With the Affordable Care Act in play, there is a lot of talk about health care reform and changes to medical insurances, hospital readmissions and all kinds of other topics concerning the cost of medical care. A topic that gets very little attention is the cost of long-term care, especially associated with home care. In our view, at Support For Home Health Care, this is absolutely a huge “miss” in terms of priorities.
We absolutely know that many elders require support for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs and Instrumental ADLs), memory care at home and a variety of other services to live safely and well at home. However, because those services are considered “non-clinical,” medical insurance, including Medicare, do not cover the cost of those services. Without the services, the elders are forced to move to a facility of some type, rather than stay at the (usually) less expensive and comfortable home setting.
Aside from private pay by the family, there have been two forms of financing available for long-term care. One is the Veterans Administration’s Aid & Attendance Program, which we have discussed before and on our Website. Now, both of those appear to be lesser options than in the past.
The Veterans Administration is adopting a three year “look-back” period to ensure families are not moving income streams and assets to allow seniors to meet the eligibility guidelines for the Aid and Attendance program. There have certainly been abuses in that space, so I am not surprised.
In addition, we are seeing insurance companies drop their Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) offerings or severely restricting eligibility. This is hitting older women especially hard, as they are the group in greatest need of long-term care.
The New Old Age has a good article on this issue that is worth reading, including some of the critical statistics. The bottom line is that LTCI is going to be less and less of an option for funding long-term care.
From our perspective, if, indeed, our society is serious about health care reform, including Medicare, long-term care needs to be part of that. Dropping the Class Act from health care reform was a huge mistake, in our view. Until the need is accounted for, we cannot consider health care reform a done deal.
Best wishes. Bert