The realities of an aging America and long-term health care will be the focus of a new bipartisan U.S. House caucus. The availability of quality long-term care services will be in demand by more American families in the years to come. The bipartisan 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus will address these concerns as the consequences of longevity affect American families and finances.
Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Bryan Steil (R-WI) announced the creation of the caucus. The caucus will bring together members from both parties to identify and address long-term health care in the United States and implement solutions to ensure care recipients and their families have the support they need.
Finding and Implementing Solutions
Rep. Kuster says they will work to identify and implement solutions. The Congresswoman cited her firsthand experience being a caregiver for her mother, who had Alzheimer's, as a reason to focus attention on long-term health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated and pulled back the curtain on existing challenges, and now we have an opportunity to make meaningful changes to strengthen our nation's long-term care workforce, enhance the quality of care, and encourage new and innovative care options. In my personal experience caring for my mother as she struggled with Alzheimer's and as a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, I have seen how the challenges of aging and caring for older adults are particularly difficult, and I look forward to working across the aisle to lift up this critical issue.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH)
Quality Care is Essential
Rep. Steil said he was proud to join Congresswoman Kuster in launching this caucus whose goal is to find solutions that can be implemented to ensure seniors have the support and resources they need as their health declines as they age.
The 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus is focused on ensuring our seniors are receiving the best care in our long-term care facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined an important light on the challenges our long-term care facilities are facing. Our seniors and veterans deserve the best quality of care possible. I look forward to identifying policy solutions we can implement to ensure our seniors have the support and resources they need.
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI)
In a statement, Rep. Kuster said that the 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus is a solution-focused coalition of members working to put partisan politics aside to deliver real solutions for our nation's long-term care providers and patients. The caucus will host regular meetings with members and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and advance legislation to make a real difference for communities.
Aging and Declining Health Result in Many Needing Long-Term Care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that about half of all people who reach age 65 will need long-term health care. Many families are in crisis when mom or dad needs long-term health care.
Many people are unaware that health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, was never designed to pay for long-term health care, most of which is custodial - meaning help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory decline. Adult children, usually a daughter or daughter-in-law, become the default caregiver.
Medicare (along with traditional health insurance) will pay for a limited of days of skilled nursing home and rehabilitative care. However, while nursing home costs are skyrocketing, Medicare may limit the amount they pay in the future.
An Unstoppable Tidal Wave
Many experts think that the consequences of long-term health care must be addressed. Long-term health care's impact on both the public and private sectors is too huge to ignore and too big a problem for government to handle without additional taxes or tax incentives to encourage private sector solutions.
Mark Goldberg, principal at Future Planning Specialist (FPS), a national insurance agency focusing on long-term health care solutions, says an unstoppable tidal wave is headed our way.
It's good that the House recognizes the importance of focusing on aging issues. In the end, I believe this will be too large a problem for them to deal with, and they will look to tax or incentivize the aging population to transfer the risk to the private sector. An unstoppable tidal wave is coming, and it can't be stopped. All we can do is have the foresight to prepare.
Inflation, High Labor Costs & Increasing Demand Skyrocketing Care Costs
All types of long-term care services are increasing in costs. Be it in-home care providers, adult day care centers, assisted living and memory care facilities, and nursing homes, these providers are increasing their costs due to higher demand for care, inflation, and higher labor costs.
In a statement, Matt McCann, a leading expert on long-term care planning, said the consequences of long-term care often get placed on the family caregivers.
These family caregivers are unpaid, untrained, and unprepared for the demanding role. It is physically and emotionally challenging to help anyone, much less a loved one, with personal hygiene and other personal care. It's also hard for most people to balance their careers, families, and caregiving. Too many are unaware that planning options are available and programs like the Long-Term Care Partnership Program are available.
Medicaid will pay for long-term care services but only for those with little or no income and assets. Long-Term Care Insurance is available, with most states participating in the partnership program, but few people, including financial advisors and insurance agents, are aware of the benefits and tax incentives that are available.
States Taxing People Who Do Not Own LTC Insurance?
State budgets are being crushed as more people end up qualifying for Medicaid's long-term care benefits after spending hard-earned savings to pay for care out-of-pocket. This has forced some states to consider taxing those who do not own Long-Term Care Insurance to raise additional revenue to pay for Medicaid's long-term care benefits.
The State of Washington has done this and several other states, including California and New York, are on the way to their long-term care tax, getting many people's attention to purchasing private Long-Term Care Insurance to protect their savings and avoid the tax.
McCann said there is a role for government on all levels to ensure quality care options for everyone. He said that if more people own private Long-Term Care Insurance, the pressure on Medicaid budgets will ease, allowing for more resources to provide quality care and pay caregivers better wages on all levels.
Instead of the government being punitive, I would prefer the government to provide incentives for people to prepare for the costs of long-term care services. Tax incentives, expansion of health savings accounts, and better promotion of the partnership program are all common sense things Congress can do to help American families address the consequences of aging.
Billions Being Paid from LTC Insurance Policies
Those who buy Long-Term Care Insurance are seeing results. In 2021, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance said the top insurance companies paid over $12.3 Billion in LTC Insurance benefits to American families. Much of those benefits paid for in-home care services allowing people to remain in their homes.
Most people who purchase LTC Insurance do so in their 50s to take advantage of their better health, more options, and lower premiums. Long-Term Care Insurance specialists can help match an individual's age, health, and family history to find the best coverage at the lowest cost.
Many assume Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive; however, policies are affordable and custom-designed - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? | LTC News.
With both consumers and the government being proactive, more will access quality care options, protect savings, and ease the stress and anxiety placed on family members.
About the Author
Contributor since April 22nd, 2021
Don't wait too long and discover you have few choices when dealing with the growing costs of future long-term health care. Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the guaranteed tax-free benefits to pay for quality care options you want, including in-home care. There are federal and state tax benefits, although some states are considering taxing people on earned income if they do not own an LTC policy.
Take action now to safeguard income and assets and ease family stress. There are many options to choose from; one will fit your budget. Don't delay; LTC Insurance is medically underwritten and priced, in part, by age when you obtain coverage.
In the states considering adding an LTC tax you must have qualified coverage in place before the tax is implemented to avoid paying the tax.
Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care
Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price.
Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.
A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.
One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.
LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
You might have questions and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Does Mom or Dad Need Help Now?
If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help and the right care services for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.
Start by reading our four guides -
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance.
Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care.
If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation.
Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Advantages of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.
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