Alaska is one of the most expensive states for long-term health care, and the state has made initial steps for a Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program but has yet to implement it. However, there are federal tax benefits available if you own a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
Quality care options are available statewide, and several insurance solutions are available. However, rapidly increasing costs for care services throughout Alaska are becoming burdensome on residents and their families for those who do not have Long-Term Care Insurance.
The variety of quality care options available in Alaska for those who require long-term health care services include:
- adult day care centers
- assisted living facilities
- continuing care retirement communities
- home health care providers
- memory care facilities
- rehabilitation facilities
- traditional nursing homes
Top insurance solutions are available to safeguard income and assets from the high costs and burdens of aging. Plus, all tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies in Alaska have numerous consumer protections in addition to the tax benefits.
Federal Partnership Program
The State of Alaska is not yet participating in the federal/state partnership program. However, Alaska has made initial steps for a Long-Term Care Partnership Program but the program is not yet active.
Alaska features in most expensive nursing home costs in the United States making planning in advance for the costs and burdens of aging an essential part of retirement planning.
The Alaska Medicaid program will pay for long-term health care if an individual has little or no income and assets. The Long-Term Care Medicaid spend down is $2,000. A spouse’s minimum asset allowance is $137,400. Your spouse’s minimum monthly income allowance is $3,435. * The home equity limit is $636,000.
For more information about the Medicaid program visit www.medicaid.gov
Alaska Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
When a person applies for Medicaid and requires long-term services and supports, their estate will be subject to the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, otherwise known as MERP.
Under the Alaska Estate Recovery Program, the assets subject to recovery will include your home and other real estate, bank accounts, other financial assets, vehicles, cash, and even household goods.
Remember, Medicaid will provide long-term care services only if you have little or no income and assets. However, the state will never require a living spouse to move out of their home.
After death, Alaska will file a claim with the probate court; sometimes, the state will establish its claim before death by placing a lien on the home. However, the state will only enforce that lien after death.
Alaska does not seek recovery from the estate of an Alaska Native or American Indian for Medicaid services provided by a tribal health program or authorized under IHS Contract Health Services due to the acknowledged federal responsibility for the health care of these populations.
The state may "look back" up to 60 months before application for Medicaid long-term care services to determine when income was reduced and resources were transferred.
If a person had a qualified Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policy, the total amount of benefits paid by the policy would be sheltered from asset recovery.
State Resources for Aging and Long-Term Care in Alaska
There are a variety of state resources available to help residents and their families with issues of aging and long-term health care. Many of these services benefit low-income families.
This agency's mission is to ensure the dignity and independence of all older Alaskans. Their goal is to help people access resources to help older Alaskans live safely at home and in the community. The state has several resources for both seniors and family caregivers.
Alaska has six regional Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) that connect seniors, those with disabilities, and caregivers with long-term services and supports of their choice. The agency supplies information on various services, including in-home care, transportation, and meal delivery. The ADRC network serves Alaskans statewide, regardless of age or income level, through regional sites.
The Ombudsman's office identifies, investigates, and resolves complaints made by or on behalf of seniors in long-term care facilities. State law also authorizes the Ombudsman to resolve problems relating to the "residential circumstances" of seniors who live in their own homes.
The Alaska Ombudsman advocates for the rights, dignity, and welfare of older Alaskans. The office helps Alaskan seniors know and exercise their rights. They challenge discharge and eviction orders, help residents access less restrictive care, examine issues related to guardianship and health care decision-making, and other services provided at no charge for residents.
The Medicare Information Office educates and counsels Alaskans and their families on Medicare benefits. The office offers, at no charge, unbiased advice and educational resources. The agency provides one-on-one plan comparisons through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Their counselors provide information about Medicare's nursing home benefits as well as private Long-Term Care Insurance.
The Senior Medicare Patrol, run by the office, assists people in detecting billing errors and fraud.
Denakkanaaga, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization serving as the voice for Native Elders in Interior Alaska's Doyon, Limited, and Tanana Chiefs Conference regions.
Denakkanaaga, which translates to "our people speak" in native Alaskan, is dedicated to giving residents a voice in the community and the state. As the aging population grows within Interior Alaska, Denakkanaaga works with other organizations to maximize efforts to advocate for Native Elders.
Products Approved in Alaska
A variety of affordable products are approved in Alaska for Long-Term Care Insurance planning. These include tradition Long-Term Care Insurance, limited-duration plans, and asset-based or “hybrid” policies.
No state tax incentives exist at this time. Federal tax incentives do apply.
Alaska is one of several states that is considering following the State of Washington in implementing a tax on income for any person who does not own a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
What is unknown is if they implement the tax plan if they will offer any reasonable time for state residents to purchase qualified policies if they do not already own one.
It is highly recommended to speak with a qualified specialist to consider your options - Work With a Specialist | LTC News
Reverse Mortgages in Alaska
Reverse mortgages are available in Alaska. A reverse mortgage is a type of home equity loan where the borrower does not have to make payments.
This type of mortgage can increase monthly income, eliminate mortgage payments, and even fund Long-Term Care Insurance. However, there are many rules in Alaska on these products, and you should seek the help of a qualified and licensed mortgage broker.
The minimum age for a reverse mortgage borrower is 62; however, in Alaska, the younger spouse’s age is considered because regulations do not allow the non-borrowing spouse to be evicted if the borrower moves out or passes away. Additionally, the age of the initial borrower calculates the amount of money you can borrow against your mortgage.
The home must be the principal residence, and you must have your home paid in full or have substantial equity in your home without any tax liens.
Learn more about reverse mortgages by clicking here.
*The federal government sets a new minimum and maximum amounts each year, but states can set their own minimum requirements at any level between the federal limits. This information is based on the best available sources.