Legislation Would Create Advisory Commission on Long-Term Care
The growing long-term health care problem in the United States is getting more attention in Washington, D.C. Legislation would create an advisory commission to make recommendations to Congress.
As the issue of long-term health care nears a crisis, two United States Senators have introduced legislation to create a national advisory commission.
U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a Senate Special Committee on Aging member, introduced the Supporting Our Seniors Act to create a National Advisory Commission. The commission would study and provide input on long-term health care for older adults and others who need help with daily living activities due to chronic health issues or supervision due to dementia.
A crucial recommendation made by the Commission on Long-Term Care in 2013 was to establish a national advisory council to carry on and advance their work. In order to improve seniors' access to affordable long-term care services, this bipartisan proposal would establish a commission to evaluate and offer frequent reports to Congress on service delivery, financing, workforce adequacy, and other issues to increase seniors' access to affordable long-term care services.
Aging Population Adds to Growing Crisis
Sen. Boozman says the need for long-term care assistance will increase as the population ages. U.S. Census Bureau's latest estimates indicate that over 50 million people aged 65 and older live in the U.S., making up 16.5% of the total population. Plus, many more are aged 50 and older, ready to become seniors in the coming years.
As people get older, they suffer chronic health issues, mobility problems, dementia, and frailty due to aging. Often these issues require an individual to need long-term health care.
Establishing a national advisory commission will help us better prepare for future challenges including coordinating services, training a workforce to meet seniors' and individuals' with disabilities needs and providing information and options to empower them and their caregivers with the resources available. I'm pleased to join Senator Rosen in leading this initiative.
Family Members Often Must Become Caregivers
Sen. Rosen says many Americans have had to be caregivers for loved ones. She says she understands the importance of ensuring seniors have access to the care and support services they need to live their daily lives.
This bipartisan legislation will create a commission to further examine challenges and needs in long-term care services, as well as provide specific recommendations, so that Congress can make informed decisions on behalf of our seniors and others in need of quality, affordable long-term support and care.
The legislation is endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association, the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, the Health Care Chaplaincy Network, the Hospice Action Network, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Tara C. Friedman, MD, President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, says the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine is proud to offer its strong support for the Supporting Our Seniors Act.
A growing number of older Americans are living with serious or complex chronic illnesses, creating significant caregiving responsibilities for families. Understanding and addressing their palliative care needs is critical to ensure that older adults and those with serious illness receive the care they want where they want to receive it.
Ben Marcantonio, COO and Interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Hospice Action Network, commends Senators Rosen and Boozman for their leadership on these issues that positively impact the hospice and palliative health communities.
NHPCO and HAN are proud to endorse the Supporting Our Seniors Act which will establish a committee to foster bipartisan, transformative changes to better provide individuals with disabilities and seniors access to comprehensive, person-centered care.
America's 50+ Population is Growing
The number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is expected to nearly double, and total payments for health care costs are projected to reach almost $1 trillion by 2050. Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association Chief Public Policy Officer and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, says the nation must take action to improve long-term care.
The Supporting our Seniors Act will establish a bipartisan national advisory commission that will provide policymakers with an actionable plan to increase access to crucial long-term care services and supports.
The National Advisory Commission created by this legislation would include government and private-sector stakeholders, family caregivers, home health care workforce representatives, and long-term care service recipients.
Long-Term Health Care Costs Climbing Nationwide
The increasing cost of long-term health care services, labor shortages for caregivers, families caregivers being forced to juggle their careers and families to provide care for a parent, and increased pressure on the Medicaid budget is creating a crisis for families and the government.
Many families are completely unprepared when a loved one needs long-term health care. Health insurance, including Medicare (and supplements), pays for a limited amount of skilled care and nothing toward custodial care, which is what most people require. Custodial care is help with daily living activities (eating, bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, etc.) or supervision due to memory loss.
Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all these services, but policies can only be purchased when someone has relatively good health. While most people purchase LTC Insurance in their 50s, many delay getting a policy or think they do not need it.
Partnership Program Benefits Consumers
The federal government established the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program, with most states participating. Owners of Partnership LTC Insurance have dollar-for-dollar asset protection if they exhaust their policy benefits. Yet, many consumers and financial professionals are unaware of its existence. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, signed into law by President George W. Bush, expanded the partnership program and closed many loopholes that allowed those with assets to hide them to qualify for Medicaid.
There are federal tax incentives in place as well. However, several states are considering following the State of Washington's lead in setting up a state long-term care plan funding a new state law - the LTC Tax. The plan only has $36,000 in benefits, which hardly makes it a long-term care program. Owners of qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies can avoid the tax as long as they maintain private insurance.
About the Author
Contributor since April 22nd, 2021
Even though retirement planning can be complex, you can manage it so that you can enjoy your time after retirement. No matter how healthy you may be at age 40, 50, or even 60, one thing is certain: your body and health will change as you age.
How will these changes be handled when they occur? Who will take care of you? Where will the money come from to pay for medical care if your family is unable to help because they have jobs and their own families? Which of your grown children would take charge, look after you, choose which assets to sell, and handle everything?
How long will your money last, and what kind of effects will that have on your way of life and legacy?
You need a plan for quality care and asset protection. All of this requires money - quality care is not cheap. However, it is more than just about money. Preparing for the consequences of aging will reduce the stress and anxiety often placed on your family when no plan exists.
Health insurance and Medicare are not solutions for long-term health care. Medicaid is only an answer if you have little or no income and assets.
The solution for many families is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. A policy will provide you with guarantees that give you and your family peace of mind. An LTC policy offers guarantees. You will have tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care in any setting, including in-home care.
Consider LTC Insurance as 401(k) insurance, but it is much more than that. Long-Term Care Insurance shields your loved ones and finances against the expenses and hassles of aging and failing health so they can remain family and not become caregivers.
Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when premiums are much lower, and their health gives them more options. An LTC Insurance specialist will work with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.
Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
There are a variety of tools and resources that LTC NEWS offers that can help you in your research:
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide - If you like details, you will enjoy this comprehensive guide to LTC Insurance.
Long-Term Care Guides - LTC NEWS has several other guides that can help you plan or find quality care.
Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State - You can find the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live.
Frequently Asked Questions - Get the answers to the most often asked questions about long-term health care planning and LTC Insurance.
Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim - Does a loved one - like your Mom or Dad - have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and need to file a claim to get benefits? LTC NEWS will help. If they don't have a policy, but you need help in getting a plan of care and finding caregivers, LTC NEWS can also assist.
Reverse Mortgages - Learn about reverse mortgages and ask questions about how they work and if you or a loved one would benefit from one.
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