BPC: There Are Solutions to Financing Long Term Supports and Services
While there’s no single solution to address the growing appetite for affordable long-term services and supports that would be politically or financially tenable, a series of programmatic changes could help, according to a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“Initial Recommendations to Improve the Financing of Long-Term Care” recommends solutions regarding the availability and affordability of private and public long-term care insurance, expanding options under Medicaid, and creating a new option for working individuals with disabilities.
The study points out the progress made in keeping the disabled and older adults out of institutions and in the community through CCRCs, assisted living communities and senior villages, among other options, noted former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin who worked on the report and spoke about it at a BPC event in Washington, DC. “If you’re a senior and would rather not be in a nursing home, these other options are a godsend but they must be financed,” she said, adding that the BPC group examined what incremental changes in existing programs could make life better for these communities.
The report urges policymakers to:
Take action to stabilize the long term care insurance market to make it accessible to more Americans while enabling those in need of LTSS to extend the time they remain at home or in community-based settings.
Establish a lower cost limited benefit private LTCI product that would be more sustainable for carriers than traditional products, and provide incentives for employers to offer retirement LTCI on an opt-out basis through workplace retirement plans, and allow the sale of retirement LTCI through state and federal insurance marketplaces.
Create incentives for states to expand the availability of home and community based services
Address uninsurable long term care costs; protect Americans from the catastrophic costs of LTSS and provide relief to states, which will face significant Medicaid costs as baby boomers need LTSS. The report says program costs should be fully financed so not to add to the federal deficit over the long-term.
The BPC later this year or in early 2017 expects to release additional recommendations for new approaches to finance LTSS and also to reform LTSS delivery and improve integration of care for persons with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations.
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