Long-Term Care Solutions In the U.S.

Social Insurance is a Critical Base for Achieving Universality and Efficiency.

Currently, 12 million Americans need long-term care financing. By 2050, that number will reach a gaudy 27 million. Hundreds of long-term care experts gathered in Washington, D.C. at The Scan Foundation to discuss private and public options for the masses in need of a solution.

(Read more: Skilled Nursing Facilities Face Harsh Reality and Financial Pressures)

Congress recently approved the formation of a bipartisan commission on long-term care, tasked with providing recommendations on meeting the nation’s needs for affordable long-term care services and support. Direct spending for long-term care services in the United States was $211 billion in 2011, with Medicaid covering more than 62 percent of the bill.

“Americans today are not prepared to finance their future care needs, and have few choices to adequately plan for this very likely time in their life,” said Bruce Chernof, M.D., president & CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “Whether in the private market, public sector, or a hybrid of the two, we as a nation need affordable and accessible options so that Americans with functional needs can get quality care that enables them to live with dignity, choice, and independence.”

(Related: Michigan seniors feel effects of federal cuts)

Lee Goldberg, Vice President for Health Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance presented a new paper, Social Insurance: A Critical Base for Financing Long-Term Services and Supports.

Along with his co-author, Larry Atkins, President of the National Academy of Social Insurance, Goldberg made the argument that the United States needs a universal system to assist people’s planning for the risks of aging and disability. “Since social insurance is both universal and contributory, it is the most efficient and flexible way to ensure that people allocate additional resources in advance of their needing LTC,” said Goldberg.

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The paper is one in a series of policy briefs from The SCAN Foundation entitled, Shaping Affordable Pathways for Aging with Dignity. These papers build on a number of policy concepts developed over the last twenty years, and account for recent health policy changes that are reshaping the current long-term care discussion. Below is a full list of the briefs in the series:

  1. Shaping Affordable Pathways for Aging with Dignity: Current Issues and Potential Solutions for Addressing America’s Long-Term Care Financing Crisis, by Gretchen E. Alkema

  2. Overview of Current Long-Term Care Financing Options, by Eileen J. Tell

  3. Size of the Employer and Self-Employed Markets Without Access to Long-Term Care Coverage Options, by Jeremy Pincus, Katherine Wallace-Hodel, and Katey Brown

  4. Medicaid Spend Down: Implications for Long-Term Services and Supports and Aging Policy, by Joshua M. Wiener, Wayne L. Anderson, Galina Khatutsky, Yevgeniya Kaganova, and Janet O’Keeffe (RTI International) and Anne Tumlinson, Eric Hammelman, and Elana Stair (Avalere Health)

  5. RTI International: Medicaid Spend Down: New Estimates and Implications for Long-Term Services and Supports Financing Reform, by Joshua M. Wiener, Wayne L.Anderson, Galina Khatutsky, Yevgeniya Kaganova, Janet O’Keeffe

  6. Avalere: Insuring Americans for Long-Term Services and Supports: Challenges and Limitations of Voluntary Insurance, by Anne Tumlinson, Eric Hammelman, Elana Stair, Joshua M. Wiener

  7. Social Insurance: A Critical Base for Financing Long-Term Services and Supports, by Lee Goldberg and G. Lawrence Atkins

  8. Making Progress: Expanding Risk Protection for Long-Term Services and Supports through Private Long-Term Care Insurance, by Richard G. Frank, Marc Cohen, and Neale Mahoney

Read more: http://www.nasi.org/discuss/2013/03/experts-present-options-redesigning-financing-america%E2%80%99s-long

Christopher J. Berry is a Michigan elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000

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