break down. Many people will suffer from some type of dementia as they get older as well.

A solid plan includes affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. When you read some articles, you generally do not see the word 'affordable' associated with LTC Insurance. 

The truth is that Long-Term Care Insurance is custom designed. You get to decide the amount of benefits you wish to have in place. Plus, if you purchase a policy when you are younger and healthier, you will enjoy lower premiums. 

Many financial advisors and general insurance agents tend to recommend benefits that are higher than what most people require. Plus, premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

Most Long-Term Care specialists represent the top companies and can design an appropriate plan that fits your needs and budget. In addition, a specialist will also shop the top companies and match your age, health, and family history, so you get the best coverage at the best value - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools Available on LTC NEWS

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives, and see if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

If you - or your loved one is in crisis now, a reverse mortgage could be an answer. Many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. 

With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Get Advice Finding Quality Caregivers. Get Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

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Drive traffic to your website and find the people interested in your products and services by using LTC NEWS. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your services.

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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Just write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. Stay on topic with articles on health, aging, caregiving, retirement planning, long-term care, and other topics that interest adults over age 40. 

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