Senate Scrutinizes Assisted Living Industry in Unprecedented Review

The U.S. Senate is conducting a comprehensive review of the assisted living industry, scrutinizing its practices and regulatory standards. This in-depth examination seeks to ensure the safety, quality of care, and overall well-being of residents.

Recommend This Page
Senate Scrutinizes Assisted Living Industry in Unprecedented Review
4 Min Read February 1st, 2024

The American assisted living industry faces its most significant congressional scrutiny in two decades, as U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, launched a sweeping inquiry into resident concerns regarding cost, transparency, and adequacy of care.

The demand for assisted living is booming in the United States, driven by a greying population seeking support while maintaining independence. While most long-term care is delivered at home, many people elect to move into assisted living. As of 2023, over 818,800 Americans reside in assisted living facilities, representing a vital sector of long-term care. This figure highlights a 2% share of the senior population over 65 choosing this option.

According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the cost of all long-term care, including assisted living, is rising sharply throughout the United States. The median base cost in the U.S. is now $52,082 per year. Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for assisted living or most long-term care. Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all types of care, including assisted living. In 2023, the major insurance companies paid $14.1 billion in benefits to policyholders of LTC Insurance

Memory care, catering to individuals with dementia, forms a significant portion of this landscape. Around 17% of assisted living residents reside in dedicated memory care units, according to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).

The number of facilities offering this care is also on the rise. Over 30,600 active assisted living facilities operate in the U.S., housing nearly 1.2 million residents. This data shows an 8.5% increase in assisted living communities compared to a decade ago, based on National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) reports.

This growth reflects the evolving needs of an aging population seeking assistance with daily living activities while maintaining a degree of independence and autonomy. The expanding assisted living landscape highlights the increasing importance of this sector in providing care for America's seniors.

Hearing Highlights Gaps in Regulation and Affordability

The hearing, which Casey described as "the start of the biggest review of assisted living by the Senate in 20 years," featured testimonies from an advocate, an industry representative, and a loved one detailing their experiences. It painted a picture of an industry with significant gaps in federal regulation and affordability issues.

Sen. Casey emphasized the crucial role of public input in informing the committee's investigation. He urged families to share their experiences navigating the assisted living landscape through a dedicated website and email address.

I want to know more about what people are paying for assisted living and to have people tell their stories. We want to hear from you about the true cost of assisted living and understand whether families have the information — the information that they need — to make this difficult financial and health care decision for a family member and for the family.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), the highest-ranking Republican on the committee, voiced support for the investigation while also advising against measures that could increase the financial strain on the federal budget.

When you're promoting transparency, it can bring odd partners together.

In a prepared statement, Braun states that at the heart of the challenges that assisted living facilities face is a chronic workforce shortage that continues to grow.

An overburdened workforce can lead to issues with quality of care, neglect, and safety, resulting in the tragedies that we have all heard about. The federal government should make it easier for people to enter the healthcare workforce and for families to take care of their loved ones.

Braun pointed out that in his state, Indiana, there are state regulations in place for assisted living.

Unlike nursing homes that are regulated by both federal and state agencies, assisted living facilities are primarily regulated by states. To increase safety and transparency, Indiana requires staffing ratios, dementia training and maintains a website that discloses reports and enforcement actions.

Unpredictable and Rising Costs

Casey emphasized the need for clearer estimates and transparency around costs, as residents often face unexpected expenses based on care needs.

Plus, unlike nursing homes, federal oversight for assisted living facilities is lacking. Assisted living facilities lack robust federal regulations, raising concerns by some about quality of care and accountability.

Citing research showing that 80% of adults cannot afford four years in assisted living, Casey stressed the need for solutions to address this growing public concern.

Long-term care costs in all areas have risen sharply due to many factors, including increasing demand, labor shortages, higher labor costs, and other inflationary factors. While LTC Insurance will pay for assisted living and other types of long-term care services, many people fail to think about long-term care planning until it is too late. LTC Insurance is medically underwritten, so a potential policyholder must have reasonably good health in order to get a policy. 

Some people cannot afford Long-Term Care Insurance. While many people overestimate the actual insurance cost, insurance is not appropriate for some people. This means if someone wants care in an assisted living facility, those costs will drain assets, often quickly.

Industry Under Scrutiny

The committee also sent letters to three of the largest corporate owners of assisted living facilities, requesting data and information on pricing models, staffing levels, and resident outcomes. Additionally, a request was made to the Government Accountability Office for a comprehensive study of assisted living industry practices.

In a press statement, the National Center for Assisted Living, a prominent industry association, declared that the general standard of facilities remains robust and is most effectively regulated at the state level. The organization recognized that the current system for financing long-term care in the U.S. is flawed, rendering assisted living financially inaccessible for a considerable number of seniors.

Sen. Casey indicated that the committee will continue deliberating based on information gathered and public input. This scrutiny could potentially lead to new federal regulations, industry reforms, and increased transparency to improve the assisted living experience for residents and their families.

Recommend This Page

Editor's Note

With aging comes a heightened likelihood of facing physical and cognitive difficulties. Aging with a disability introduces additional intricacies into everyday life, underscoring the importance of thoughtful long-term care planning to preserve your quality of life.

If you are living with a disability in your older years, it adds another layer of complexity to your daily life. You must consider how to navigate long-term care to ensure you maintain your quality of life. You might find that adjusting your living space, having personal care assistance, or accessing various health therapies become integral parts of your daily routine in the future.

Long-Term Care Insurance is a vital tool for planning your future care needs, offering a range of benefits, including benefits for assisted living, in addition to home care, adult day care and nursing home care, to address the costs and burdens associated with aging and disability:

  • Financial Security: LTC Insurance will cover significant long-term care service expenses, safeguarding your savings and assets from being depleted. Often, an LTC policy will pay money toward equipment and supplies that will help you stay at home.
  • Choice of Care: With an LTC policy, you have the flexibility to select from a variety of long-term care settings, including home care, assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities, ensuring you receive care where you prefer.
  • Support for Caregivers: LTC Insurance reduces the physical and emotional burden often placed on your family members by providing access to professional caregiving services.
  • Maintaining Independence: An LTC policy will help facilitate the necessary care services, reducing the stress on loved ones and allowing you to maintain your independence for as long as possible.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a plan in place for future long-term care needs gives you and your family peace of mind and reduces anxiety about the future.

Most people add an LTC policy in their 40s or 50s as part of a comprehensive retirement plan. However, those in their 60s and beyond can often find affordable options if they have reasonably good health. 

Seek Help from an LTC Insurance Professional

Keep in mind the criteria set by insurance providers to qualify for coverage plays a significant role in obtaining Long-Term Care Insurance. Your present health status is crucial in determining if you can acquire coverage in the first place. Engaging an experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who is independent and well-versed in these underwriting guidelines ensures you are matched with an insurance company that offers extensive coverage at an affordable premium, tailored to your age, health, and specific needs.

Premiums vary dramatically, as do underwriting standards. Shopping with an LTC Insurance specialist will make shopping easier for you and your spouse. The specialist will provide accurate quotes from all the top companies and their professional recommendations. 

Find Quality Care - You Can Have Choice

Whether for your aging parents or yourself in the years ahead, access to your choice of quality care is essential to a better quality of life.

LTC NEWS can help you and your family in many ways. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory is an excellent resource where you can find the most comprehensive directory of all types of long-term care services no matter where your loved one lives - Long-Term Care Services Directory | Find Care Near You.

Having a Long-Term Care Insurance policy for your loved one can significantly expand their options for quality care. Most home health agencies and long-term care facilities will inquire about LTC insurance coverage during their initial assessment.

It's crucial to promptly utilize the benefits of your loved one's LTC policy rather than reserving them for future use. Leveraging these benefits immediately can enhance the quality of life and access to quality care services.

LTC NEWS has combined efforts with Amada Senior Care, a leading in-home health care agency with locations throughout the country, to help you process a claim from any LTC Insurance policy.

There is no cost or obligation for this service - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim. If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term health care services for a loved one:

Benefits for Your Website and Business - LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers an assortment of marketing and advertising options to help you reach your target audience. Our sponsored content articles are a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and build relationships with potential customers.

Benefits of Sponsored Content on LTC NEWS 

  • Drives website traffic: Sponsored content articles are placed on LTC NEWS's homepage and other high-traffic website areas, ensuring that a large audience sees your message.
  • Increases brand awareness: Sponsored content articles are written in a way that educates and engages readers, helping to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Connects with target audience: LTC NEWS's audience is made up of people who are interested in long-term care, making it a great way to reach potential customers who are already considering your products or services.
  • Improves SEO: Sponsored content articles are written in a way that is optimized for search engines, helping to improve your website's ranking in search results.

In summary, sponsored content on LTC NEWS is a powerful marketing tool that can help you boost website traffic, SEO, brand recognition, and audience engagement. Traditional advertising is also available to keep you in front of potential customers. 

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

LTC NEWS: Share Your News with Us

LTC NEWS is a leading website for news and information about aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, long-term care, and retirement planning. We are always looking for new stories to share with our readers. 

If your group, organization, business, or political committee has news to share, we encourage you to submit a press release to us.

You can submit your press release - 

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Work With a Trusted Specialist

Get Accurate Long-Term Care Insurance Quotes

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
  • Latest

  • Oldest

  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

No Results - Try refining your search

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers